on February 25, 2005
This is a heartbreaking book, in that the plight of the mentally wounded soldiers of WWI are revealed, and in realizing that so many could probably have been helped with today's therapies and drug treatments. Mr. Barham does an excellent job in uncovering the brutality (it's not too strong a word) of the "establishment" when it came to granting the soldiers' disability pensions. There was no government assistance available to the in-home caregivers, and the mentality of the physicians and medical personnel of the time was extremely severe, and limited. Basically, severely shell-shocked soliders had no chance of recovery, given the limited medical understanding of the condition.
This is an important book. I could wish the writing was just a little looser; the author obviously has sympathy with the subject matter, and the detailed research can't be faulted, but there is something dry about the presentation. I still strongly recommend the book, and I think it can be useful and interesting to both the WWI "buff" and anyone interested in mental health topics.
on June 1, 2009
I found this book to be most interesting but terribly sad. However the writer's style became very tiresome. Poetic and repeated adjectives get old after a while, and the author seems to be trying to inpress his reader with his use of flowery and clever descriptions. I found it repetetive, and hard to read. I love history and have been a psychiatric professional for 35 years, so my interest level was high. The author should have included the diagnostic criteria for some of the diagnoses which were being used so often in those years, which bear little resemblance to todays criteria. A great accomplishment however.