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Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD Paperback – November 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757316468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757316463
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)

Review

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.)

--Publishers Weekly



"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



"It is a book that had to be written... which no doubt will prove helpful to people suffering the same fate as the author and her family."

--Alma Bond, Midwest Review

 "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


More About the Author

Christal Presley received her bachelor's degree in English and her master's degree in English Education from Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D in Education from Capella University. She is a former intern at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and spent seven years teaching middle and high school English in Chatham and Danville, Virginia.

Her first book, THIRTY DAYS WITH MY FATHER: FINDING PEACE FROM WARTIME PTSD, will be published by Health Communications, Inc. in November 2012.

Christal grew up in Honaker, Virginia, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founder of United Children of Veterans, a website that provides resources about PTSD in children of war veterans. In her spare time, you can find Christal playing with her dogs, tending to her chickens, and gardening.

Customer Reviews

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The author was very brave to share this story.
Patti
If you or anyone you know sufferers either directly or indirectly from PTSD, you MUST read this book.
Tom Gordon
Ordered, received, started to read and couldn't put the book down.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Linton on November 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I, along with my wife have read Christal Presley's book "Thirty Days With My Father" It is compelling, and right on the money. I can only say it is the real deal. Her father is truly me, and she is somewhat my two daughter's and son. It was hard for me to see myself, but for some strange reason I knew I would. You see, I have been on a journey the past six years, and some really strange things have taken place in that time. I have been pulled by a force, and led to places I never thought I'd be.

Six years ago, I decided to take a second tour in therapy, and am glad I have. The thought of a third generation of dysfunctional family was too much to deal with. My first tour in therapy (1980's) wasn't well received, due to PTSD not being well known. Even so, I learned much from that point in time, until now. I only wish I had learned so earlier, to spare my family the hardship they endured because of me.

We as combat veterans sometimes mistakenly feel we are protecting our loved ones by secluding ourselves, our suppressed feelings, or in my brothers case committing suicide. Our thinking becomes distorted, our anger's increased, as well as those of our children, and family. Our abnormal becomes our normal, and without help there is not much hope in realizing and changing any of that.

What I have come to now realize, is that the 40 some past years have really been about me, a selfish controlling me, and I alone have to change that. I have controlled everything, and everbody with my behavior, and the results have been devastating. I unwantedly, unknowingly, and without intention, had nearly destroyed my loving family.

My thoughts now are towards healing my family and I, and trying to remedy the damage I have inflicted on those that I love.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By brockly on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reading Thirty Days With My Father gave me a sense of the whole Vietnam fiasco, and the pain which was, and still is, predominant in so many lives of veterans and their families. In her uplifting story, Christal Presley demonstates considerable strength and perseverance that eventually brings healing and a loving spirit to her life. This story will be cathartic for verterans of all wars and their families.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Bradbury on November 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My father always spoke openly about his two tours in Vietnam. Growing up, however, I never associated his combat experience with his unpredictable mood swings, his short fuse when it came to patience or his explosive anger over minor failures. I learned to back off, to be quiet, and to get away. It took over 30 years for him to be diagnosed and to get help. The VA came through for him but, as Christal's dad points out, for many it does not. For those of us who have dealt first hand with a combat PTSD sufferer, this book is a reassurance that we are not alone. For others, it is a lesson in the long-term trickle-down effects of war. Veterans who don't like to talk about their war REALLY don't like to talk about it. Christal has done an amazing job getting her father to share his story, and she is brave to share her own. Wonderful book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C-Jamie on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Great book about a daughter's journey of reconnecting with her father and finding herself. Could not put the book down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PaulaB on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As Presley reminds us in Thirty Days with My Father, we have the most to gain when we face our biggest fears. Through love, acceptance, and a willingness to be vulnerable, she reveals how communication can heal the deepest wounds. Anyone who has experienced PTSD, either first-hand or through a loved one, will want to give Presley a big hug and say "Thank you for telling our story."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donna on December 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author tells what she went through while growing up with a father who was living with PTSD. And how she too lived with PTSD herself from her experiences of living with her father. Too many people who suffer from this affliction are not understood.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tommy J. Skiens on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you read Christal Presley's book, Thirty Days with My Father, it will be the first time you have heard a story that has been repeated over and over throughout the history of military conflict. It is the story of how a war induced trauma consumes the soul of the warrior and contaminates his future attempts at interpersonal relationships.
You will not need a dictionary to read the words because the truth is always simple. But be sure to bring your heart and a hand full of Kleenex. The brave little girl hiding in a closet, the self abusing teenager protecting the secret and the insightful, educated adult touring her father's battleground reveal the true costs of war. Christal battles her father's demons with love and persistence. This is the highest calling and she does not fail.
Tommy J Skiens
C 4/3 11th LIB
Vietnam 1968
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Valerie on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
What a great read about my classmate and her inner struggles with her own PTSD. This book showcases the "secret" a family dealt with the only way they knew how;
whether right or wrong. I think this well written book is not only enlightening, but healing as well. It's a must read!
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