Luke Murphy, SSG U.S. Army -Ret. (B.S. ’11) and Julie Strauss Bettinger (B.S. ’83, M.S. ’09) co-authored “Blasted by Adversity: the Making of Wounded Warrior,” which was published by Inkshares Memorial Day 2015. The 300-page book is Luke’s first-person story documenting his incredible ascendance as an Army infantryman. Murphy served two tours with the 101st Airborne Division’s 187th Infantry Regiment.
He survived an IED blast on the morning of April 25, 2006 – which amputated his right leg and severed his left – and emerged as a key public advocate for wounded veterans.
Luke’s injury was the beginning of a remarkable journey that took him from hopelessness in a hospital room to skiing black diamonds in Aspen, catching tuna on Jimmy Buffet’s boat and speaking to thousands at the Pentagon after medically retiring in 2007. The book gives voice to a new generation of wounded service members.
Murphy writes, “So what is my story? I like to think I’m just a regular guy. A young kid from a small town in south Florida who watched westerns and war movies and had a burning desire to be a soldier. A guy who convinced his dad to sign a contract that allowed me to enter the Florida National Guard as a junior in high school. And someone who, after 9/11 put college on hold to protect the Miami International Airport in my first active-duty assignment.”
“My father, Buddy Strauss, was FSU’s first ‘football hero,’ and I co-authored The Book of Bowden, ‘Words of wisdom, faith and motivation by and about Bobby Bowden, college football’s most inspirational coach,’ Julie explains.
She wrote a weekly business column for the Tallahassee Democrat and was the editor of Tallahassee and Emerald Coast magazines. And for nearly two decades she was the editor for two law-enforcement journals. Her next book, Encounters with Rikki: From Hurricane Katrina Rescue to Exceptional Therapy Dog, publishes in January 2016. Both Julie and Luke are graduates of Florida State.
Murphy and Bettinger chose Inkshares, a crowd funded publishing company, to pre-sell copies of “Blasted by Adversity: the Making of Wounded Warrior” and worked with company editors beginning last December. A select audience received advanced copies–including Brian Mockenhaupt, a freelance writer with Esquire, the New York Times and The Atlantic and editor of the Journal of Military Experience. He wrote a highly favorable review for the book.
Luke says, “There’s another reason I’m writing this book. I want people to know that while the injury deformed me, and caused me unimaginable pain, it will never define me. I have no regrets. I’m 33 years old and I’ve experienced more than a person could dream of experiencing in three lifetimes. I caught my first yellow fin tuna on Jimmy Buffet’s boat. I’ve climbed mountains in Utah and skied black diamonds. I’ve spoken to thousands of people at park gatherings and at the Pentagon. I helped start philanthropies that allow service members to enjoy the outdoors, like hunting and fishing. And I went back to college, got my degree, and pledged a fraternity at age 27.”
With over 2,500 copies sold and already in its second printing, “Blasted by Adversity: the Making of a Wounded Warrior” has garnered press from around the nation upon release. Luke spoke at the inauguration ceremony of Florida Governor Rick Scott and hand delivered an autographed copy of the book to him earlier this summer. The book received a Gold award at the the Florida Authors & Publishers Association’s “President’s Award” in the Autobiography & Memoir category. Murphy is also scheduled to appear on WCTV television this fall. Community reviews on Amazon and GoodReads have rated the publication with 5 stars.
In conjunction with the book’s publishing this past May, Luke produced a commentary with CNN Opinion, “What veterans really think about Memorial Day”. Thomas Patterson, Senior Producer at CNN, said that Murphy-Bettinger’s book was “An unflinching, brutally honest account of America’s Iraq War experience from a soldier’s point of view”.