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Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War Hardcover – July 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“San Diego author Sue Diaz’s gentle voice rises above the fray and begs our attention—not with glennbeckian outrage, not with self-righteous bombast, not with armchair general postulating, but with the tender and sorrowfully sane tale she tells. [The book] is wondrous and eloquent in its intimacy, in its simplicity, in the unquestionable stories of a mother and a son entwined in a war that will be debated for generations.”—North County Times
(North County Times 2010-10-15)

“[An] absorbing and intimate memoir…unblinkingly determined to dig deep, to ask big questions and move toward the answers. Diaz’s emotional honesty is matched by her stellar writing: her prose is polished and, at times, achieves a quiet, soaring lyricism.”—Christian Science Monitor
(Christian Science Monitor 2010-09-03)

Minefields of the Heart is an honest, thoughtful, and heart-warming account of a mother’s love for her son and the many great veterans like him. Sue Diaz takes the reader through a personal account of the emotional burden so many shoulder while loved ones serve in harm’s way. Her understanding of the struggles of veterans and their families after deployment is genuine, accurate, heart wrenching, and healing. This book spoke to me as a psychologist, father, husband, and veteran.”—Bret A. Moore, author of Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life after Deployment and Kevlar for the Mind, www.militarypsych.com
(Bret A. Moore 2010-10-01)

“This is a book to break your heart, and to heal it. Diaz writes to and for her son, to and for the veterans she leads in writing workshops. The larger gift of this book is its generosity, allowing the reader to take the journey of a mother whose son carries the wounds of two deployments to Iraq. Minefields of the Heart teaches us what we might rather not know, but knowing, we are deeper and better human beings.”—Pat Schneider, founder, Amherst Writers & Artists, and author of Writing Alone and with Others
(Pat Schneider 2010-01-15)

Minefields of the Heart is a brilliant, beautiful, and compelling book. Sue Diaz writes as the mother of one soldier and the daughter of another. She traces her son’s transition from a boy to a combat-wounded veteran of two tours in Iraq. She lets him speak for himself through emails, letters and conversation, all the while growing in her understanding of him and of war. She weaves together her family’s history with the larger events through which they have passed. Though intended specifically ‘for all who have served and those who love them,’ the book should be read by any American who wants to understand what war really does to those who endure and to their families. As a bonus, the book is a real page-turner. You can’t put it down until you finish it.”—William P. Mahedy, author of Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets
(William P. Mahedy 2010-01-19)

“Harrowing, hopeful, and beautifully written. Ernie Pyle meets Anne Lamott.”—Sharon Bray, author of When Words Heal: Writing Through Cancer
(Sharon Bray 2010-04-16)

About the Author

Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist who writes frequently for the Christian Science Monitor and contributes to National Public Radio. Since 2007 she has conducted writing workshops for veterans at the San Diego Vet Center. At her web site, www.warriorswall.com, Diaz provides a place for veterans from across the country to write and share their stories. She lives in San Diego, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159797515X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975155
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in a variety of regional and national publications, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, Family Circle, Woman's Day, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor. Her essays have also aired frequently on National Public Radio. Since 2007 Sue has conducted writing workshops for veterans at the San Diego Vet Center. At the website www.warriorswall.com, she provides a place for veterans from across the country to write and share their stories. Sue can be reached through her website, www.suediaz.com .

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Candace Toft on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Minefields of the Heart is a beautifully written, very important book. Sue Diaz has expressed what so many families of combat soldiers experience, and she has given the rest of us greater insight into what war really means. Moreover, the book is a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jimmie A. Kepler on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sue Diaz's "Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War" is a remarkable book. She gives us a unique point of view of the current war the USA is fighting in the Middle East - the point of view of a parent. The book caused me to do a lot of personal reflection. I remembered my own father deploying for a year tour of duty to Vietnam in 1963-1964. I was ten years old and remember the year vividly. I remember the anxiety. I remember the trips to the post office. I remember wondering what it would be like when he returned and if he would remember me. Then I thought of my own active duty as a US Army officer and wondered what my parents thought of my years of active duty.

