Hot Best Seller

Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Availability: Ready to download

"A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq--and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done "Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine's Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq--and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done "Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine's Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums. But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory--a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a "soft spot," the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them. From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, "Soft Spots "reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America.


Compare

"A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq--and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done "Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine's Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq--and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done "Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine's Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums. But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory--a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a "soft spot," the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them. From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, "Soft Spots "reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America.

30 review for Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jankreidler

    Let me begin by saying that my son is the author. That aside, this is a fantastic look into the lives of returning warriors and the invisible wounds they carry. This book could apply to any era and would help family members understand why their loved ones are so traumatized and how they cope with homecoming after being involved in such surreal, harrowing experiences.

  2. 5 out of 5

    April Klasen

    Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle has silenced me. Every argument for and against war that I’ve ever uttered in my life has been stupid and based on the opinions of what the media has fed me from when I was a child when the Twin Towers came down (the first time I became aware of war) to recent times. This is a memoir of his experience on the battle field and how it affected his civilian life when he left. This should be mandatory reading for everybody, force the teens in the classroom to study this i Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle has silenced me. Every argument for and against war that I’ve ever uttered in my life has been stupid and based on the opinions of what the media has fed me from when I was a child when the Twin Towers came down (the first time I became aware of war) to recent times. This is a memoir of his experience on the battle field and how it affected his civilian life when he left. This should be mandatory reading for everybody, force the teens in the classroom to study this instead of Frankenstien. Perhaps it will make them understand and more sympathetic. Or maybe not. At first, I thought he was sanitising the story. It felt a little awkward in the first couple of pages, as if he was being careful with what he was saying. But that soon disappeared and he delved into the story. Nothing was sanitised. Every f-bomb, every splatter of blood, and every emotion was laid bare. Van Winkle isn’t shy about describing how he enjoyed moments of war; the thrill of the firefight and acting on survival instinct. Or the disappointment for not pulling the trigger. Or for pulling the trigger. The hope. The anger. The confusion. In everything, he seems to be confused. He gives us glimpses of how his mind worked when he returned to the US. Scenes from his civilian life would morph into those of combat, comrades who are on the other side of the country or globe would appear in his lounge room and talk to him, they would also remind him that things didn’t happen the way he was remembering. The most horrible to invade his mind are the dead. A little girl he may or may not have killed. A fellow marine, dead, who was left behind. The way the veterans are treated when they return shows how little care the government has and how little civilians know and understand. Van Winkle was diagnosed with PTSD after a handful of questions and was prescribed drugs. His panic attacks were not explained to him until a nurse, who must’ve been sick of him coming in and saying he was having a heart attack, final said something. Excuse me? Is that really mental health? Flick and tick through some questions and dose them up on drugs? It’s heartbreaking. But I cannot say anything. Honestly, I have no experiences to compare to his, nothing that gives me the right to pass judgment or even attempt to have a conversation with a veteran where I know so little. Instead, and I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to ask this, but I feel like I want to ask the next return service personnel if they’re alright. Coming to read this story after reading Jarhead… I was not truly prepared. Though, the two service men cannot and should not be compared, the mental scarring seems to be more on display in Soft spots. Front and centre.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Synopsis: "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums. But after two Synopsis: "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums. But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them. From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America." My Review: As you can imagine, this is a difficult book to read. Soft Spots gives us only a tiny glimpse into the struggles a combat vet faces, the confusing chaos of PTSD and the lack of helpful staff at the VA. I can't imagine the way he basically was living in two worlds and the frustration he had trying to figure out what normal life should be. I also think he brought up a very good point that after the constant work of military lifestyle, normal daily civilian life can leave too much open time to fill. Soft Spots definitely reminds me not to judge or to assume why some people are the way they are, vets have been through so much worse than any of us civilians could ever imagine. Remember those who are still struggling as you eat your burgers and watch the fireworks with friends and family this Independence Day.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Candy Sparks

