Book picks similar to
Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming by Jonathan Shay
What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars
David Wood - 2016
Most Americans are now familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its prevalence among troops. In this groundbreaking new book, David Wood examines the far more pervasive yet less understood experience of those we send to war: moral injury, the violation of our fundamental values of right and wrong that so often occurs in the impossible moral dilemmas of modern conflict. Featuring portraits of combat veterans and leading mental health researchers, along with Wood's personal observations of war and the young Americans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, WHAT HAVE WE DONE offers an unflinching look at war and those who volunteer for it: the thrill and pride of service and, too often, the scars of moral injury.Impeccably researched and deeply personal, WHAT HAVE WE DONE is a compassionate, finely drawn study of modern war and those caught up in it. It is a call to acknowledge our newest generation of veterans by listening intently to them and absorbing their stories; and, as new wars approach, to ponder the inevitable human costs of putting American "boots on the ground."
Thank You for Your Service
David Finkel - 2013
In The Good Soldiers, Finkel shadowed the men of the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad as they carried out the grueling fifteen-month "surge" that changed them all forever. Now Finkel has followed many of the same men as they've returned home and struggled to reintegrate - both into their family lives and into society at large.In the ironically titled Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it reasonable, or even possible, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who can soldiers turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding -- shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the realities of war.
What It is Like to Go to War
Karl Marlantes - 2011
In a compelling narrative, Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination and his readings -- from Homer to the Mahabharata to Jung. He talks frankly about how he is haunted by the face of the young North Vietnamese soldier he killed at close quarters and how he finally finds a way to make peace with his past. Marlantes discusses the daily contradictions that warriors face in the grind of war, where each battle requires them to take life or spare life, and where they enter a state he likens to the fervor of religious ecstasy.Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like To Go To War is set to become required reading for anyone -- soldier or civilian -- interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.
Suicide: A Study in Sociology
Émile Durkheim - 1897
Written by one of the world’s most influential sociologists, this classic argues that suicide primarily results from a lack of integration of the individual into society. Suicide provides readers with an understanding of the impetus for suicide and its psychological impact on the victim, family, and society.
The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today
Bryan Doerries - 2015
For years, theater director Bryan Doerries has led an innovative public health project that produces ancient tragedies for current and returned soldiers, addicts, tornado and hurricane survivors, and a wide range of other at-risk people in society. Drawing on these extraordinary firsthand experiences, Doerries clearly and powerfully illustrates the redemptive and therapeutic potential of this classical, timeless art: how, for example, Ajax can help soldiers and their loved ones better understand and grapple with PTSD, or how Prometheus Bound provides new insights into the modern penal system. These plays are revivified not just in how Doerries applies them to communal problems of today, but in the way he translates them himself from the ancient Greek, deftly and expertly rendering enduring truths in contemporary and striking English. The originality and generosity of Doerries’s work is startling, and The Theater of War—wholly unsentimental, but intensely felt and emotionally engaging—is a humane, knowledgeable, and accessible book that will both inspire and enlighten. Tracing a path that links the personal to the artistic to the social and back again, Doerries shows us how suffering and healing are part of a timeless process in which dialogue and empathy are inextricably linked.
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Judith Lewis Herman - 1992
In the intervening years, Herman’s volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new afterword, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large. Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context. Meticulously documented and frequently using the victims’ own words as well as those from classic literary works and prison diaries, Trauma and Recovery is a powerful work that will continue to profoundly impact our thinking.
Loon: A Marine Story
Jack McLean - 2009
This is a coming-of-age memoir of a prep school boy who enlists in the Marine Corps, gets caught in a horrific three-day assault during some of the heaviest fighting of the Vietnam War, then returns to attend Harvard University amidst a heavy anti-war sentiment.
Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
Viet Thanh Nguyen - 2016
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations.From a kaleidoscope of cultural forms—novels, memoirs, cemeteries, monuments, films, photography, museum exhibits, video games, souvenirs, and more—Nothing Ever Dies brings a comprehensive vision of the war into sharp focus. At stake are ethical questions about how the war should be remembered by participants that include not only Americans and Vietnamese but also Laotians, Cambodians, South Koreans, and Southeast Asian Americans. Too often, memorials valorize the experience of one’s own people above all else, honoring their sacrifices while demonizing the “enemy”—or, most often, ignoring combatants and civilians on the other side altogether. Visiting sites across the United States, Southeast Asia, and Korea, Viet Thanh Nguyen provides penetrating interpretations of the way memories of the war help to enable future wars or struggle to prevent them.Drawing from this war, Nguyen offers a lesson for all wars by calling on us to recognize not only our shared humanity but our ever-present inhumanity. This is the only path to reconciliation with our foes, and with ourselves. Without reconciliation, war’s truth will be impossible to remember, and war’s trauma impossible to forget.
