Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD
Christal Presley. HCI, $14.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-7573- 1646-3
A soldier's return home from war is often just the beginning of another, more internalized battle. In her memoir, Presley recounts 30 days of interviews with her Vietnam veteran father—conversations in which she attempts to understand her father, his PTSD, and her own lifetime of vicarious traumas. Each day is given a chapter, and each chapter concludes with a "Journal" entry that revisits Presley's tumultuous childhood memories. What emerges from this format is a harrowing portrait of the past's ability to haunt the present; Presley's descriptions of the troubled child she was blend all too easily into the confused and searching adult she becomes. In some cases, she is compelled to go to a Veterans Affairs hospital and even to Vietnam. The book's division into 30 days feels increasingly forced and fragmented with the passing of each chapter. Such a story is, by its very nature, fractured, and by the end of the book Presley's father is no less tormented than he was at Day One. Yet Presley has found stability in her father's story, and her willingness to share it—and her own revelations—will be appreciated by readers who deal with any form of wartime PTSD. (Nov.)
"I recommend this powerful book to anyone who wants to better understand the personal aspects of post-traumatic stress disorder."
--Daivd Wilson, VVA Veteran Magazine
'Christal Presley is uniquely equipped to tell a tale that affects not only her generation, but that must be understood if we are to prevent second generation PTSD in the sons and daughters of our current wave of returning veterans. Whether you are a professional who treats veterans and their loved ones, a person at risk for military PTSD, or anyone who cares, you will be profoundly moved by this eloquent, true memoir.'
–Frank M Ochberg, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University
'An incredible memoir. I think Thirty Days with My Father is an important part of the still unhealed wounds of wars. Christal has given as much of her heart to this story as her father gave to his country. This is not a journey to miss.'
–Nikki Giovanni (University Review)
'Thirty Days with My Father is an unforgettable account of a daughter struggling to find connection with herself and her father in the aftermath of war. Christal Presley's memoir is a truly inspiring portrayal of survival, forgiveness, and love."
–Jessica Handler, author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir.
'Thirty Days With My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD by Christal Presley uses memory and flashback to create a riveting and ultimately loving account of a child terribly affected by her Vietnam Veteran father's PTSD. This intergenerational trauma threatens to break the bonds between father and daughter. However, with great courage to face the darkness and great love to heal the wounds, this book is also a journey towards joy—and how a daughter and her father finally find their way back to each other.'
–Louise Nayer, author of Burned
'Though Thirty Days with My Father is close-up and personal, one daughter's attempt to break through her father's post-traumatic stress syndrome following Vietnam, it is also a big, big story which affects many Americans—–not only soldiers and veterans, as Christal Presley makes clear, but also their entire families, especially the children. Thirty Days with My Father is a beautifully written, necessary book—heart-wrenching and affirming all at once.'
–Lee Smith, best-selling and award-winning author of Mrs. Darcy Meets the Blue-Eyed Stranger and The Last Girls
'Important and beautifully written, Presley's memoir is a welcome and much-needed contribution to the genre.'
–Melody Moezzi, award-winning author and mental health advocate
"Presley's stylistic excellence, vivid prose and disarming sense of humor make this gift all the more rewarding."
--Taylor Poor, NAMI Education Coordinator
"Thirty Days With My Father, by Christal Presley, is an interesting, original book, in that it deals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought about in a family as a result of the father's service in the Vietnam War. It is a book that had to be written, as no one, to the reviewer's knowledge, has written such a book, which no doubt will prove helpful to people suffering the same fate as the author and her family."
—Alma H. Bond, Midwest Book Reviews
"Thirty Days with My Father" is a powerful book about a girl and her father. It is very touching, and you will cry in some parts, because you will sympathize for the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by skim7568
For anyone who lived their youth during those awful war years, this is a very real and very sad accounting of the terrible toll
the war took on everyone. Read more
Such an important read for those of us who's parents were impacted by the war(s). I started turning page corners on the stories I could relate to, and by the end had turned most... Read morePublished 5 months ago by L.Mantanona
My dad is a Vietnam vet. I felt the need to read this book and was able to relate to everything Ms. Presley talked about for the most part. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Colorado_Mommy
Christal sums up her relationship with her father in an honest way for those of us that are dealing or have dealt with the same thing. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Shannon Schmitt
Dr. Christal Presley is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. Her father returned to the US at the tender age of twenty, after a combat tour, with a severe case of combat PTSD. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sugafoot