    I read this book and saw parts of myself in it. I read it and found parts of my ex husband in it. I read this book and found every veteran that I had or had not deployed with in it. Very powerful, understanding, and moving book. Do you really want to know what it is like to kill someone? Read the book. How memories can haunt you? Read the book. How reality and past get so mixed up that you don't know which one you are living. Read the book. Clint is a stand up American Citizen who is also a war I read this book and saw parts of myself in it. I read it and found parts of my ex husband in it. I read this book and found every veteran that I had or had not deployed with in it. Very powerful, understanding, and moving book. Do you really want to know what it is like to kill someone? Read the book. How memories can haunt you? Read the book. How reality and past get so mixed up that you don't know which one you are living. Read the book. Clint is a stand up American Citizen who is also a war veteran. I am impressed with his need to survive and get well. PTSD is no joke and can haunt any of us non-combat or combat related. He drowns himself in both civilian and military families. He finds it hard to turn off his killer instant. His senses are hightened and he always on the look out for an IED or listening for bullets being fired. If you are looking for a happy ending you won't find on here, but what you will find is progress. That is all we can ask for. I hope you enjoy the read just as much as I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rage

    this is a very personal story, so it's weird for me to rate it. it's structured to give the reader an understanding of how disorienting PTSD can be, with memories of deployments overtaking peaceful moments at home (or drinks at the bar). there's a lot of honesty about the author's struggles and things he is not proud of, frustration with treatment at the VA, things he saw that haunt him - the writing definitely feels raw, not in the sense that it's unedited, but such that the immediate impact (a this is a very personal story, so it's weird for me to rate it. it's structured to give the reader an understanding of how disorienting PTSD can be, with memories of deployments overtaking peaceful moments at home (or drinks at the bar). there's a lot of honesty about the author's struggles and things he is not proud of, frustration with treatment at the VA, things he saw that haunt him - the writing definitely feels raw, not in the sense that it's unedited, but such that the immediate impact (at least for me) is emotional more than intellectual. I think it's great to have someone share this experience, the process of seeking treatment and working hard to change things. a lot of media portrays people with PTSD as fragile or helpless or about to explode, when actually they are just folks who deserve understanding and respect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trish Doller

    At first I had difficulty keeping straight whether or not the author was in Iraq or at home, but I guess that's kind of the point. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him. Soft Spots is a fascinating read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    A very touching and brutally honest journey

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaeri Ayarez

    This was a difficult thing to read. But we should read it. So we will realize more and learn more about our soldiers who's protecting us from wars They should be honored more. They are all risking everything and suffering more than we could imagine. It's not easy to be in a combat, It's not easy to kill people, They are still humans after all. That's why being in the war is also a traumatic event for them They are suffering not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually We shoul This was a difficult thing to read. But we should read it. So we will realize more and learn more about our soldiers who's protecting us from wars They should be honored more. They are all risking everything and suffering more than we could imagine. It's not easy to be in a combat, It's not easy to kill people, They are still humans after all. That's why being in the war is also a traumatic event for them They are suffering not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually We should absolutely salute them because despite of these, they continue to protect us from the wars. RESPECT, SALUTE & HONORED THEM

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle return home from war after two tours in Iraq. This book is stripped down, harshly honest and surreal as Van Winkle tries to grasp the real and imagined thru the diagnosis of PTSD and the blurred vision of self-medicated alcohol. Why I started this book: I'm conquering my to read pile... okay, I've starting scaling it. Why I finished it: This book is not for the comfortable or the certain. This is Van Winkle's attempt to bridge the gap between the civilian and the Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle return home from war after two tours in Iraq. This book is stripped down, harshly honest and surreal as Van Winkle tries to grasp the real and imagined thru the diagnosis of PTSD and the blurred vision of self-medicated alcohol. Why I started this book: I'm conquering my to read pile... okay, I've starting scaling it. Why I finished it: This book is not for the comfortable or the certain. This is Van Winkle's attempt to bridge the gap between the civilian and the military worlds... a gap that too many of our veterans are falling into.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greg Hickey

    An illuminating first-person account of the Iraq War and PTSD. Van Winkle successfully merges experiences from his post-war life with memories of the war. The resulting scenes can be disorienting at times, but that is likely the point. Unfortunately, Van Winkle's personal progression with the disorder is spotty at times. For example, in the second chapter, Van Winkle depicts a scene in which he verbally abused his then-girlfriend, an event that seems to signal a major strain in their relationshi An illuminating first-person account of the Iraq War and PTSD. Van Winkle successfully merges experiences from his post-war life with memories of the war. The resulting scenes can be disorienting at times, but that is likely the point. Unfortunately, Van Winkle's personal progression with the disorder is spotty at times. For example, in the second chapter, Van Winkle depicts a scene in which he verbally abused his then-girlfriend, an event that seems to signal a major strain in their relationship. (view spoiler)[Yet somehow, 150 pages later, the two are married and moving to Wales to begin graduate school with little explanation of how their relationship healed. (hide spoiler)] Read Soft Spots to understand what it's like to suffer from PTSD, but don't expect a fully composed personal memoir.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    Wrote a book report on this..

