This compelling novel engages the reader and allows us into the world of honor and courage as well as the brutality of war, and the pain of its consequences.
--Dr. M. Tracie Shea, Professor, Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown UniversityAt its best in conveying what we clinicians call 'survival guilt,' a term that barely describes the aftermath of combat with the brutal loss of those so uniquely loved.
--Dr. M. Tracie Shea, Professor, Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Brown University"A POIGNANT AND POWERFUL NOVEL..."
---- Midwest Book Review, April 2007 Fiction Shelf"A MOVING NOVEL..."
---- VVA Magazine (Vietnam Veterans of America)"AS A THERAPIST, I found this book powerfully wields a new pathway for teaching others about combat trauma...it is cathartic and poetic all at once."
---- Jerome Beightol, PTSD Therapist and Vietnam Veteran
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From the Author
When I spent time working on a corporate video project for the USO of Metro DC at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, my assignment was to videotape celebrities visiting and boosting morale of the war-wounded, but it was an experience that impacted me deeply and ultimately changed my assignment in life. It was August of 2003, and at age 27, was the first time I saw casualties of war and had a context for the reports I was reading in the newspapers about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From that point on, they were just black letters on a white page. Months later I met a Vietnam Veteran who confided he had spent 9 months serving in-country as a Marine, lost his best friend and every former sense of self he had. I was struck by the parallel. "Nine months," I said to this veteran, "that's the same amount of time it takes a woman to give birth to a baby. I bet going to war as a 19-year old and coming out a different person must have felt like you were being born again." The old veteran replied, "Exactly. Except this time, you're not born with your innocence, you're born without it." Inspired, I began writing. What resulted 'Beyond the Wall: The Journey Home' (1st edition titled Still the Monkey, What Happens to Warriors after War), a reality-based work of historical fiction that depicts the mentor relationship between a Vietnam veteran and Iraq War veteran facing their post-combat struggles. The novel portrays historically accurate depictions of battles in Vietnam and Iraq, the journey through the minds of warriors struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and the rigors of rehabilitation for loss of limb, innocence and emotions. Of the estimated 25 million veterans living in this country today, 30 percent of those who served in Vietnam have reported symptoms of PTSD, and an estimated 30-40% of veterans returning home from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are reporting disabilities attributed to this anxiety-based disorder. I wrote this book to help better understand how our generation can support returning Service Members, Veterans and their families. A large number of our current Service Members are serving in two, three, even fourth tours of duty. It is important for us then as a society to uphold our social contract to them. We can do this by having awareness and compassion of re-adjustment and health issues, such as PTSD, and remove the stigma often attached.
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