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Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character Hardcover – May 26, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 197 ratings

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Hardcover, May 26, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shay is a psychiatrist specializing in treating Vietnam veterans with chronic post-traumatic stress syndrome. In this provocative monograph, he relates their experiences to Homer's portrait of Achilles in The Illiad. War, he argues, generates rage because of its intrinsic unfairness. Only one's special comrades can be trusted. The death of Patroklos drove Achilles first into passionate grief, then into berserk wrath. Shay establishes convincing parallels to combat in Vietnam, where the war was considered meaningless and mourning for dead friends was thwarted by an indifferent command structure. He convincingly recommends policies of unit rotation and unit "griefwork"--official recognition of combat losses--as keys to sustaining what he calls a moral existence during war's human encounters. The alternatives are unrestrained revenge-driven behavior, endless reliving of the guilt such behavior causes and the ruin of good character. Shay's ideas merit attention by soldiers and scholars alike.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Narratives from Vietnam veterans, excerpts from Homer's Iliad, and quotes from the Bible are here used to compare combat during the Vietnam War and the time of the Iliad, providing a scholarly book about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is estimated that a quarter of a million Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD today. Although this work will be a bit difficult for those not versed in Homer's epic poem, the comparisons vividly show the effects of PTSD. For serious researchers on the psychology of PTSD, this book provides an intriguing approach. Educated lay readers, students, and scholars interested in the Vietnam war will want to consider this extraordinary perspective on the problem of PTSD. Recommended for serious psychology and literature collections.
- H. Robert Malinowsky, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.23 pounds
  • Hardcover : 246 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0689121822
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0689121821
  • Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 0.75 x 9.5 inches
  • Publisher : Atheneum; First Edition (May 26, 1994)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 197 ratings
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