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn (Lost as Alice, Mad as the Hatter)

    Sometimes poingnant, sometimes gritty, sometimes hard to follow, and sometimes just a plain scream inside the head, Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the confusing mess that comes home with the men and women who are trained for war but not trained to survive coming home from it. "Sometimes I shot when I shouldn’t have; other times I didn’t shoot when I should have. There was no way to explain why I did either. Everything happened so fast. Decisions Sometimes poingnant, sometimes gritty, sometimes hard to follow, and sometimes just a plain scream inside the head, Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the confusing mess that comes home with the men and women who are trained for war but not trained to survive coming home from it. "Sometimes I shot when I shouldn’t have; other times I didn’t shoot when I should have. There was no way to explain why I did either. Everything happened so fast. Decisions had to be made. After I got home I began to see things in slow motion, see the actions that might’ve been mistakes.” I have a hard time reading books like this. Books that take you into the heart of a man who is at war. At war with a country. At war with himself. I just have a hard time and usually avoid them. It hits me in all of the feels every single time. For anyone who has ever been lost inside their own head after surviving a nightmare reality, this book will be understood. It was written in a chaotic manner to show how hard it is to be trapped in your head when demons and memories are tearing you apart. This memoir kicks off with him having returned home with the monsters inside his head. He went to war a cold blooded warrior and came home a veteran with regrets and moral compunctions that he just could not reconcile. "When I got back from Iraq, and saw my Grandpa, we talked about war again. However, we talked about it in a different manner than we had years earlier. We talked about the places we saw, and the friends we gained. We bypassed the death and shooting. Our wars were sixty years apart but weren't really any different. It didn't matter how many years separated our wars or where we traveled to fight them. Blood still dried the same way around wounds, and charred bodies still crusted over the same as they always have. It didn't matter that he'd fought in a "good war" and I'd fought in a controversial war; because the effect turned out to be the same: Neither of us could find anything praiseworthy about combat." This memoir definitely played with the narrative. It reads a bit like one of those free writing exercises they suggest in therapy sessions--except one that has been edited. Do not get me wrong, there are some very real, raw parts to the story (view spoiler)[, like when he describes almost killing his wife, (hide spoiler)] but when he goes into the 'analysis' after drawing us through those raw moments...well it just feels forced and unnatural. In my opinion, Van Winkle writes best when it is pouring from his heart instead of coming from his head. “I guess I was always looking for something. What it was, I didn’t know. I wanted help from the VA, but didn’t want to go back, didn’t want to be subjected to that second-rate treatment any longer. I wanted to find peace within myself, but didn’t know how or where to locate it. I wanted to be a sergeant again, a writer, less angry, a better husband, and to ward off the constant bombardment of war-related thoughts." As we travel with Van Winkle in his struggles to keep his sanity, his career, his marriage, and his very life on track in a world of arguing bureaucrats and unsatisfactory doctors, we also discover his growing contempt for "arm chair warriors" and "people who slap 'Support Our Troops' stickers on their cars and then drive to the mall." He takes refuge in the brothers that he has not seen in months but are more real to him than the wife he sees every day. "Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.” The overarching lesson to this book is that no matter how a man goes to war, he will not come home as that same man. For me this story was incomplete. He goes from fighting against acknowledging that he has a problem to suddenly accepting it to being all better. The epilogue with his controversial PTSD treatment also seemed out of place--like he did not know where to put it in his story but wanted us to know about it. It is HIS story, so if he wants to leave bits out then that is his choice. But it would almost be better as a novel versus this diary type memoir. Then he could have the creative license to fill in the holes in the story and skip the analysis of his actions. Still, overall this was a great look into the minds of our troops coming home different. It highlights the problems with a broken system and the heartache of a fractured man. A good read for anyone whose particular reading taste lends itself toward a soldier's stories.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Lacy

