True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life

True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life

by Kevin Sorbo
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True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life by Kevin Sorbo

On television, Kevin Sorbo portrayed an invincible demigod; in his real life, a sudden health crisis left him partially blind and incapacitated at just thirty-eight years old. Yet since appearances are everything in Hollywood, he hid the full details about his condition from the press and continued to film Hercules, which was the number one TV series in the world. In this inspiring memoir, Sorbo shares the story of the crisis that ultimately redefined his measure of success.

True Strength is the story of transformation, persistence, and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Sorbo reflects on his childhood in Minnesota and his early acting days in Hollywood, to his charmed life as television’s beloved Hercules, and where he is today. He recounts the onset of his symptoms, his frightening hospitalization, and his arduous path to recovery. With this honest account of personal tragedy and triumph, Sorbo aims to blaze a trail for those who have ever suffered acute illness or a serious setback in life and are now struggling to find their way back. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738216027
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 10/09/2012
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 204,709
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kevin Sorbo is an actor, producer, and director, best known for his leading roles on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Gene Rodenberry’s Andromeda. He lives with his family in California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part I Demigod

Minnesota Boy 7

Cold Feet 11

Mr. Wrong 15

Superman 21

Paperwork 26

Half-God 28

Prince Hercules 38

The Voice 43

Prince Charming (Sam Sorbo) 54

Sidelined (Sam Sorbo) 59

Strange 61

Ice Cream 66

Terrified (Sam Sorbo) 76

Whatever You Think 74

Showtime 77

Part II Titanic

Out of the Fire 85

Second Time Around 91

Revelations 95

Too Much Work (Sam Sorbo) 104

Mourning 106

The Good News 108

Building a Bridge 116

A Long Walk Spoiled 122

Rehab 128

No Parking 131

Breathe 138

To Be or Not to Be 145

The Shadow Knows 150

Relationship (Bruce Campbell) 156

Hercules Again 159

Scrambling (Eric Gruendemann) 165

Quinn 168

The Wedding (Sam and Kevin) 171

Reality vs. TV 177

Action Hero (Michael Hurst) 181

Routine 184

Kryptonite 190

The Alternatives 194

Fear 200

Rage 205

Part III Wholly Human

Freedom 215

New Frontier 219

A Mythic Ending 225

Hercules Has Left the Building 232

Determined (Ardis Sorbo) 239

Cinderella 241

NothingVentured 246

Magic 253

Grace 258

Small Miracles 261

A Legendary Journey 272

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 10/1/11
“Sorbo is candid about the hopelessness and resentment that characterized his slow recovery, his frustration with contradictory medical advice and holistic therapies of varying effectiveness and the stress his condition placed on his new marriage.”

Booklist, 10/15/11“[A] compelling memoir…Throughout his chatty tale, [Sorbo] drops enough Hollywood names to make any Us Weekly reader happy.” Asbury Park Press, 9/25/11
“This actor has a real and really interesting story to tell…This is the story of a man who had taken from him that which made up the entirety of his persona: strength. And how he recovered.”
Huffington Post, 10/19/11“A gripping account of Sorbo's illness and gradual recovery.” A.V. Club, 10/19/11“As much an inspirational story as a narrative about the former model’s rise to cable stardom, the often surprisingly candid memoir offers a look at the effects long-term debilitation can have on relationships and careers…A compelling look at a life temporarily derailed.” Shelf Awareness for Readers, 10/21/11“His story is no mythic journey; it's all too human, and well worth reading.”, 10/15/11
“A story of inspiration and hope through the most trying of situations. It should be read by everyone so that they can understand, even if just a little bit, how it feels to live through a stroke or other life altering medical issue, and come out on the other side spiritually renewed.”, November 2011
“Sorbo has written an interesting memoir…[that] will be of interest to his fans and others.”

Mesquite Local News, 11/13/11
“If there’s a Hollywood fan on your list this year, you can’t go wrong with True Strength.”

Pottstown Mercury, 12/6/11“An informative, inspirational memoir…A very personal, realistic account of a devastating event to which we can all relate in some way, having faced adversities of our own. [Sorbo’s] frank, casual narrative draws readers into his story.”, 12/15/11
“The story of his harrowing journey is told with humor and honesty. An inspiring book for everyone who’s battled health issues, or watched a loved one suffer debilitating illness.”
 American Profile, December 2011
“A powerful autobiography…An outstanding survey, highly recommended for any film or general lending collection strong in actors' stories and accounts of personal strength and recovery!”

Politics & Patriotism, 2/22/12
“He’s got a conversational writing style that makes it easy to imagine his voice and mannerisms while you turn the pages. His presentation is passionate. His outlook is optimistic. He doesn’t pull his punches…True Strength is more than the story of how Kevin Sorbo beat the odds, banished his demons, and went on to be a better man. It’s a roadmap for others to follow, if they should ever find themselves in a similar situation.” 

Kingman Daily Miner, 3/2/12“This book is intended to give hope to those who have encountered unforeseen ailments and need encouragement to overcome their frailties. It shows that with the will to go on, following the advice of doctors, and most importantly accepting support from significant others, true strength emerges.” WTBF Radio“[Sorbo’s] story is honest, inspiring, and cautionary: don’t ignore your body when it warns you.” Westlake Malibu Lifestyle, June 2012
“An inspirational read.”