A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness
S. Nassir Ghaemi - 2011
By combining analysis of the historical evidence with the latest psychiatric research, Ghaemi demonstrates how he thinks these qualities have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances.individuals and society at large-however high the price for those who endure these illnesses.
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
Dave Grossman - 1995
But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young.Upon its initial publication, On Killing was hailed as a landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence. Now, Grossman has updated this classic work to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more. The result is a work certain to be relevant and important for decades to come.
Born on the Fourth of July
Ron Kovic - 1976
Ron is a true American, and his great heart and hard-won wisdom shine through these pages.” —Oliver Stone, filmmaker“Born on the Fourth of July brings back the era of the Vietnam War at a time when the Establishment is trying to make the nation forget what they call the “Vietnam syndrome.” Ron Kovic’s memoir is written with poetic passion and grips your attention from the very first page to the last. It is a classic of antiwar literature and I hope it will be read by large numbers of young people, who will be both sobered and inspired by his story. —Howard Zinn“If you want to understand the everlasting reverberations of our war in Vietnam and how it impacts our current events, you must read this book.” —LARRY HEINEMANN“There is no book more relevant in the 21st century to healing the wound of Vietnam, which continues to bring so much pain to our country, as reflected in the last presidential election . . . It remains to Kovic to remind us that history matters, and that the cost of our high follies persists.” —ROBERT SCHEER, Los Angeles Times columnistThis New York Times bestseller (more than one million copies sold) details the author's life story (portrayed by Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone film version)--from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate, spreading his message from his wheelchair.
Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War
Rita Nakashima Brock - 2012
population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans’ own experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of transgression includes feelings of shame, grief, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs. Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini, who both grew up in families deeply affected by war, have been working closely with vets on what moral injury looks like, how vets cope with it, and what can be done to heal the damage inflicted on soldiers’ consciences. In Soul Repair, the authors tell the stories of four veterans of wars from Vietnam to our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—Camillo “Mac” Bica, Herman Keizer Jr., Pamela Lightsey, and Camilo Mejía—who reveal their experiences of moral injury from war and how they have learned to live with it. Brock and Lettini also explore its effect on families and communities, and the community processes that have gradually helped soldiers with their moral injuries. Soul Repair will help veterans, their families, members of their communities, and clergy understand the impact of war on the consciences of healthy people, support the recovery of moral conscience in society, and restore veterans to civilian life. When a society sends people off to war, it must accept responsibility for returning them home to peace.
The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece
Paul Anthony Cartledge - 2002
This book, written by one of the world’s leading experts on Sparta, traces the rise and fall of Spartan society and explores the tremendous influence the Spartans had on their world and even on ours. Paul Cartledge brings to life figures like legendary founding father Lycurgus and King Leonidas, who embodied the heroism so closely identified with this unique culture, and he shows how Spartan women enjoyed an unusually dominant and powerful role in this hyper-masculine society. Based firmly on original sources, The Spartans is the definitive book about one of the most fascinating cultures of ancient Greece.
Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir
John McCain - 1999
With candor and ennobling power, McCain tells a story that, in the words of Newsweek, "makes the other presidential candidates look like pygmies."John McCain learned about life and honor from his grandfather and father, both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy. This is a memoir about their lives, their heroism, and the ways that sons are shaped and enriched by their fathers. John McCain's grandfather was a gaunt, hawk-faced man known as Slew by his fellow officers and, affectionately, as Popeye by the sailors who served under him. McCain Sr. played the horses, drank bourbon and water, and rolled his own cigarettes with one hand. More significant, he was one of the navy's greatest commanders, and led the strongest aircraft carrier force of the Third Fleet in key battles during World War II. John McCain's father followed a similar path, equally distinguished by heroic service in the navy, as a submarine commander during World War II. McCain Jr. was a slightly built man, but like his father, he earned the respect and affection of his men. He, too, rose to the rank of four-star admiral, making the McCains the first family in American history to achieve that distinction. McCain Jr.'s final assignment was as commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. It was in the Vietnam War that John McCain III faced the most difficult challenge of his life. A naval aviator, he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese military officers realized he was the son of a top commander, they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States. Acting from a sense of honor taught him by his father and the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain refused the offer. He was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for five and a half years. Faith of My Fathers is about what McCain learned from his grandfather and father, and how their example enabled him to survive those hard years. It is a story of three imperfect men who faced adversity and emerged with their honor intact. Ultimately, Faith of My Fathers shows us, with great feeling and appreciation, what fathers give to their sons, and what endures.