American Shield: The Immigrant Sergeant Who Defended Democracy

Recorded Books. Nov. 2023. 6:55 hrs. ISBN 9798890592040. $19.99. MEMOIR
U.S. army veteran Gonell teams up with journalist Shapiro (The Byline Bible) to tell the dramatic story of how he came to be a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer on January 6, 2021. Narrator Robb Moreira describes Gonell’s early life, as he immigrated to Brooklyn from the Dominican Republic, learned to speak English, and advanced in school. Full of youthful innocence, hope, and a little naivete, a young Gonell enlisted in the U.S. Army to pay for his college education. Moreira nails Gonell’s wide range of emotions during his deployment to Iraq—heartbreak after splitting up with his girlfriend, loneliness at being separated from his family, and deep depression that led him to consider suicide. Although Gonell’s optimism was restored when he landed his dream job with the Capitol Police, the events of January 6 soon came to pass. Gonell’s account of January 6 and its aftermath is riveting, from his terrifying experience with PTSD to the devastating injuries he sustained. His determination to speak the truth before Congress rings with courage and resolve.
VERDICT While there are other USCP accounts of the insurrection, this one stands apart, given Gonell’s immigrant beginnings and patriotic pride in his adopted country.
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