BOOK REVIEW: “No Place to Hide” is a page-turner …

It’s easy to sit in the comfort of an American home and spew all kinds of political opinions about war and the American use of force, but it looks very different when you’re the one who has to go to war and do the fighting.

Ask any soldier to describe war and they’ll tell you one thing: War is hell.

We tend to clean it up and even glorify it from a distance, but the reality is very different.

That’s what makes “No Place to Hide,” written by W. Lee Warren (published by Zondervan), such a compelling story. It’s not the tale of a fighting soldier in Iraq, instead picture something closer to a modern-day version of M*A*S*H but not written for humor and without so many colorful characters.

“No Place to Hide” is the personal story of Lee Warren’s experience as a neurosurgeon who, as a major in the United States Air Force, left a successful practice in San Antonio, and a failing marriage, to serve as part of the medical team that would perform surgery, including brain surgery, in tents on a base in Balad, Iraq.

With mortors and rockets being shot at the base, shaking the hospital tents while the doctors operated on soldiers, terrorists, and even Iraqi civilians, Warren would learn what war really looks like. It’s not glamorous when day after day, your job is to try to save the mangled bodies that continue to pour in from the battlefield. Warren and his colleagues saw more carnage to humanity in their 120-day assignment in Iraq than any person should ever have to see in a lifetime.

You might be surprised about one famous Iraqi Warren met face-to-face … but you’ll have to read the book to find out who that was!

With his marriage at home over, and now having to face the horrors of war, Warren’s time in Iraq was the impetus for re-discovering his faith, something vital for sustaining the soldier-physician through the war and beyond.

I might stop short in describing this book as “riveting,” but it certainly is a page-turner. Not only is the content of the story compelling enough to keep you turning from one chapter to another, but the quality of the writing is excellent, the flow as smooth as a well-written novel. The only weak part of the book is the ending, which suddenly becomes choppy and ends quickly. After spreading his story smoothly throughout the book, it looks like Warren struggled a little with a smooth landing for an ending.

Nevertheless, “No Place to Hide” is worth reading for a couple of reasons. First, not only does it provide readers with a more realistic view of war, but also what our military men and women have to go through when serving our country in times of war. It is also an encouragement to readers to see how faith can sustain us even in the worst of all circumstances.

A final note: while I recommend this book, it is written by a neurosurgeon during a time of war. Some of the descriptions of what Warren had to deal with are a little graphic and might make you a little queasy if you’re sensitive to medical settings. However, Warren shares just enough description to provide an adequate understanding for readers without becoming purposely “gory” in the details.


I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”