Book Review: Keep Going – The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III

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The Pandemic continues to take a devastating toll in human life, economic vitality, and mental well-being.  Unlike destructive events that have a finite and repercussive effect, like the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, or the attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States, the Pandemic persists and continues to impact our lives, continuing over a year after the first infections were reported, with no immediate end in sight.

The ongoing harm and strain of the COVID virus require as much help mentally and spiritually as there is a need for vaccines to help physically.  With this concern in mind, I want to share a book that is rather appropriate for these difficult times.  It is entitled Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M Marshall III.

Joseph M Marshall III

Joseph M Marshall III is a historian, teacher, writer, actor, and public speaker who was raised by his maternal grandparents in the traditional Lakota Indian ways.  He has written several books:

  • In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse
  • Walking with Grandfather: The Wisdom of Lakota Elders
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
  • Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living
  • The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History
  • To You We Shall Return: Lessons About Our Planet from the Lakota
  • Returning to the Lakota Way: Old Values to Save a Modern World

All his books have received high praise (4 to 5 stars out 5) on Amazon reviews and are well worth reading.  The book I want to focus on is Keep Going, which is written as a dialogue between Marshall and his grandfather.

About the Book

From the front inside dust cover of the hardback edition:

When a young man’s father dies, he turns to his wise grandfather for solace.  Together they sit underneath a cottonwood tree and the grandfather shares his perspective on life, the perseverance it requires, and the pleasure and pain of the journey.

The young man is Joseph Marshall III, the best-selling author of The Lakota Way – the heartfelt and thought-provoking lessons passed down by his Lakota grandfather will provide comfort and inspiration to all who long for a greater understanding of life’s challenges.

With dialogue, stories, and recollections, each section focuses on a portion of Marshall’s prose poem “Keep Going” and provides commentary on the text.  Everyone who encounters this stirring guide will draw comfort, knowledge, and strength from Grandfather’s wise words – just as Marshall himself did.

The book has a prologue, six chapters, and a closing.  It is not a very long text and the conversational style makes it pleasant and easy to read.  The prologue starts the book with the young man, Jeremy (Marshall’s fictional stand-in), asking “The Question”:

Grandpa, why is life so difficult? (5)

In Chapter One, the grandfather begins his reply by saying:

“I am an old man,” he said. “I’ve seen something of life, but I don’t know if there is one answer that will satisfy you.  I think there are many answers out there waiting for you to find them.  And I do know this: Life is not easy.  But that is the way it is and we cannot change it.  The only thing we can do is try to understand it.” (7)

He concludes this chapter dialogue between Jeremy and his grandfather, writing:

Jeremy thought for a moment, “Sometimes we have to endure the darkness, and what it holds.  If we do that, we appreciate the light.  So, the man who wouldn’t go into the forest was trying to deny that shadows are part of life,” Jeremey decided.

“True.  Furthermore, he gave into his fears and denied himself the experience of facing them,” replied the old man.  “So, he learned the wrong lesson.  We all do that from time to time.  Instead of worrying how I will face life without your grandmother, I will make the most of the time we have left together, and thank Grandfather for the life he has given us.” (19)

The remaining chapters contain dialogues that take the readers, along with Jeremy, through the common struggles and realities we all face.  Interwoven in the chapters are key quotes that appear at the top of pages throughout the book, such as:

“You did not ask to be born, but you are here.” (23)

“You must stand up in the storm. You must face the wind and the cold and the darkness …” (59)

“Each step, no matter how difficult, is one more step closer to the top of the hill …” (88)

Hopefully, the book will provide a helpful message during a time of darkness, reminding us that if we endure, we have a chance to experience hope, joy, and compassion; and appreciate them more for having persevered through these trying times.

Amazon Reviews

This book has a 5-star rating from 158 reviews (at the time this article was written), here are two:

A great read for anyone feeling overwhelmed by life’s trials. A compilation of short stories expressing hope, understanding and perseverance. I was given a copy by a friend after being diagnosed with cancer, and I liked it so much I bought my own copy to share with others. (JeT)

This book is VERY uplifting and I recommend it for ALL ages. I have come to love long before this book the Native American teachings. Not only have I ordered copies for my friends, but I also read this book to my 5-year-old son because he really understands the stories and hopefully retains the great values in this book. It is very short (just under 100 pages) but has far surpassed the value of a book over 1000 pages that I have read from inspirational speakers and even pastors. Pushing forward even if just one more step than you think you can handle. This book has a GREAT way of explaining why life is not easy but the journey and hardships is what shapes our character to be strong individuals. (J Bizzle)

I do recommend this book.  It was very helpful during a difficult period in my life between 2009 and 2011, and I enjoyed re-reading it for this article, so I am sharing it with you in the hope that it provides inspiration to help you through these difficult times.

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com. Philip Young, PhD Website