    An impressively written book by a Marine combat veteran of the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Van Winkle writes clearly and sensitively. He contrasts his life in combat and his life upon returning home. So many great insights. A formidable story. Reading this book and other books by combat veterans, it's hard to agree with today's news analysis who say with such confidence that Americans "have no stake in the war." Surely we do, surely we must after reading Van Winkle's book, as well as, Colby An impressively written book by a Marine combat veteran of the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Van Winkle writes clearly and sensitively. He contrasts his life in combat and his life upon returning home. So many great insights. A formidable story. Reading this book and other books by combat veterans, it's hard to agree with today's news analysis who say with such confidence that Americans "have no stake in the war." Surely we do, surely we must after reading Van Winkle's book, as well as, Colby Buzzell's, My War: Killing Time In Iraq. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005, and John Crawford's, The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005. Especially too after reading books like Jane Mayer's, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, New York: Doubleday, 2008, and Chalmers Johnson's, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004, clearly show the lies and secret agenda of the Bush administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc) that aimed our attention on Saddam Hussein instead on the primary target after September 11th: Ossama Bin Laden and Al Queda. We have more of a stake in the safety of our men and women in uniform especially in a war where we invaded a nation for the first time on nonexistent evidence. Iraq makes Vietnam look like somebody pushed us into a war we didn't want to be involved in the first place. As if we were standing next to the kid, next to the other kid, that the bully pushed who fell against, the second kid and then us (the third kid) and we were somehow drawn into the mess. Christopher Hitchens was a strong proponent that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld be charged and tried as war criminals for their actions in taking the United States to war in Iraq. I was a proponent of this way before I heard Hitchens. As Hitchens is dead, I haven't heard any person in the media argue this point. Maybe Gore Vidal was a proponent of this, but he died recently too. And with the state of corporate media television, we're not going to get indepth objective stories. And since most people don't read, such stories in our fine written media are not going to get read. United States leaders are not, should not be exempt from International Law. Van Winkle's book is another experience we need to be exposed to. Memoir is the best way I have discovered not only to learn about a subject, but also a person's experience and discoveries along his or her experiences. There are so many good, great memoir out there. This is a good memoir worth reading and experiencing. Once you have, you will have a stake in the lives of our men and women in today's military, overseas and working in bases here at home, doing their duties. Sobering this week was the killing of the U.S. Ambassador of Egypt and three other men from the embassy. Their flag draped caskets, the Marine pallbearers in their dress blues and white pants. The hearses drive away with the caskets. An extremely moving scene reminding us that there are so many people that want to do our people harm.dy

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve Woods

    Despite the separation of time, generations, culture and geography the thing that hit me most forcefully about this book were the striking similarities between the post war experience of this man, an Iraq war veteran and my own, a Vietnam veteran. There were times when those similarities took on the aura of the surreal as he spoke word for word thoughts that I too have had. The commonality of the combat experience makes this book very easy for me to relate to and the "stream of consciousness" st Despite the separation of time, generations, culture and geography the thing that hit me most forcefully about this book were the striking similarities between the post war experience of this man, an Iraq war veteran and my own, a Vietnam veteran. There were times when those similarities took on the aura of the surreal as he spoke word for word thoughts that I too have had. The commonality of the combat experience makes this book very easy for me to relate to and the "stream of consciousness" style of the writing, weaving memory, felt experience and the present in that eerie mix that those with ptsd instantly recognize, put me into the space of brotherhood with this man. A space that only we, fellow travelers, will ever fully understand.I feel for them all. His account of his experience, despite the years of research and thousands churned through the system before him, points up the sad fact that all veterans understand; nothing of much use has been learned and acted upon to our benefit and all the "We Support the Troops" bullshit doesn't ever go far beyond bumper stickers and patriotic chest thumping. The reality of returning veterans is that it is only "the troops who support the troops." All the rest is window dressing which suits our political masters and their public service number crunchers fine. We do this in our own way, in quiet corners, in dimly lit bars, in nuthouses, and in quiet moments when nothing needs to be said. It is my firmly held belief that probably only a veteran (with few exception)can help the mentally wounded make any kind of recovery of the quality of their life. veterans who have worked their way to a position of some sanity yet who still feel the sting of what was on a daily basis. The absurdity of twenty something newly graduated well meaning counselors and regular health care professionals provided as our primary care givers just doesn't cut it they have no credibility with a combat veteran and not a clue what they are doing. Twenty years of running around their circuit nearly killed me and still imprisons many in the belief that they are broken and beyond redemption. These people who seek to help as "fixers" either employing the latest psychfad or simply the newest batch of happy pills are dangerous, poisonous, and bloody useless, the alarming suicide rate among veterans testifies amply to the success of their efforts. Until a sea change takes place we all remain reliant on our own resources and each other. That sea change is unlikely for that would require that the same politicians and seinor bureaucrats who write policy andhold the purse strings, who in fact remain content with our progressive demise would have to care!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kenna

