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Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD Paperback – November 1, 2012
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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.)
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.)
"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
Top customer reviews
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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. My children will receive Christal's book for Christmas, as my way of trying to explain why their father was, and is the way he is. It is my way of saying I am sorry, and asking for forgiveness.
PTSD is and will always be a part of my life. The difference is, it does not have to control it. I can use it as a tool, embrace it, learn from it, and teach others to realize it, and live with it.
Brothers, we only have so much time left to get it right. It is no longer about us. It is time to heal, and help heal those around us. To help give insight to those that need it.
Christal, I know your father is sorry for the damage done to your mother and yourself, just as I am for what I have done.I also understand your need to hear that. So until that day comes from one veteran to another, I say "I am sorry"
Jim "Wildman" Linton
H Troop 17th CAV.
I recommend this book with all my heart, I hope this book will help others understand and heal from second-hand PTST. It has given me a better insight of the hurt my PTSD has caused my family and friends.
At thirteen I started seeing a psychologist and was diagnosed with PTSD, I was furious because "I had not gone to war, how could I have PTSD!". All the psychologists and psychiatrists I have seen since for twenty-six years have had the same diagnosis. It is a very complicated condition but if you could list "classic textbook PTSD symptoms " I have them. Why? How? When? I felt like a fraud "I did not go to war, I have no right to PTSD".
Reading this book, many parts could have been excerpts from my own childhood. Now I know I am not alone and I have a reason for my symptoms. I did not go to war but was born into PTSD and the fear that permeates every aspect of life when you grow up in such an environment.
I can not thank the author and her father enough for their courage embarking on this task and seeing it through. It explains so much. Thank you.
the war took on everyone. It still haunts me how our boys were treated on return. Most were drafted into a war they wanted
no part of, and were forced to do unspeakable things that would affect them forever. They did not deserve the horrid things
their own countrymen did to them when they came home. The secondary affects of the war that the children of soldiers suffered
were never spoken of, never addressed. Shame on the US for abandoning those who gave their bodies and souls to a war that
could never be won and their families who ultimately suffered along with them.
Most recent customer reviews
Blessings to anyone who has PTSD, knows someone that does, and please give them moral support.Read more