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Review – Andrew Chapin’s From Tragedy to Triumph: The story of John Tartaglio


FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH COVERJohn Tartaglio was a young man who contracted a very rare type of bacterial virus and, within 24 of becoming ill, faced hours of life saving surgery and had taken his legs. Left as a double amputee John Tartaglio decided that life wouldn’t dictate to him what he can and can’t do, he would live his life his way. Learning to walk again with prosthetics, John battled the mountain of doubt in front of him and went on to complete the New York City Marathon.

Reviewing a book like this is never easy. The main protagonist, in this case John Tartaglio, is definitely an inspiration to millions but just being an inspiration to those people doesn’t always mean your book will be any good, does it? My father is a veteran of Northern Ireland and the first Gulf War, I have friends that are covered in burns, have lost limbs, and suffer from the most almighty mental health issues but not one of them could write a book and yet they inspire me on a daily basis. My point, I suppose, is being a critic of the words could be misconstrued as an attack on inspiring man, it’s not. It’s just my opinion on the text and I am being as objective as possible which still allows for emotional investment, but that shouldn’t cast rule over the critique.

What John Tartaglio and co-writer Andrew Chapin have produced is a product rather than a book. The inspiring sections of the book read like a pamphlet for one of John Tartaglio’s talks and that would be fine if it wasn’t for the diary sections. The diary sections are a superb insight into John Tartaglio and his battles. The diary should have been the book. It should have been a straight autobiography. How John has got through each day, how he views the world, how the world views him, these honest accounts from John’s personal pages are more inspiring than anything else included and unfortunately make the other parts come across as a bit preachy.

I understand the importance of motivational speakers, I have been to many talks myself, but what comes across in spoken words is often hard to translate to the written page. If this had been a regular self help or motivational book it would have been average at best but the inclusion of the diary makes for fascinating insight.

I don’t know if John Tartaglio has a straight autobiography but if he has I’ll happily buy a copy. His strength of character is vital in today’s world. This book, though, appears to have missed the point of its title. I wanted the emotional impact that the From Tragedy to Triumph premise offered but got the basics of a fascinating tale with a convention flyer attached.

Promised much but delivered something more like a presentation than an emotional insight.

**** 3 1/2 STARS!!!!


  1. Nicholas RossisNicholas Rossis10-18-2014

    It sounds like it needed more show and less tell! 🙂

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