We have all felt fear, whether it’s the sweaty palms and racing heart as we make a speech or the profound, all-encompassing awareness of our own mortality as we await medical results. Of course, the flip-side of fear is courage. The person who learns a new skill late in life despite fearing they’re ‘too old’. The quiet voice that speaks up when everyone else remains silent. As Nelson Mandela famously said, ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.’
Collected from around the world, the twenty-five true stories showcased here capture the full range of the fear and courage experience. From the 65-year-old woman stepping outside her comfort zone to visit Antarctica, to the young social worker confronting an abusive father and husband; from a gay woman’s experience of coming out, to a man confronting his claustrophobia to have an MRI, or a woman fighting to keep both herself and her unborn child alive in Hitler’s Germany these are stories of fear and courage in all their guises.
At times humorous, often poignant, they will linger in your memory, shining a light on just what it means to be human. Interspersed between the stories are quotes about fear and courage by people as diverse as Eleanor Roosevelt, Paulo Coelho, Marcus Aurelius and Taylor Swift. The result is a book to be savoured and returned to again and again.