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Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War Paperback – November 5, 2013
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“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
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?"
My criticism of this text centers on the fact that the book focuses on moral injury in an age of war, but does not, in any adequate way, deal with "soul repair" or "recovering from moral injury after war." I agree wholeheartedly that Christian (and other religious) communities should be places of grace for our veterans (p. 108), and I agree that "soul repair is how we hold on to our own humanity and how, at the same time, we can face the unbearable truths of who we can be in war" (p. 115). However, these "awarenesses," as important as they may be, do not constitute substantial avenues of approach to the complex question of bringing healing to the wounded soul of the warrior. Thus, I was somewhat disappointed not to find a more organized discussion about soul repair and recovery. Not that this is an easy subject matter to discuss or systematize, but it stands out on the cover of the book as the project of the text, and I am not clear that the book ever gets there.
Still, in regard to the outstanding experiences that of real people that have come from the "Truth Commission on Conscience in War" (a session of which I was privileged to attend at Riverside Church in New York City) that awaits the reader of this text, this book is a gem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book includes the spiritual with the injured soul. It's perfect for clergy.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Important work on moral injury. Veteran's stories were especially powerful and informative. I was so moved by and interested in the story and analysis given by Vietnam Veteran... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Annonymous
While this book claims to help those suffering from "moral injury", its really a pulpit for the authors to preach war is unjust. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mike
It is an okay book. Parts were very good and other parts boring. I didn't finish the book. I tried to skip around to get as much out of it as i could. Wouldn't recommend.Published 10 months ago by Cheryl
The subtitle of Soul Repair is "Recovering from Moral Injury after War." This subtitle succinctly states the true focus of the book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Paul McCright
Next part of a journey that began in 1990. Hard to read, but good. Needed this.Published 12 months ago by Allen Coffin
The various Soldier narratives are wonderful but the editors are not as much interested in repair of the soul as they are pointing an accusing finger at those who wage wars. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer