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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for OIF Vets & Families
My husband deployed for Baghdad in '03, shortly after the war broke out. We are both active duty, but I did not deploy during that time. Not being there to experience all the same things, I never fully understood the severity of daily events over there. He came home a completely different man: not sleeping or waking up from nightmares when he did sleep, drinking &...
Published on April 24, 2006 by R. Coley

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine If You're New to This Issue
This book is fine if you are new to post-deployment issues/PTSD but it doesn't offer much in the way of new or ground-breaking insights. It's a little boring.
Published 16 months ago by bemental


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for OIF Vets & Families, April 24, 2006
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
My husband deployed for Baghdad in '03, shortly after the war broke out. We are both active duty, but I did not deploy during that time. Not being there to experience all the same things, I never fully understood the severity of daily events over there. He came home a completely different man: not sleeping or waking up from nightmares when he did sleep, drinking & smoking more heavily, distant and just overall jumpy/more alert. He was immediately diagnosed with PTSD upon return. He gave many attempts to explain the things he was feeling and how detached he felt from the things he used to know before the war. It has been frustrating as a spouse, not knowing how to help or what to do to help him get through the things he is experiencing, even still today. He found this book in the store and brought it home, suggesting that I read it. I could not put it down...it totally hit home! It put everything that a veteran (especially a PTSD sufferer) thinks, feels, and experiences...things my husband had tried so hard to talk about, but often couldn't. It is very well written, and gives you many example scenarios of the things our deployed soldiers experienced abroad, as well as upon their return. This book also has exercises for the veterans and their loved ones to try, to help everyone get thru this, one step at a time. I fully recommend this book to anyone who has come home from Iraq, as well as their loved ones helping them cope with the remaining fragments that war has left embedded in their memory.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful, practical, suggestions, February 5, 2006
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
As a clinical psychologist who retired from the VA a few years ago, I was interested to read this book targeted at returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The book uses short, well composed exemplary vignettes to focus the reader on particular issues such as cognitions, coping behaviors or emotional reactions necessarily affected by the demands of functioning and surviving in a war zone. Common problems such as stress-response syndromes, depression, anger dyscontrol, and substance abuse are explored carefully. These sections are always accompanied by practical suggestions and exercises the veteran can use to evaluate and modify these areas. The list of readings and websites at the end of the book will be particularly helpful for veterans and their families wanting further information on a particular topic. This is an excellent and accessible compilation of wisdom, ideas and techniques that VA mental health professionals use successfully to help veteran clients seeking help with reintegration into their families and society.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Gratitude, August 29, 2006
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This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
Many Thanks to the authors for their service in writing this much needed and welcomed book. As a person w/family deployed to Iraq as well being an avid supporter of our Troops I learned early on that our men and women were coming home only to realize that their deployment wasn't over even though they were stateside. No one returns from war w/out side effects. Their lives are changed and they are no longer the same person they were before deployment. All their dreams and fantasy of returning home and "everything is going to be all right" is quickly shattered. I highly recommend this book to all active duty military and their families. As a society we must dissolve the fear and stigma of reaching out for support post deployment as a sign of weakness, this book is a step in the right direction.

I find the family unit is the least educated in terms of compassion, understanding, and what to expect when their loved ones return...which leads to conflict, confusion, disappointment and misery. A suggestion would be for the spouses to sit and read the book together so that as pertaining issues come up in regards to their circumstances the window of opportunity for discussion and communication is opened. This book guides both the Soldier and loved ones on what to expect, feel, and resources where to get support as well as instructions on how to deal with common problems that all the Troops experience. It is easy to read and comprehend. Since discovering the book I have started including it in care packages before the re-deployment process starts. So often our Soldiers are not given the knowledge of what to expect when they return home, especially the Nat'l Guard and Reserves, and even if they are, they don't "get it" until they actually have been home for a few months...then it starts to sink in. Courage After Fire is a very useful tool in taking care of our Troops returning and their families. I can easily recommend the book to civilians that don't have deployed family in that it offers knowledge of what our Troops have given to us as a nation and what they continue to go through once home.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource, April 25, 2006
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
I am a librarian and mother of a soldier. My daughter is currently serving in Iraq and I read the book in preparation for the difficult times ahead. It is an excellent resource for families to understand what is going on and how to support the troops. The practical advice including breathing exercises and routines for daily living would be a help to a lot of people in stress related situations but for soldiers returning to an open life from a regimented one in a danger zone, they are a must for transition. My father was a WWII veteran and there have been other military relations, who would have been served well by this information, and I am just very glad that it is out there now for my daughter and her fellow service personnel.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Healing recommendations for both returning soldiers and their families., March 13, 2010
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This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
This book was written by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and two PhD psychologists. All three have provided therapy for those who have been exposed to traumatic events such as war and for the families and friends who love them. As Major Andy Jackson of the US Army Special Forces stated in the introduction "it is essential reading for all combat veterans, their families and friends, military chaplains, employers and clinicians at VA Hospitals and vet centers."

It has often been said that knowledge is power. As the book points out "it's natural for people who have experienced trauma to avoid anything that might remind them of the event, because these memories make them feel uncomfortable or distressed. But this kind of avoidance reinforces the symptoms of posttraumatic stress because it prevents them from learning a vital lesson: These reminders are not dangerous. They are merely "triggers" to uncomfortable memories of posttraumtic stress. " Learning that one can learn to control their reaction to the triggers can be very empowering.

