Love conquers fear-a memoir from the Napalm girl

In war time Vietnam, 1972, 8 year old Kim Phuc Phan Thi almost died after being severely burned when a napalm bomb fell on her village. Many know her as the “Napalm girl”.

a woman in a cone style hat, standing in a field

updated June 15, 2022

Even if you are not old enough to remember the war the United States fought in VietNam in the 1960s and 1970s, you likely have seen the Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the “Napalm girl” running down a dirt road, fleeing an attack that burned most of her body. Taken to a hospital, she was presumed dead.

But Kim Phuc Phan Thi survived and lived to lead a life worthy of being told. And she did, writing her memoir

Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace

In war time Vietnam, 1972, 8 year old Kim Phuc Phan Thi almost died after being severely burned when a napalm bomb fell on her village.

Initially left for dead in a morgue, she survived after multiple surgeries on the burns which left her permanently scarred on much of her body. She was known as the “girl in the picture” the memories of which haunted her.

A devout follower of the Cao Dai religion, she lived  in shame, fear, pain, and despair, until she encountered Jesus in the Bible and dedicated her life to living for Him.

After years of  poverty and persecution in Vietnam, Russia, and Cuba, Kim and her husband  resettled in Canada where they tried to rebuild their lives.  But she still felt unease, with nightmares interrupting her sleep.

“For many years I had lived in outright fear, knowing that I was always within two or three days’ time of being detained by communist minders. The incessant guardedness left me cynical and exhausted, and I had simply had enough. I determined in my heart that I would no longer live like that, always fretful over what the days might hold, always fearing the worst.

I went to Toan (her husband) and said that I would no longer live in fear, that I would practice the courage Jesus promises his followers all through Scripture. I recounted several Bible verses, especially the idea that we are no longer slaves to fear because we have been adopted into the very family of God. I will stop running from my fears, from my picture, from my past. Starting now I refuse to hide.The following morning I woke with fresh resolve, determined to simply live my life.”

photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, affiliate link

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:14-18, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Romans 8, New International Version,

Now Kim’s dedication to her Christian faith and to sharing her joy and peace takes her all over the world. She has met Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, billionaire Richard Branson, and the grand duke and duchess of Luxembourg. She speaks to business people, government officials, college students, and the news media. She has been awarded six honorary doctorates.

In her speeches and in this memoir she explains what compels her to leave her home in Canada several times a year to tell her story and urge the world to embrace forgiveness and love.

“My faith in Jesus Christ is what enabled me
to forgive those who had wronged me
to pray for my enemies rather than curse them
to love them, not just tolerate them, but to love them. “


Fifty Years Later, Kim Phuc Phan Thi Is More Than ‘Napalm Girl’

Listen to Kim tell her story on PBS NEWS HOUR.
Her faith in action

Kim founded a non-profit organization KIM Foundation International to serve children who are disabled, disenfranchised, or displaced as she was as a child in Vietnam.

Kim’s message-Hope and Forgiveness

I found  Kim’s book riveting, challenging, and faith-building and I believe you will also. Kim’s belief in and reliance on the power of prayer challenges me to pray more for my friends and family and expect answers.

 Please let me know how this book speaks to you.


rice paddy with people in asian hats and a water buffaclo
a rice paddy in Vietnam, photo by Dr. Aletha “my husband served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and we have traveled there several times since. ”

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House Publishers. Find Kim’s book at Tyndale and join the rewards club to earn free books.

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These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
graphic from the photo site LIGHTSTOCK.COM, an affiliate link

exploring the HEART of hope and healing

Before you go…

Consider reading this story which explains why my husband and I have traveled to Vietnam multiple times

Two Words That Still Change My Life

When I watched the war in Vietnam on TV news, I didn’t realize the doctor I had read about had worked there. I never imagined that I would ever go there. And I never imagined that war would help me meet my husband, and create a family that brings me joy every day.

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

17 thoughts on “Love conquers fear-a memoir from the Napalm girl”

  1. This sounds like a most inspiring book. Thank you for sharing about it on Let’s Have Coffee as I am adding this one to my list to read.


  2. Great post Aletha – thanks for sharing at the Book Nook Blog Party at Create With Joy!
    I have been wanting to read this ever since it was released and I was very excited by the free audio download so I can listen to it as well!

    I have read portions of this woman’s incredible story and it reminds me of Romans 8:28.

    Have a nice weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for recommending her book. I saw the initial picture of her running down the road after the Napalm Bomb hit her village. They were interviewing the photographer who took the picture. I’ll be adding this book to my winter reading list. It would an awesome experience to meet her. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Rhonda, the photo is unforgettable but so is the rest of Kim’s story. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down for wanting to find out what happened next. Hers is truly a story of God turning evil into good. Yes, do read it, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Thanks for reading the post.


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