    It was difficult to follow Author Clint Van Winkle's narrative at times as it jumped from present-day to memories of his experiences (real or imagined) as a Marine in Iraq. The memories included those of a little girl in a white-and-red-striped shirt that the Marine may have killed, starving soldiers scouring garbage-ridden streets for food, the author nearly stepping on an explosive and stepping in the middle of what was left of a Marine killed in combat. It was difficult to separate the horrors It was difficult to follow Author Clint Van Winkle's narrative at times as it jumped from present-day to memories of his experiences (real or imagined) as a Marine in Iraq. The memories included those of a little girl in a white-and-red-striped shirt that the Marine may have killed, starving soldiers scouring garbage-ridden streets for food, the author nearly stepping on an explosive and stepping in the middle of what was left of a Marine killed in combat. It was difficult to separate the horrors between what was real and what was flashback, but that is what made the book amazing. Anyone who has studied or experienced Post-traumatic Stress Disorder understands that the back-and-forth that makes you feel like you're going crazy is a primary symptom of the mental disorder. After reading less than a chapter of the book, I discussed its contents with a friend who serves in the Army. I wanted to know if it was overblown. I discovered that it is not. Van Winkle gives an honest look at what it's like to be a combat Marine during wartime and upon return home. Anyone with an opinion about the war should read this book and see if it alters their view. Anyone who has ever casually dismissed a veteran should do the same. We send these men and women to places they've never even heard of to fight for something intangible. We train them to kill, let them loose and tell them to be honorable but not to die. We arm them with equipment that fails, poor medical treatments and without enough food or supplies to survive. We tell them to kill anything that threatens them–men, women, children, animals... We show them that they might accidentally kill one another. Then we bring them home and tell them to go back to life as it was before. When they can't, we give them second-class treatment and view them as violent, angry and dangerous. Soft Spots isn't about how war is wrong or right. It's a courageous memoir about those who survive but can't live.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ken Marsh

    My intention was to like reading this book. It seemed it would be a window into the life of a combat solider who loved his country, fought for his beliefs, did his best to do right and never took freedom for granted. However, shortly into the first few pages, this expectation was let down. Perhaps the divisions of the military differ so much that I shouldn't have expected tales of valor from a Marine; maybe that's written somewhere in a book about Air Force life. It could be that times have chan My intention was to like reading this book. It seemed it would be a window into the life of a combat solider who loved his country, fought for his beliefs, did his best to do right and never took freedom for granted. However, shortly into the first few pages, this expectation was let down. Perhaps the divisions of the military differ so much that I shouldn't have expected tales of valor from a Marine; maybe that's written somewhere in a book about Air Force life. It could be that times have changed so much, that wars aren't what they once where forty or sixty years ago. Foreseeing a person, such as this author, suffering from PTSD later in his combat career seemed quite easy to imagine. Anger issues and lack of introspection are sure to breed problems after seeing such gruesome sights. It pushes one to think there ought to be stricter psychological tests in place before allowing a person into battle, in a time when people are flooding recruiting offices for a chance to get in. If this book was written solely for the purpose of conveying to the reader how PTSD onsets and affects a solider, then I believe the attempt was very much lacking. Half of the stories seem grossly fabricated if only for the reader to enjoy some semblance of the story. Story aside, the writing is less than appreciable, considering the writer had just finished his master's degree in English. Television series "Generation Kill" offered a tremendous amount more insight into the way of combat life in the modern world than this book sought to and was very entertaining along the way, too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tammielyn

    This is one of those books that I know will stay with me for a long time, not only because of what the author experienced in war, but also by what members of the service had/still have to endure after they come home.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tori Miller