Midwest Book Review, July 2012
“A powerful testimony, this deserves ongoing attention and recommendation.”

Tucson Citizen, 10/10/12“[A] compelling memoir.”, 11/9/12“Inspirational as well as instructive.”

Midwest Book Review, December 2012“A powerful pick for any general lending library, offering a riveting blend of an insider's view of Hollywood's reaction to illness and the long road back from the brink of death.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 1/6/13“[A] candid memoir. Readers who have experienced similar health issues will relate to and appreciate the raw emotion that Sorbo shares… [Sorbo] is able to make the details of his illness and its aftermath as compelling as any mystery novel… One needn’t be a fan of the actor to appreciate the story told in True Strength. It is, in its own way, as inspirational and insightful as any myth.”

Customer Reviews

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True Strength 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
LoudBlackCat More than 1 year ago
What a treat this book is.  It is refreshing to read about the life of a celebrity that is inspirational and not just sensational. Sorbo is a normal guy.  He does not have inner demons, drug addictions a whacked-out ego or some superficial issue that is more important to himself than the rest of us.  What he does have is a blessed life.  He is blessed with the things that really matter in life; his inner strength, his ability to overcome in the face of calamity, his humor and above all else, his loving family.  His tragedy was not self-afflicted, it was real.  This is a real story about a real person.  Thankfully.  With the bookshelves packed with egotistical garbage or sensationalized stories, this book is a welcomed change.  It is witty, heartfelt, exciting and above all else, inspirational.  It hits home to those of us who have suffered losses or tragedies of our own.  It speaks to what is important in life. I would, by all means, recommend this book.  Nothing beats a well told true story and for that this book is as good as it gets.
Lynn1231 More than 1 year ago
Heartwarming and Real A Good Read, October 19, 2011 By LGR "Lynn" (Florida) This review is from: True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life (Hardcover) I have always found it fascinating how each person dealing with a crisis in their lives deals with what is handed to them. As a rehabilitation professional for over 30 years I have worked with many individuals who were dealt difficult hands in the life of poker. Some folded, while others bluffed and hoped for the best and still others put on their game face, weighed the odds and decided to play out their hand with everything they had. I have also found that while 3 people can all have the exact same illness/condition, all three will cope with it differently, have varying degrees of ability due to it and will ultimately recover form it differently. Kevin gave us a look at the horrible hand he was dealt and how that hand effected him, his career, his love life, his future and how he ultimately won the pot in that game. I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like to be a 38 year old man, doing all the right things as far as health goes, (eating right, exercising, not smoking, limited to no drinking, etc), no previous health issues, no hereditary issues, at the top of his career and finally finding the love he had pretty much given up on to be hit suddenly with several strokes and an aneurysm. These are things that happen to unhealthy people, older people, people with high blood pressure, but they don't happen to healthy, young men. The psychological issues that came along with the physical issues certainly played a huge role in Kevin's illness, as is seen in the book and with good reason. The fear alone in wondering why, could it happen again, what caused it and can it kill me would be enough to sideline a large number of people. While Kevin had those fears, he found ways to keep moving through it, to keep playing the hand, even when it was overwhelming, beyond frustrating and excruciatingly difficult to face, he kept playing the hand. However, Kevin didn't play this hand alone and he makes it very clear in the book how much he depended on Sam, how much her strength and pragmatic manner helped him get passed each hurdle. He was very lucky to have her with him during this time, because without someone there to support, push, hold, cry with, talk too and love these life crisis can be almost impossible to manage. There are many people out there who have faced some very serious, unknown, health issue that has sidelined them as well. Kevin's book gives a look into what he and I am sure others in similar situations, must endure during the time they are trying to find answers in order to recover. I found the book enlightening as there was no way I would have ever imagined Kevin had been going through all of that for the length of time he did. I was amazed at the raw feelings Kevin put into the book, showing us his weaknesses, his fears, as well as his overall frustration, anger, physical and emotional pain. I also found it touching to see how much he allowed Sam to be a part of his recovery. While he didn't see himself as whole, as a 'man' Sam did and she saw more.The book was real, not whiney, it explored all the various emotions anyone going through this sort of thing is bound to experience, it completely exposed Kevin, I have no doubt this book was extremely difficult emotionally to write.
JorynJ More than 1 year ago
For those of us who have ever suffered a disabling set-back, something beyond our control (and, heaven forbid, something outside the understanding of our doctors), this book is TRULY inspiring. But this memoir also provides its reader with a window into Kevin Sorbo's background, his values, and his family and friends; it's not just about how he got to be Hercules, but about how he came to be the person he is today. If you want to really KNOW Kevin Sorbo, read this book!
DonnaAR More than 1 year ago
