U.S. Rep. and former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw reveals that his recently released book, “Fortitude,” is intended to not only point out some problems in our country, but to offer real solutions.
The Houston-area native who has an office in Kingwood spoke with The Tribune about “Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage” which was released April 7. According to Crenshaw, the project has been in the making for well over a year.
“I started having conversations about this book in December of 2018,” Crenshaw said. “I wrote it for about a year and we got the final version done in early January.”
“I was inspired by the problems we have around us. What I noticed is there are a lot of authors that write really well about the problems and I cite a lot of those authors throughout the book. But, fundamentally, I wanted to write a solution-oriented book. So, that’s what inspired it,” Crenshaw said.
Although some have attached the label of “memoir” to the book, Crenshaw warns that is not completely accurate.
“It’s not really a memoir,” Crenshaw explained. “A lot of people kind of assumed that it would be a memoir because that is a typical thing for a SEAL to do, but it’s really not. A lot of my personal story is wrapped into the book, but really the book is about mental toughness and living with fortitude and how individual Americans and the American culture can overcome the hopelessness and outrage that we have been feeling as of late. Each chapter is a lesson in mental toughness and living a better life.”
According to Crenshaw, “The title was the hardest part” in the process of completing the book. “I didn’t figure out the title until the book was done. We wrestled with titles for a year and I just couldn’t get it right. Then I came across the word ‘fortitude’ and it finally hit me that it was the right title for this book and the message I wanted to get across.”
Crenshaw said he searched for synonyms to words like strength and mental toughness when he came across the word “fortitude” in the thesaurus. Crenshaw added, “The definition of fortitude is perfect for the message I’m trying to send in the book. It reads: courage in pain or adversity. That’s exactly the take-away that I want people to get from the book.”
Although Crenshaw believes “Fortitude” can help its readers in many ways, he also shared that writing the book helped him as well.
“It was such a struggle to write,” Crenshaw explained, “because there’s a lot of lessons that were learned over time. And you’re not really sure how you learned them. So, there’s this personal introspection that has to occur before you can even start writing. And then, you learn a lot about yourself.”
“I learned that I’m not a good storyteller. I had to rack my brain and ask family and friends for help. I’m a concept person. I’m not somebody who can repeat a story about what happened and recite the details of a history lesson. But I can understand concepts and put those into my own words very well,” he said.
In addition to strength and mental toughness, Crenshaw said he feels like readers will also take away “a sense of how to live your daily life with fortitude” and that they will understand at least one of the lessons on “a deep level.”
“I also want people to take away and understand the challenges that our culture and society are facing with respect to outrage culture and the way that we treat each other, and how to overcome that as culture. But as I note in the book many times, our cultural fabric is derived from the many threads of the individuals. So, it is up to us as individuals to live up to these lessons.
“That was a deeply American attribute for a very long time; the notion that it was up to us as individuals to overcome and look at what we can do, not what can be done for us in the words of JFK. But that story’s been told in reverse. We’ve become a nation of victims and. I want to bring us back to elements of the American spirit that I think are the strongest,” he said.
According to Crenshaw, his favorite quote is the last paragraph in the book because he believes it is the American ethos or creed.
That paragraph reads, “I told you before about the SEAL ethos. Perhaps we now need an American ethos. Perhaps it goes something like this: I will not quit in the face of danger or pain or self-doubt. I will not justify the easier path before me. I decide that all my actions, not just some, matter … My purpose will be to uphold and protect the spirit of our great republic. I will do my part. I will live with Fortitude.”
Crenshaw said disappointingly that his preplanned schedule of book signings has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is looking into creative ways to ensure that those who would like a signed copy will still have the opportunity to get one.
“I’ve been doing online book signings and I think that over the next six to eight months, our society will have to adapt to the reality of COVID-19 and will maybe add some drive-thru signings as well. There are all sorts of creative things that people can do to make sure that people get their signed book. If you can, buy it from your local bookstore if they are open. Every small business in America needs help right now,” he said.
The book is available for $17.05 on Amazon.