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Publisher's Summary

Just as polio loomed over the 1950s and AIDS stalked the 1980s and 1990s, post-traumatic stress disorder haunts us in the early years of the 21st century. Over a decade into the United States' "global war on terror", PTSD afflicts as many as 30 percent of the conflict's veterans. But the disorder's reach extends far beyond the armed forces. In total, some 27 million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame.
Now David J. Morris - a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself - presents the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris crafts a moving work that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ones but also to all of us struggling to make sense of an anxious and uncertain time.
©2015 David J. Morris (P)2015 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"An eye-opening investigation of war's casualties." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By CHET YARBROUGH on 05-26-15


In most lives, there is at least one trauma; i.e. a traumatic experience that imprints a sense of unease, fear, or terror that affirms physical mortality. It may be a near death experience, a car crash, a sexual assault, a natural disaster, or the relentless physical/mental trauma of war.

David Morris is a former marine who served his country in the 1990s, when America is between wars. After four years, Morris resigns his commission and returns to civilian life. Then, 9/11 occurs. America becomes embroiled in Iraq and Morris chooses to become an embedded civilian reporter. That fateful decision leads Morris to a mental dysfunction widely known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In the end, Morris suggests PTSD is fundamentally a symptom of time distortion. There is no universal cure but his journey infers that any treatment that makes the sufferer “live-in-the-moment” rather than the past will ameliorate PTSD’s debilitating consequences. Contrary to the desire of the Veterans Administration, Morris infers science will not discover any universal therapy that effectively treats PTSD. Causes are too diverse. However, Morris suggests PTSD has a redeeming quality for some that survive its debilitating symptoms. PTSD’ survival can change the course of one’s life for the better with recognition of humanity’s interconnection and the value of living life well.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By The Hiberantor on 11-27-15

Good coverage of military PTSD

In this important work, Morris traces the history of what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even back into the ancient days. He begins the book with his own experiences with PTSD. He then talks about how PTSD affects the lives of its sufferers. He also discusses the major treatments for PTSD, many of which he has tried out himself. He apparently interviewed quite a few people for the book - at least he claims he did - though those interviews are generally chiseled down into two or three sentence mentions.

One thing that disappointed me is that this is not a book about PTSD in general - it is a book about PTSD in military. PTSD is suffered more by women than by men. Most Americans with PTSD are women who have been raped or beaten or otherwise traumatized during a non-war setting. One review I read said "rape is also discussed extensively." It wasn't. Rape got a side comment every once in a while - generally in the form of a quote from Alice Sebold's memoir. However, most of the research on PTSD, and Morris' own personal experience with PTSD, is military-related, therefore it is understandable that he would focus on military PTSD. Plus, if you actually read the jacket carefully (which I did not), it's pretty clear that this is a book mostly about military PTSD.

The book also tended to wander and get a bit dull at times, but its important content made up for this minor annoyance. In the end, I thought this was a good book that could have been an amazing book if he had taken that extra step to include womens' experiences a little more.

The narrator was great - no complaints there.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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