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My Private War: Liberated Body, Captive Mind: A World War II POW's Journey Hardcover – December 17, 2008
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“A tremendously valuable account. Norman than it was back then. --James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author”
“An honest account of matters once considered embarrassing--and more common than we realize, as a new generation is now discovering.”
“Eloquent…it is hard to think of a better book on the POW experience...A notable addition to PTSD literature.”
Top Customer Reviews
Norman Bussel had been a nineteen year old on a B-17 over Germany in 1944, when his plane was shot down. He was a POW for about 13 months. The memoir is about his wartime experiences and his subsequent decades-long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It sounded very interesting, so I ordered his book from amazon, and read his absorbing and emotional tale.
In the first chapter, Mr. Bussel describes being shot down; he parachuted out through the bomb bay, and was the last crewman to get off the plane alive. Four of his fellow ten man crew died.
The first two-thirds of this 300 page memoir describes his joining the Army Air Force, his training, and then his experiences as a POW. I found it really quite riveting.
There are 25 short chapters, and chapter nine, describing his bailing out and capture in Germany is aptly entitled "Germany: A Descent into Hell". As he was in his parachute descending he wisely tossed away his dogtag, which had the letter "H" for his religion. He is Jewish. Bussel was then nearly lynched by German farmers, before being picked up by soldiers.
The treatment of POW's in Germany was beyond brutal. Denied medical care, denied food, denied warm clothes, along with witnessing the murder of some prisoners. And a few beatings thrown in for good measure. Bussel lost 65 pounds during his imprisonment, weighing only a bit more then 100 pounds when the camp was finally liberated by the American army.
The last one third of the book deals with Bussel's post-war career and struggle with PTSD. His alcohol problem, quickness to anger, claustrophobia, a failed first marriage. Mr.Read more ›
I thought I understood how my father's experiences in that war had affected him, and through him, me. But last night, as I was reading Chapter 24, honest, painful observations helped me see that so much more of what I knew of my father were manifestations of his PTSD rather than expressions of his true self. "My Private War" helped me understand how my father's s moodiness that followed sudden incomprehensible bursts of anger indicated remorse and self-deprecation for not being able to control his emotions. For allowing the pain to surface.
"My Private War" is an invaluable gift not only to veterans- from WWII to Korea to Vietnam and now Iraq and Afghanistan, but to the children of veterans who all these years felt the all but unbearable barricade between ourselves and our fathers but, having no idea of the separation's cause, often took it personally. Mr. Bussell provides us with the insight that can enable reconciliation. And maybe we can then not only heal past wounds but gain the motivation to oppose the resolution of conflict through violence.
One of my favorite relatives logged 374 days in combat from Operation Torch until the German surrender in Italy in May 1945. I now recognize many of his subsequent behavior patterns as indicators of PTSD. Based on this book, its' hardly any wonder. I found the author's narrative very compelling, and I appreciate the greater understanding it has given me for several WW II veterans who influenced me profoundly as I grew up.
Norman's story from basic training to being shot down over Berlin, and ending up in a German POW camp is truly fascinating. Although a serious subject matter, Norman's sense of humor is never far away when he tells his story.
His struggle with guilt and post traumatic stress disorder after returning home is not only an interesting read, but an inspirational story.
I highly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story. Mr. Bussel is a man I met in 2014 who is a great gentleman . His book has brought healing to him and his family, and it shows the true nature of a FPOW.Published 2 months ago by Conqueror
Great book. Written in his own words and a must read for anyone who has been in wars or even the service. Read morePublished 12 months ago by mary p dennison
for a former Prisoner of War, I feel this story is another step in the right direction.Published 13 months ago by Sir George Fryett
Typical Fussell. An intellectual snob who hates his priveleged life.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Book arrived on time and as advertised. Great service! Great book!Published 13 months ago by Ron Heard
Moving, well-written memoir of a young B-17 radio-gunner shot down over Germany and held for a year as a POW. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Melanie Bussel
I'm not sure how many books (50?) I've read, biographies or autobiographies, of the men who were POWs during World War II. I've found them informational and inspiring. Read morePublished on April 12, 2014 by Land Rover
I am lucky enough to know the author and some of his P.O.W. group friends. When he told me he wrote a book I will admit I was skeptical at first but I bought a copy, which he... Read morePublished on December 18, 2013 by T. Hunt