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Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War Hardcover – July 1, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“San Diego author Sue Diaz’s gentle voice rises above the fray and begs our attention—not with glennbeckian outrage, not with self-righteous bombast, not with armchair general postulating, but with the tender and sorrowfully sane tale she tells. [The book] is wondrous and eloquent in its intimacy, in its simplicity, in the unquestionable stories of a mother and a son entwined in a war that will be debated for generations.”—North County Times
(North County Times 2010-10-15)

“[An] absorbing and intimate memoir…unblinkingly determined to dig deep, to ask big questions and move toward the answers. Diaz’s emotional honesty is matched by her stellar writing: her prose is polished and, at times, achieves a quiet, soaring lyricism.”—Christian Science Monitor
(Christian Science Monitor 2010-09-03)

Minefields of the Heart is an honest, thoughtful, and heart-warming account of a mother’s love for her son and the many great veterans like him. Sue Diaz takes the reader through a personal account of the emotional burden so many shoulder while loved ones serve in harm’s way. Her understanding of the struggles of veterans and their families after deployment is genuine, accurate, heart wrenching, and healing. This book spoke to me as a psychologist, father, husband, and veteran.”—Bret A. Moore, author of Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life after Deployment and Kevlar for the Mind, www.militarypsych.com
(Bret A. Moore 2010-10-01)

“This is a book to break your heart, and to heal it. Diaz writes to and for her son, to and for the veterans she leads in writing workshops. The larger gift of this book is its generosity, allowing the reader to take the journey of a mother whose son carries the wounds of two deployments to Iraq. Minefields of the Heart teaches us what we might rather not know, but knowing, we are deeper and better human beings.”—Pat Schneider, founder, Amherst Writers & Artists, and author of Writing Alone and with Others
(Pat Schneider 2010-01-15)

Minefields of the Heart is a brilliant, beautiful, and compelling book. Sue Diaz writes as the mother of one soldier and the daughter of another. She traces her son’s transition from a boy to a combat-wounded veteran of two tours in Iraq. She lets him speak for himself through emails, letters and conversation, all the while growing in her understanding of him and of war. She weaves together her family’s history with the larger events through which they have passed. Though intended specifically ‘for all who have served and those who love them,’ the book should be read by any American who wants to understand what war really does to those who endure and to their families. As a bonus, the book is a real page-turner. You can’t put it down until you finish it.”—William P. Mahedy, author of Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets
(William P. Mahedy 2010-01-19)

“Harrowing, hopeful, and beautifully written. Ernie Pyle meets Anne Lamott.”—Sharon Bray, author of When Words Heal: Writing Through Cancer
(Sharon Bray 2010-04-16)

About the Author

Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist who writes frequently for the Christian Science Monitor and contributes to National Public Radio. Since 2007 she has conducted writing workshops for veterans at the San Diego Vet Center. At her web site, www.warriorswall.com, Diaz provides a place for veterans from across the country to write and share their stories. She lives in San Diego, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159797515X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597975155
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,975,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Candace Toft on July 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Minefields of the Heart is a beautifully written, very important book. Sue Diaz has expressed what so many families of combat soldiers experience, and she has given the rest of us greater insight into what war really means. Moreover, the book is a great read.
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I wanted very much to like this book, as it was written by a woman who seems intelligent, warm, and compassionate, a housewife and mother who now teaches writing to veterans. I'm sure she is a good and very encouraging teacher. And I think she must be a wonderful mom.

However, the character she develops for the narrator of this memoir--that of a more or less ordinary, middle-of-the-road, patriotic but stay-at-home mother of a son who suddenly joins the military--produced a piece that, to me, provides little insight into the causes, nature, or consequences of the events.

Where I want to know about her son's experience as a warrior, she provides only a superficial sketch. For instance, her son is wounded by an IED (several of his comrades were killed by it). But because the military will not disclose details and because her son is a stoic Latino who wants to be "a buffer" for his mom from the horrors of Iraq, we can only experience the same blankness that the narrator conveys with the "news blackout from the unit." Similar limitations block any insight into the alleged retribution against American soldiers, leading to horrific mutilations by Iraqi "insurgents."

Instead of insight, we get sentimentality. Almost every section ends with a cliché: "Against the backdrop of that spring's gruesome headlines and investigations, the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, seemed to be blurring more than ever. But I still believed the vast majority of our fighting me and women in Iraq were decent human beings, doing an impossible job as best they could in circumstances worse than most of us could have ever imagined."

The author is against the Iraq war from the beginning.
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Sue Diaz is a wonderful author and her story of her son's journey through the military during a heightened dangerous time is thought provoking and even a little unsettling. She has a wealth of wisdom in dealing with her son's journey -- combining humor (those sponge bob letters are priceless) with respectful distance. Roman's tour is over, but the war lives on in his life as he copes with PTS. Although not a page turner, Minefields of the Heart is a must read for anyone who has family or close friends involved in the Middle East wars.This book will give you tremendous insight into what our young people face when on tour, and what lingers on in their lives after they come home.
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I'm not drawn to soldier stories. However, as I was asked to panel a discussion of this Silicon Valley Reads choice, I searched out this book. Sue Diaz is a journalist and Mother, and she was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for her musings/concerns/prayers while her son was stationed in Iraq (The "Triangle of Death" where 20% of soldiers did not return.) The book represents a compilation of these articles. The book also represents the struggle of every Mother trying to let go of her child, but never really accomplishing that Herculean task. While I do not have a child in the services, I found that with each turn of the page, I was nodding, smiling, crying. It's a lovely book.
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This story is a story for any female. The way it is writtne captivates your soul and heart. You do not need to have a son, brother, or husband in the service to know the feelings expressed In this book. Recommend it highly but be prepared to cry or at least feel the anxiety and the love.
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My son was 15 months in Iraq.....2007-2009......but many times you wrote about things I thought or said or did. When he got hurt he called his wife and said "don't tell Mom". I was told 6 months later...Thank you for putting into writing what could have been my own story. My son returned for 12 months in Afghanistan last year...more stories that I will never hear...all I can do is stay strong...Army Strong.
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Format: Hardcover
Sue Diaz's "Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War" is a remarkable book. She gives us a unique point of view of the current war the USA is fighting in the Middle East - the point of view of a parent. The book caused me to do a lot of personal reflection. I remembered my own father deploying for a year tour of duty to Vietnam in 1963-1964. I was ten years old and remember the year vividly. I remember the anxiety. I remember the trips to the post office. I remember wondering what it would be like when he returned and if he would remember me. Then I thought of my own active duty as a US Army officer and wondered what my parents thought of my years of active duty.

No, I am not writing to reflect on me. I am pointing how the book made me think and reflect. Sue Diaz is a gifted writer. You experience the emotional difficulties as you see how she and her husband deal with choices her son makes about not going directly to college. You see how they handle finding out he has joined the army and the infantry. You see how meaningful the simplest contacts are with their soldier. I loved her taking us through the "box" as a way of telling the story. I was interested when she said Roman had gotten a tattoo how she would handle it - it made me think of my daughter getting a tattoo and my son getting an ear pierced. I didn't like their choice, but it was their choice. She shows us the unconditional love of a parent.

The sacrifices a family makes to accommodate a military family member shine through when we see her daughter's wedding date changed. The stories of her going to the target practice with her son and the time between his deployments paint a picture many share.
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