No, I am not writing to reflect on me. I am pointing how the book made me think and reflect. Sue Diaz is a gifted writer. You experience the emotional difficulties as you see how she and her husband deal with choices her son makes about not going directly to college. You see how they handle finding out he has joined the army and the infantry. You see how meaningful the simplest contacts are with their soldier. I loved her taking us through the "box" as a way of telling the story. I was interested when she said Roman had gotten a tattoo how she would handle it - it made me think of my daughter getting a tattoo and my son getting an ear pierced. I didn't like their choice, but it was their choice. She shows us the unconditional love of a parent.

The sacrifices a family makes to accommodate a military family member shine through when we see her daughter's wedding date changed. The stories of her going to the target practice with her son and the time between his deployments paint a picture many share.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MaryCD on July 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I first read Minefields of the Heart when it was released in hardcover, and now I want to add to to my Kindle, simply because it's worth a second read. It's one of those books that stay with you - a word or a phrase resonates and you want to go back and read that particular essay. It's poignant and powerful, and in all of the loud rhetoric surrounding the pros and cons of military action, it's enlightening to read not a political screed, but a personal journey that explains it all far better than today's popular pundits. It's a whole different world when you're living it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Everitt on February 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My son was 15 months in Iraq.....2007-2009......but many times you wrote about things I thought or said or did. When he got hurt he called his wife and said "don't tell Mom". I was told 6 months later...Thank you for putting into writing what could have been my own story. My son returned for 12 months in Afghanistan last year...more stories that I will never hear...all I can do is stay strong...Army Strong.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted very much to like this book, as it was written by a woman who seems intelligent, warm, and compassionate, a housewife and mother who now teaches writing to veterans. I'm sure she is a good and very encouraging teacher. And I think she must be a wonderful mom.

However, the character she develops for the narrator of this memoir--that of a more or less ordinary, middle-of-the-road, patriotic but stay-at-home mother of a son who suddenly joins the military--produced a piece that, to me, provides little insight into the causes, nature, or consequences of the events.

Where I want to know about her son's experience as a warrior, she provides only a superficial sketch. For instance, her son is wounded by an IED (several of his comrades were killed by it). But because the military will not disclose details and because her son is a stoic Latino who wants to be "a buffer" for his mom from the horrors of Iraq, we can only experience the same blankness that the narrator conveys with the "news blackout from the unit." Similar limitations block any insight into the alleged retribution against American soldiers, leading to horrific mutilations by Iraqi "insurgents."

Instead of insight, we get sentimentality. Almost every section ends with a cliché: "Against the backdrop of that spring's gruesome headlines and investigations, the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, seemed to be blurring more than ever. But I still believed the vast majority of our fighting me and women in Iraq were decent human beings, doing an impossible job as best they could in circumstances worse than most of us could have ever imagined."

The author is against the Iraq war from the beginning.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished my 1st 4.0 of the year. This is really an amazing book. It's one of the books featured by Silicon Valley Reads this year. Sue Diaz's Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War is a non-fiction account of being the mother of a son who has 2 one-year tours of duty in Iraq. It is extremely poignant and certainly gives this reader an inside view of what it must be like for families who have sons and daughters in war zones. I am from the Vietnam War era but joined the Army Reserve (in Oakland, CA) in order to avoid being drafted (and probably sent overseas). In fact, my draft number, 152, was called that year (remember that they had stopped giving deferments to college students in 1969). I would have been drafted. So, fortunately, my parents were able to avoid the angst and anxiety that Sue and her husband, Roman Sr., had to go through. I feel fortunate about that. And as far as my own children are concerned, by the time my oldest, Josh (who's now 36), was of draft age, they had eliminated the draft and gone to an all-volunteer army. That makes Sue's book all the more amazing; that it can bring out such empathy for an experience that I (and my parents) didn't have.

Lest you think that this book only dwells on the war and its ramifications for the family back home, let me tell you that there's a lot more to it. And thank goodness for that. I don't know if I could read 156 pages of war reporting. I think that would be really tough. So how does Sue get around that? Well, she uses several clever devices for turning the attention in a slightly different direction.

My favorite trick of hers is having Roman Jr.'s pet tortoise, SpongeBob, send letters to Roman. There are 5 of them. They are very fun and funny.
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