Bruce Johnson

Book Reviews For "Heart To Heart" From Readers On Amazon and Barnes and Noble

"A quick read, and a true page turner, I devoured this book in only a short time, though the story will stay with me forever, which is why I felt compelled to write something. This book gives you the inner, most personal thoughts of the victims..." 

"Bruce's writing style creates an intimate atmosphere which he allows the reader to enter. When reading the book I didn't feel like an outsider looking into a moment in time; I felt like I was a part of that moment. I laughed out loud at the humor, cringed during the painful times, and sighed in relief when things got better. I also found myself wondering, "How is he or she doing now?"

"One of my favorite highlights of the book was learning about Bruce's personal history and story. His story is an inspiration to all about overcoming obstacles and never letting life's situations keep you from seeing and reaching your overall goals."

"My father had a triple by-pass some years ago. I wish that I had had this book at that time. Very readable, with a unique emphasis on the emotional aspects of surviving a heart attack." 

"There isn't a lot of explanation, as Bruce smartly follows his TV reporter instincts to let people tell their own stories. And you don't need to be a heart atack survivor to appreciate the universality of their stories. Let's hope Bruce and his fellow survivivors save a few more lives."

"It's great to finally see a book written from the patient's perspective. I'm also happy to see such a diverse group represented in this book."

"With each story telling the events leading up to, during and after the heart attack you feel not only empathy for the survivors, but are left with a very intimate impression of the thought process of survival coupled with moments of doubt, fear, surprise, healing and living again."

Order your copy now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Jonetta Rose Barras: Bruce Johnson's heart mission

By: Jonetta Rose Barras
Examiner Columnist
October 22, 2009

"The pain was intense and unrelenting," Bruce Johnson wrote in his recently released book "Heart to Heart: 12 People Discover Better Lives After Their Heart Attacks." My hands moved to my chest to put pressure on a hemorrhage that wasn't there. No blood. No hole in my starched, white dress shirt. The pain was somewhere deep in my chest where I couldn't get to it.

Johnson, a television reporter with local CBS affiliate WUSA 9, was having a heart attack. He was on assignment at East Capitol Dwellings in far Northeast, when it struck. His cameraman rushed to the nearest fire station. Johnson was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital and later flown to Washington Hospital Center.

"The kind of heart attack I had, they call it the widow maker; most people don't survive," he told me last week during an interview.

Few people in the Washington metropolitan region even knew about Johnson's near-death experience more than a decade ago, although he's a local celebrity. Truth be told, he's something of an institution. Any major news event that has occurred in the city over the past 30 years, Johnson was there: The Hanafi Muslim takeover of city hall; Marion Barry's arrest and return; the arrival of the financial control board and the stunning election as mayor of Anthony A. Williams -- a nerdy, bow-tie-wearing, bean counter -- over three sitting D.C. Council members.

Despite his celebrity, Johnson's private life has been, well, private. Who knew, for example, of his alcohol abuse, which sent him racing many evenings up Rockville Pike to receive treatment and therapy? Not even he knew until shortly before his heart attack that the man he believed to be his father really wasn't.

Sharing those stories was difficult, he said. But it was important. Most people focus on medical issues associated with heart disease. "[But] I wanted to talk about the human and emotional sides because that's where I felt I was on my own," Johnson said.

Despite the trauma and the months of recovery, he called his attack the "best thing that happened to me. It got me off the treadmill and made me reassess everything in my life."

Doing what journalists usually do, he reached out to others. For his book, he interviewed an array of people -- Boston lawyer Evan Kushner, Baltimore resident Erin Peiffer and District clergyman the Rev. James Love to name a few.

He said he wanted to teach about how a heart attack can change a person's life. But, he also wanted to help people learn how to "get on with the rest of your life."

Even if he helps only one person avoid a heart attack or recover from one, Johnson should be saluted for his effort. He said getting the word out may be his biggest assignment ever. He may be right. But, if past is prologue, he no doubt will succeed.

Jonetta Rose Barras, host of WPFW's "D.C. Politics with Jonetta," can be reached at



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