    I have PTSD from other sources, and I was really hoping to see the author go into more detail on some of the symptoms and challenges to treatment. I was very glad to see him mention EMDR as this has given me some relief too and it is great to get awareness of this treatment out there. It seemed like some of the complaints about the book in the reviews below were about him skipping around between being in the war and being back home. I actually really liked how he told his story in that manner bec I have PTSD from other sources, and I was really hoping to see the author go into more detail on some of the symptoms and challenges to treatment. I was very glad to see him mention EMDR as this has given me some relief too and it is great to get awareness of this treatment out there. It seemed like some of the complaints about the book in the reviews below were about him skipping around between being in the war and being back home. I actually really liked how he told his story in that manner because it is often how it feels to have PTSD going about ordinary life and then suddenly be right back there. I wasn't surprised, but I was disappointed to see the treatment he received at the VA. I was glad to see him speak up about this. I feel like I forget too how much harder it probably is for someone in the military to speak up about PTSD. I hope that is getting easier, but it still sounds like the stigma within the military is even greater than what we experience outside the military. I think this book will really help some other combat veterans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    This troubling memoir of a Marine attempting to live a normal life in the aftermath of a PTSD diagnosis highlights the need for more research into treating this dehabilitating condition. The author survived his tour in Iraq only to return home to a system unable to deal with his now fractured psyche. The memoir is hard to follow- dreams and real life blur, and there is no clear sense of time to give the reader an anchor, but the effect is to plunge the reader into Van Winkle's shifting reality. This troubling memoir of a Marine attempting to live a normal life in the aftermath of a PTSD diagnosis highlights the need for more research into treating this dehabilitating condition. The author survived his tour in Iraq only to return home to a system unable to deal with his now fractured psyche. The memoir is hard to follow- dreams and real life blur, and there is no clear sense of time to give the reader an anchor, but the effect is to plunge the reader into Van Winkle's shifting reality. I found this book powerful and moving, but a little incomplete. I would have appreciated more information about Van Winkle's wife Sara and her efforts to live with his PTSD. I also would have liked more information on Van Winkle's backstory to help highlight the changes he has experienced since the war. Nevertheless, this book is an excellent account of one man's struggle to rediscover himself in the aftermath of serving in OIF. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This was a difficult book for me to read, for a variety of reasons. The first was the content itself. Some of the stories made me want to either cry or wince, but at the same time I truly appreciated Van Winkle's honesty. The second reason this was a hard read was the lack of any chronological order in the story. Once I got to the end I was able to grasp the journey the book had led me through, but as I was reading the jumps between war, home, and hallucinations were slightly confusing. On that n This was a difficult book for me to read, for a variety of reasons. The first was the content itself. Some of the stories made me want to either cry or wince, but at the same time I truly appreciated Van Winkle's honesty. The second reason this was a hard read was the lack of any chronological order in the story. Once I got to the end I was able to grasp the journey the book had led me through, but as I was reading the jumps between war, home, and hallucinations were slightly confusing. On that note, however, I thought this memoir was a heartbreakingly honest depiction of what someone goes through when they get home from war. I truly felt for Van Winkle and the horrors he went through, and his memoir has given me an even greater respect for our troops and the service they provide.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    This intense memoir provides insight into the life of a Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. It is an eye-opening read and one that I would recommend for everyone; especially those who have loved ones who served in Iraq. It provides a more realistic view to war than what we are used to, and while some details are grotesque and horrific to imagine, it is refreshing to get the perspective from someone who has known the reality of war and who is willing to talk about it and how it affected him.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Dober

    I loved this book, I read it during a very difficult time. It granted me compassion and understanding as well as a deep desire to some how make a difference with mental health and PTSD, specifically military related. I enjoyed it so much, that I read it to my dad as he lay unconscious in ICU because I knew he would love it. He later recovered and we actually discussed it to tonight as we tried to remember the title. Glad to add this to my read list.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steven yamazaki

    i just started reading it,and so far find it very interesting.really gives great insight on what war takes out of our warriors,and how it takes it's toll on others as well.it's a great read into the look of the cruel,raw realities of war.and how you can come back from war,but the war may not leave you

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sam Herbert

    An extremely frank and honest tale of a US Marine, his experiences of combat in the Iraq war and his struggle to come to terms with his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He describes with such clarity: you feel as if you are right alongside him in every chapter. He holds nothing back. The book contains some unpleasant passages but it is very interesting and kept me wanting more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    shay

    a great book about a iraq war vet's struggling to come to terms with the war and the effects PTSD had on him. very well written and a very real, raw account of what dealing with PTSD is like. highly recommend this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This book was a very quick read. It is sad to know that this happens with a lot of people serving in the military past and present. Wish their was more to the story but still had a top line approach.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Hard to put down memoir of a US soldier home struggling with PTSD. THe story is incredibly engaging, but (spoiler alert) incredibly sad and heartbreaking to know what many of our military deal with once home from war.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Meadows

    I read this because it was bought for my daughter (age 12) and I was concerned with what may be in it. I was right in reading it first. It is not appropriate, mainly for language, and honestly, I only read 124 pages out of the 201.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    A personal and very brave memoir of a soldier's experience in war and afterwards. It is an important contribution to this growing body of literature. It is not a feel good book and does not have a sweet happy ending, but it is an important testament to what so many of our soldiers experience.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Story weaving in and out of delirum from PTSD. Not too much insight into what goes on when someone has PTSD but you can read about PTSD tendencies.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.