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Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A talented journalist and an exceptional psychiatrist team up to write a slim but engrossing volume about the experience of the Bosnian war and the possibility of healing from torture and other trauma. The story is mostly the psychiatrist's: he is a Bosnian native who was interned in six concentration camps in 1992 and 1993, alongside thousands of other Muslims in one of the worst human rights atrocities of the late 20th century. The first half of the book describes Boskailo's life before and during the war; the second half focuses on his recovery in the United States and his calling to help others as a psychiatrist in Chicago and, later, Phoenix specializing in trauma recovery. Lieblich's prose is supple and straightforward. The book does not delve into the social and political forces that led ostensible neighbors to turn so viciously on one another. Instead it offers a compendium of best practices for treating wounded souls, relying heavily on the work of Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. Mental health professionals, as well as human rights activists working for healing and reconciliation in trouble spots across the globe, will appreciate this guide."
--Publishers Weekly

"Wounded I Am More Awake is for readers willing to contemplate what is unearthed about the human race, its conditions and capacities, for better or worse."
--ForeWord Reviews

"Wounded I Am More Awake is a clear-eyed gem of a memoir with a message far beyond one man's experience. It tells Boskailo's story artfully. Above all, Boskailo's courage and empathy help us imagine how it is possible to transcend the worst sufferings one human can impose on another."
--The Chicago Tribune

"Employing a human-rights framework rather than a theological one, this book illustrates how storytelling can be healing--a timely lesson for congregants, churches, and clergy as they grapple with the problem of evil in an age of terror."

"Wounded I Am More Awake is a meditative, jarring and untimately optimistic triumph of human rights journalism that should be read by everyone"
--The Faster Times

"I have just turned the last page. I feel drained, enraged, despairing for humanity--but also enriched, confirmed, and, in a way, elated. This unlikely couple, a journalist who wrote the story and a psychiatrist who lived the story, have accomplished something that is remarkable and necessary. They relived and recorded one man's survival of genocide in a narrative that conveys such well-chosen detail that you smell the stench and sweat of bodies in a concentration camp, but you have just enough air to breathe and distance to carry you through the darkness.

"We must acknowledge the extremes of human evil, and face the history of collective atrocity. We must understand the impact of cruelty and loss on those who escape and endure. And the only way to learn the hardest lessons of inhumanity is for the tale to be told so well that we permit ourselves to take it in, to appreciate the dignity of those who have been deliberately debased, but who act in small, decent ways. They share bread. They restrain anger that could damage a fellow prisoner. They testify and risk the reprisal of others and, even worse, the reprisal of unforgiving memory. This is my world, the world of those who witness trauma and terror and loss. These are my people, the victims who prevail, the therapists who listen, the journalists who witness, perceive, and relate.

"Read this book. It will take you where you would rather not go, but you will be better for going there."
--Frank Ochberg, MD, founder of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

From the Inside Flap

A psychiatrist and a journalist join together to tell a story of genocide and healing

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826518265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826518262
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roumen Bezergianov on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, along with Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning", should be a mandatory textbook for all humanities and social studies undergraduate programs around the world. With courage and frankness, Lieblich and Boskailo call things by their true names, be it the UN, EU and US failures in Bosnia, the genocide and the atrocities that were committed there, or the personal losses and responsibilities of the individual. Highly competent in their respective fields of journalism and psychiatry, they do not shy away from difficult questions of political, philosophical, psychological, and spiritual nature. These 170 pages are packed with value, providing clarity and eloquence and making this book sufficient by itself for the reader who does not have much background information about the events and ideas in the book. Grounded in the grim realities of the Bosnian genocide in the last decade of the 20th Century, it draws from the best and brightest experts and humanists in diverse fields to keep the reader well informed about every aspect of the book--Viktor Frankl in psychiatry, Noel Malcolm in history, Roy Gutman in journalism, Eric Stover in human rights, Frank Ochberg in trauma work, and many others.
The first part of the book leads us through Dr. Boskailo's experience of the Bosnian war, the ordeal of the concentration camps, his healing and defiant triumph. This defiant triumph of the human spirit is very characteristic of Bosnia itself, best expressed by the famous Bosnian proverb putting a limit to human irresponsibility: You can do whatever you want, but not as long as you want to. The second part is about Boskailo's approach to psychotherapy, grief and loss work, and "integration" as he calls it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By fazlaco on March 8, 2012
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Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after TerrorThis book connected Esad Boskailo's experience with one of the most famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, in the same way Zlata's Diary was connected with Anne Frank. So many similarities between treatment of Bosnians in Bosnia, and the treatment of Jewish population during the Nazi hysteria. It is an account of how much is human being capable to endure. It is also an account of how much pain one human being is capable to inflict in other human being. I highly recommend this book to every student of social studies and to every single human rights sympathizer. I recommend it not just to learn what happened, but to know what we can't allow to happen in the future...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mirza on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Thank you for finding courage and strength to tell the story.

It is good for everyone to see how easy it is for someone's life to go from idyllic to horror, as many in Bosnia have discovered. Hopefully people will read the book and spread its positive message, that it is possible to go from tragedy to possibility. Furthermore, another strong message of the book that resonates is that we all have a choice in what we do and mass thinking can never be an excuse for any wrongdoings.

I'm always amazed how the people that went throught the most horrible experiences inflicted by other humans can find strength to recover and also be one of the first ones to forgive, or at least let go.

Great book, well structured and told. Tragic story with a positive message. For everyone to know and for future generations to try to understand.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Lacevic, Psychiatrist on April 1, 2012
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An extremely captivating story, Wounded I am More Awake, exemplifies a genuine narrative about the continuum of human beings. It is an account about regaining strength through the journey of recovery and healing, despite living and reliving some of the darkest stages infringed upon human dignity.

The partnership between a genocide survivor, now a psychiatrist; and a human rights journalist demonstrates the notion and power of empathy and reflective listening, as a tool of self awareness.

The book contrasts the notions between good and evil through various facets of psychological and historical dimensions. The crimes against atrocities that were committed in the contest of the 1990's through the former Yugoslavia, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina, are now characterized as the worst instances of human rights abuses since the Holocaust. The facades of the human psyche are re-visited and followed through several stages of Boskailo's life as it transitions from ideality to darkness and sorrow to a voyage of regaining dignity and inner peace. Boskailo's experience has been solidified as tool of empowerment for those in need.

What remains is up to you, how much do you want to know and will you find yourself buried within the pages?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Sherhart on March 27, 2012
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It takes great courage on the part of survivors to tell their stories publicly. In this well written book, Esad Boskailo faces his memories and feelings so that others can understand and benefit from his own trauma. As a psychiatrist, he stands on the inside and outside of his own experiences which is only enhanced by teaming up with journalist Julia Lieblich. Esad's life is a monument to an obvious commitment to 'give back' to his community and this book is just another example. I want to thank them for the privilege to read such an insightful book.
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