In Chapter 1 Reactions to War the authors describe both Positive and Negative Effects of War. Under Negative Effects such problems as anxiety, posttraumatic stress, panic attacks, phobias, anger, substance abuse and depression are clearly defined with examples of most given.

Chapter 2 Strengthening Your Mind and Body reinforces the survival skills and strengths veterans of war already have to help them with combat related stress. It gives an overview of relaxation drills to help reduce anxiety in the readjustment to stateside living. One special section of this chapter is the Sleep Tips:19 Ways to Get Better ZZZZs area. When I myself briefly worked with returning National Guardsmen from Iraq, I noted that one of their most frequent complaints had to do with insomnia. Many seemed to be willing to do just about anything just to get a decent night's sleep. Effective recommendations in this area were always welcome.

Chapter 3 Coping Strategies explains to combat veterans HOW their avoidance of certain activities, places, people or situations actually reinforces their posttraumatic stress. This chapter presents a gradual way for the body and mind to learn that the trauma is, in fact, over. It further details HOW to cope with unwanted images and memories, and HOW to combat panic, anger, alcohol or drug abuse, depression and negative thinking. It contains a section with anger management tips entitled "Combat Strategies for Ruling Anger". I like that this chapter also explains to returning veterans what exactly "professional help" is, what are therapists and what is therapy." Tn our culture seeking help for emotional problems is too often discouraged.

In Chapter 4 Grief and Loss the authors explain that although numbing feelings or denying the truth might be adaptive DURING a combat situation later emotional numbness may well interfere with relationships and the ability to enjoy the things that used to bring one pleasure. The authors detail "In war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan-or Vietnam-it's especially important to stay calm and not let your emotions interfere with your duties. As you focused on surviving the next fire fight or sniper attack and getting back to the base, you didn't have time to process the traumatic death you heard about or watched. You buried your grief in the struggle to survive. It was part of your military training. You were taught that showing emotions was a sign of weakness, so you were discouraged from grieving." This chapter importantly gives veterans permisssion TO grieve, to process those feelings in an effort to heal. It even contains a set of GRIEF EXERCISES in the form of recommendations such as creating a memory book, a ritual, writing a letter to the deceased and to the loved ones of the deceased.

Chapter 5 Changed Views of Self, Others and the World discusses such important issues as safety and trust, control and power, self worth and self esteem , redeployment anxiety, relationships and closeness, meaning and purpose in life, spirtuality and faith and positive change. Significantly this chapter also includes a section detailing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), what it is, what the effects of it are, how it is diagnosed and how it is treated.

Chapter 6 Returning to Civilian Life contains a most important section on What Employers Should Know or Do to Help Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Return to Work. It makes recommendations on readjusting to work, suggests what to do if one is coming home to NO job, or is considering school. I was amused but thought it showed real wisdom for the authors to include the section "Dumb" Questions Civilian Asks and How to Respond to Them.

The book concludes with Chapter 7 Restoring Family Roles and Relationships. Even though EVERY chapter in this book finishes with Tips for Partners, Family Members and Friends this last chapter is especially relationship focused. It even contains a section Tips for Adult Family Members:How to Respond When Your Veteran Talks About War. There is a special focus on Reconnecting With Children who are often themselves traumatized when their mother or father marches off to war. It makes specific suggestions to the soldier how to help their toddler, preschooler, elementary school-age child, or middle or high school age child adjust. It even makes recommendations on how to discipline your child.

This is a great book. It really tries to reach out and connect with the returning combat veteran by being understanding, supportive and comprehensive. I would really recommend it to all servicemembers returning from deployment and veterans of war and, of course, their families and friends.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and pragmatic, May 13, 2007
By 
Cindy M. Yarberry (Helena, Montana United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
As a disability service provider, I found this book particularly helpful. It is practical and to the point. Veterans can find tips on everything from how to sleep better to how to relax and cope with stressors. The triggers of anxiety are explained well, as are the ways veterans typically handle their pain. At the end of each chapter are helpful tips for family members. After I read it, I ordered ten copies of this book to give away to student veterans and their families.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful Book, January 30, 2006
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
I am a psychiatrist and am usually skeptical of self help books. However, I feel this book will be useful to me in my treating of patients, and I will enthusiastically recommend it to patients suffering from PTSD, as well as their families. While the book specifically addresses the concerns of soldiers returning from Iraq and/or Afganistan, I think the techniques in the book will be useful for anyone with post-traumatic symptoms.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for veterans and clinicans, February 21, 2006
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
Courage After Fire provides a much needed resource for veterans readjusting after returning from combat. It assists the veteran in recognizing their skills used in combat, as well as providing clear and user friendly skills and ways to address the anxiety they may be experiencing after returning from the combat zone. It is one of the first resources available to veterans and clinicans alike, that provides needed insight into the impact on the family as a whole, and how veterans can reconnect to those they need the most upon their return. It is strength based and will be a vital resouce to our veterans and those who work to help them, in their journey to return home.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 tours and it nearly killed me, October 3, 2007
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
It wasn't the war, it was when I returned home and could not function. I applaud this book for it's intent and gratitude that it gives to our young warriors. It is one of the few written for "our" generation. Thank you

-Timothy Kendrick author-PTSD: Pathways Through the Secret Door
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, September 1, 2007
By 
SC, CA "spouse" (San Clemente, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Paperback)
I was skeptical when purchasing this book, but the topics are discussed in such a way that you do not feel like you're reading "self-help". The focus is not on PTSD (although that is one of the topics covered), but more on a healthy transition from a chaotic environment. I would recommend this to any serviceman, spouse, parent, or close friend.
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Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families
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