“Chuck Newhall’s compelling narrative account of combat action in Vietnam takes you to one of the darkest hellholes on earth — the A Shau Valley in 1968. Just when you thought that the war was over, Fearful Odds packs a punch in the gut you will be feeling for a long time.”
Fearful Odds is a no holds barred narrative told in three parts. It is the true story of a young Army officer, groomed for command and assigned to lead a platoon on a reconnaissance mission in the A Shau Valley, Vietnam in 1968. An otherwise routine mission is complicated by the contradiction of an inept chain of command. The resulting casualties devastate the platoon and the graphic images and memories of the action and the grueling months that follow, lead Chuck Newhall to a lifetime of severe trauma, guilt, grief and anger.
Returning home, Newhall embarks on an extraordinary entrepreneurial career bringing great wealth, prestige and security, despite severe episodes of depression and anxiety which would hobble others from achieving such levels of success. And yet a few years later, and seemingly without warning, the family that he had worked so hard to create and support is suddenly ripped apart by tragedy intensifying an emotional upheaval that revisits the pain and anguish he first felt during his time in Vietnam.
After decades of experience in managing the long-term effects of trauma and with the support of his family, Chuck Newhall has successfully come to terms with his past and the effects of PTSD. Fearful Odds offers hope, inspiration and valuable coping tools for anyone, or their families, who has been affected by post-traumatic stress, depression, mild traumatic brain disorder or the suicide of a loved one.
Fearful Odds is a story of perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds and will offer a guiding hand to others who are facing challenges on the battlefield, boardroom or back at home.
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Julie Rose, Host
"Tough book to read… really telling… brutally honest."
Matt West, Host
"Fearful Odds is going to help a lot of people."
The Steve Hexom Show
"A really amazing story… hard to believe that somebody can go through what you did and emerge and become successful."
Landon Y (Lanny) Jones
"Everyone knows someone who came back from Vietnam and never talks about it. In his brave and unflinching memoir, Chuck Newhall talks about it like no one else ever has. We see combat and its consequences, exploding years later like emotional time bombs when soldiers mistakenly think they are at home. This is a unique book, written in the ground-level tradition of Paul Casey and Timothy O'Brien but all its own about the war that never ends in our real lives. This is the best book I have read about Vietnam as it was lived and as it still plays out in lives all around us."
"For me – a veteran of the A Shau Valley – Chuck Newell's account resonates with all combat warriors who fought in that valley of death. All warriors return with PTS – it's how they confront, adapt and overcome the trauma of horrific combat that is underscored herein. I felt like I was beside Chuck through his Vietnam combat tour. Brought back memories - some good, some bad. It was Chuck's care and concern for his troops, total dedication to his mission, demonstrated leadership and "can do" attitude that led him to confront and overcome the challenges of Leadership in mortal combat. Those who have never experienced it, will never understand. Those who have, totally understand what Chuck went through and salute him for beating the odds."
"This extraordinary memoir reveals the importance of a mild form of stoicism not only to military effectiveness and overcoming the ordeal of combat, but also to overcoming hardships in life encountered far from the battlefield. Fearful Odds illuminates human frailty and strength, compassion and animus, trauma and restoration."
Dr. Solomon H. Snyder
"There have been many books written on PTSD. They are largely “how to” manuals incorporating prescriptive “lessons” on what to do about one or another type of emotional stress. Too often, these volumes render problems in black-and-white with comparatively simple-minded remedies. Your volume is far better than the great majority of PTSD books. You let the reader appreciate the psychological pain of a wide range of traumatic episodes. In describing how you managed to confront these challenges with largely successful outcomes, you enable the reader to empathize with what you experienced and to apply your insights into his/her own problems."
Steve Huntley, former Editor and Columnist Chicago Sun Times
"Grabs you with the opening words and never lets go. Powerful and compelling."
Landon Y. (Lanny) Jones, former managing editor People and Money magazines and the author of William Clark and the Shaping of the West
“Everyone knows someone who came back from Vietnam and never talks about it. In his brave and unflinching memoir, Chuck Newhall talks about it like no one else ever has. We see combat and its consequences, exploding years later like emotional time bombs when people are safely at home. This is a unique book, written in the ground-level tradition of Paul Casey and Timothy O'Brien but all its own about the war that never ends in real lives. This is the best book I have read about Vietnam as it was lived and as it still plays out in the lives of real people.”
Solomon H. Snyder, M.D. Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
"The illuminating depictions of sessions with your phychiatrist Dr. Kaiser can be regarded as almost a manual for understanding PTSD and learning how to overcome it. However, unlike the majority of books on the subject, you explain how PTSD can be addressed via depictions of how your own efforts have succeeded to varying extents. Readers will learn far more from your book, which is "real life," than from others."
Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away
"If you care about America's warriors, and about how we as a society can help them come home after war, then you should read this book."
Joseph L. Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young
"Chuck Newhall's compelling narrative account of combat action in Vietnam takes you to one of the darkest hellholes on earth -- the A Shau Valley in 1968. Just when you thought that the war was over, Fearful Odds packs a punch in the gut you will be feeling for a long time."
About the author
As an author, Vietnam Veteran, and Venture Capitalist, Chuck has had a life full of both great challenges and admirable successes. His books take readers on a journey through his life starting with Fearful Odds, which recounts his service in Vietnam for which he earned a Purple Heart along with other distinguished medals. As a result of the war, Chuck experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that had a devastating impact on his life, further complicated when his first wife died by suicide. His second book, Brightside Gardens, is the story of building a formal garden with 54 garden rooms, over a 40-year period as a coping mechanism for dealing with PTSD. Chuck’s third book, Dare Disturb the Universe, tells the story of his career as a pioneer in venture capitalism and how his obsession with the New Enterprise Associates (NEA) was a defense mechanism for dealing with depression.