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Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War Hardcover – November 6, 2012

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Frequently Bought Together

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War + War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder + Once a Warrior--Always a Warrior: Navigating The Transition From Combat To Home--Including Combat Stress, Ptsd, And Mtbi
Price for all three: $47.36

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807029076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807029077
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Soul Repair is an eloquent, deeply human reminder that war is not just what takes place on a distant battlefield. It is something that casts a shadow over the lives of those who took part for decades afterwards. The stories told by Lettini and Brock are deepened by what the authors reveal about the way the tragic thread of war’s aftermath has run through their own families.”Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars
“Those you send to war may come home with souls unclean and hearts drowning in bitter mistrust.  But the need for purification after battle has vanished into the blind spot of our culture. We neither offer it to returning veterans, nor remember that we—for whose sake, in whose name, our soldiers went to war—need purification with them. Potent challengers of conventional thinking, rich in heart, those who speak here are voices you will not forget.”Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, author of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming
Very important and deeply moving.  I strongly recommend it.”James H. Cone, author of The Cross and the Lynching Tree 

“Soul Repair is stunning, just beautiful.  Riveting.  This is not just a breakthrough book, it is a breakthrough moment, the kind of work that makes history shift and emotions adjust.  It restores balance and reclaims life.”Amir Soltani, author of Zahra’s Paradise
"Eloquent and unflinching discourse on war's problematic moral core."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Rita Nakashima Brock is research professor and codirector of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School, Ft. Worth, Texas. She is the author, with Rebecca Ann Parker, of Proverbs of Ashes and Saving Paradise. She lives in Oakland, California.

Gabriella Lettini is Dean of the faculty and Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Professor of Theological Ethics and Studies in Public Ministry at Starr King School for the Ministry–Graduate Theological Union. She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Customer Reviews

Read it at the risk of rethinking some of your most cherished ideas.
John K. Stoner
We owe so much to our fine sons and daughters who serve in our military.
wanda potter
I was excited to read this book, but disappointed once I got into it.
Concerned Citizen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John K. Stoner on December 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Veterans of war and the families to whom they come home may be the most neglected and misunderstood sub-population in all of America. The damaging personal and social consequences of this have been incalculable. As this book says over and over again, wars are not left behind when veterans come home.

As a follower of Jesus, thus a compassionate resister/pacifist, I have been saying for years that veterans have been abandoned by the church from both sides: the pacifist churches (Mennonite, etc.) have scapegoated veterans and failed to relate to them as needy fellow humans, and the war-justifying churches have lauded them, telling them they are heroes when their own hearts are telling them that they have been morally damaged in life-threatening ways. On page 102 the authors write: "When a community takes responsibility for helping those with moral injury, it must do so with integrity, rather than by scapegoating individuals or pressuring them to deny what they know to be true." This book can make a great contribution to correcting this problem. It could, in short, revolutionize the thinking of both pacifist and war-justifying churches about war and veterans.

Drawing totally from both their own family experiences of war and the stories of veterans, Brock and Lettini tell the untold story of another collateral damage of war, that which is inflicted on the souls and families of those who join the institution dedicated to killing our fellow human beings.

Few of us would think that any person dealing with veterans who is not conversant with the basic idea and some details about PTSD is prepared or competent for the task. With the publication of this book we are about to discover that any person dealing with veterans who does not understand moral injury and soul repair is not competent or prepared for the task.

But, you get the drift--this is a dangerous book. Read it at the risk of rethinking some of your most cherished ideas.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DaveL on February 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a number of books about the trauma suffered by war veterans as research for my new novel, Along the Watchtower. Many are deeply moving, with real discussion and interviews about this critical topic. Soul Repair is no exception. But it takes a very different and important approach, viewing the emotional damage caused by war not just as an illness to be treated, but as moral injury. Moral injury is a term the authors use for the fragmentation of our moral sense after we are sent off to war. What damage is done when a society that has given us our ideals, tells us we are going to war to uphold those ideals. And then we discover just the opposite--that we are asked to do what in our deepest being we feel to be morally wrong.

The question is an important one and not asked frequently enough, perhaps because of the political implications (is it a just war?) or perhaps because by asking it, we re compelled to question the concept of war itself.

This is a discussion worth having. Unfortunately, the presentation is not as focused as it could be. The prose style is too unstructured and occasionally rambling, making its arguments less compelling than they might otherwise be.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the traumatic effects on war veterans, and especially the friends and relatives of veterans who returned questioning "why we were there?"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Angela Santiago on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a mental health professional working with military veterans who have attempted suicide I am very interested in the concept of moral injury. I found the book interesting and informative. But from the start there seemed to be implied that moral injury issues can not be addressed by mental health professionals, but better addressed by ministers/pastoral counselors. Writers also referred frequently to the current conflicts as an "unjust war", putting their own bias into the mix. Not all warriors believe the war was "unjust" yet they could develop moral injury. There are many ways a soldier may develop moral injury and religion may have nothing to do with it. I appreciate the dialog though as I am very happy we are finally talking about guilt and shame.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Bain on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a few nuggets of insight sprinkled throughout this padded and repetitive book. It is quite short, and the majority of it consists of anecdotes from the lives of those "morally injured" by war. The authors draw an important distinction between post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental illness diagnosis, and moral injury -- the difficulty in living with oneself after being forced by the hellish environment and survival requirements of a war zone and a military life, to commit acts flagrantly contrary to one's moral upbringing and conscience. The authors may be correct that this problem is worse for those involved in a "bad war" than for those who fought a "good war." But that leads to poorly organized commentary on military policy that belongs in a different book. There is precious little in the way of practical hints for helping a returned soldier to recover from moral injury. I read this book as a member of a church discussion group and we were all disappointed, including our minister, who read it along with us. We did agree that it's more appropriate to say to a veteran, "Welcome home. So glad you're back" than to say "Thank you for your service" -- the latter substituting patriotism for an acknowledgment of what our country has done to these young people, who are in many cases changed forever, hurt forever, by their service. Now, if you've read this review you know darn near everything this book can teach you.
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