Having known Kevin and his family for over a decade I thought I truly knew everything about him. I knew he was a great friend, husband, father and son. I loved reading about his modeling days in Europe to his actor in Hercules and Andromeda plus many other movies. You will be filled will renewed hope, love and that dreams do come true. You'll laugh, cry and wonder what's going to happen next. You will learn and feel that Kevin is a kind, gentle down to earth guy that can be your best friend. You will be truly inspired that no matter what life challenges come before you, you can beat them, rise above and move to the next level. Thanks Kevin for taking the time to share this intimate part of your live!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" tv series and became a Sorbo fan for life. I knew of his medical crisis during the filming of the series but never knew the extent of it until I read his book. To know that he kept working despite what he was suffering through amazes me. He is truly an inspiration. He was, is, and always will be MY HERO.
Karen_Y More than 1 year ago
Within the first few pages of this book, I forgot that I was reading a book and felt like I was sitting across from Kevin Sorbo hearing him tell the story in that honest voice that he is known to use. The book reads very easily and Sorbo doesn't hide anything. This book is about the hard journey of a man, but for me, what is interesting about it is the question it brings up: for an actor, what can you do when your life forces you to become the complete opposite of the character that you're playing? After reading this book I watched the last few seasons of Hercules again, and I did so with a completely new set of eyes. This guy did all of his stunts himself, worked so long and hard (when WE think actors have it easy) and all of that, for us viewers, for us to be entertained. And again with this book, he goes all out, tells EVERYTHING in the hope that his journey will inspire and help other people. That work ethic and generosity that few actors have nowadays make Kevin Sorbo a true Hollywood star and a great man. I strongly recommend this book. It will thrill, shock and inspire you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Knew Kevin got sick during the Hercules series,had no idea it was so bad. Happy he found his true worth as a man, and not some mythical being he portrayed on TV.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was interested in this book for the fact I have a deep admiration for Kevin Sorbo the Actor and when I read about the struggles he faced to keep being that man I knew I had to read this book. I bought this book anticipating the basic this is what happened and what my struggles were to get back to my life and I got so much more Kevin and Sam gave so much information, the demands of the Hollywood life. How his T.V persona Hercules played into the treatment doctors gave him. After all he was the worlds strongest man. I now have more admiration for him for what he endured, over coming the medical conditions and hardships, i was inspired by how his strokes may have actually save his marriage. I applaud him in every way and wish him the best in the continued recovery.
jaarsmam More than 1 year ago
Easy read. Insightful, touching, and funny, all in parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I knew I liked Kevin Sorbo before, but after reading this I have even more respect for him and for his wife, Sam. He has gone thru a terrible ordeal, and she remained at his side thru it all. I devoured this book in two days and now can't stop thinking about it.
ccvs More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading - blessed to hear his testimony.
LindaLB More than 1 year ago
In the book True Strength, both Kevin Sorbo and his wife, Sam, exemplify appreciation for life and for all things that are the basic needs, wants and equalizers of all people. Positivity, commitment, forward - outward focus, faith, hope and true love prevail. I want to see the movie!
HB117 More than 1 year ago
You will find yourself cheering him on. Great descriptive ability.
Dougan More than 1 year ago
Great book by a great actor who struggled in secret with a serious health issue. I was always a Kevin Sorbo fan, from the time the first Hercules movies appeared in the action pack, to Hercules the series and Andromeda. It was really nice to read about his personal struggle and how he overcame it and made a comeback. Dealing with some similar family issues, this book really helped us out. Some really great stuff in this book for anyone in need of inspiration and strength to get through tough times, or just for a Sorbo fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watched Hercules every week. I sadly don't remember hearing Kevin was ill. It was a very busy and sad time of my life as I knew my marriage would have to end and once again I'd be a single Mom, 3 kids this time instead of just 1. I do remember, however, being annoyed that Hercules hadn't seem to start back on time and I also remember being really annoyed when it did return that Herc wasn't in the episodes much...of course all these years later I now know why I was so oddly disappointed in the majority of that last season. This was a telling story and although slightly jumpy in the way it was put together I found a new respect for Kevin. I also had never known that Kevin Smith, who played Hades had died so nowm was is truly years after his death I find myself feeling great grief as Ihad a HUGE crush on him and loved every episode he was in. Kevin Sorbo, probably to his dismay, will always be Hercules to me and as its the last days of Feb 2012, I still go to a certain online site and watch Hercules The Legendary Journeys whenever I need a pick me up....I'll always love the show & Kevin Sorbo. This was a story that needed telling and I'm so glad he had the courage to tell it!!!!!! Thanks and God graces to Kevin & his family.
MN-MRS More than 1 year ago
This is not a Hollywood drama. This is a down to earth story about a man who was brought down a level or two the hard way. Even though there are times when Kevin seems to whine about his situation, he needs the life lessons brought about by his illness to truely understand the real riches he has in life...a strong, good hearted wife and his three adoring children. Not many people are often given the gift of this insight with such a happy ending. It is a good quick read, only took me a day, but made me respect him much more than before.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Type for writing this book. I gained so much insight and you are a role model Kevin and your wife is too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Re kirkis reviews. Ok. I just read thier review of kevins book and I have to say Bulls#$%. Everything they said was negative and demeaning. I'm glad I read the book first before I saw that crap review.
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