Saturday, August 03, 2013

Return to Viet Nam: One Veteran’s Journey of Healing

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a wonderful travel writer, Linda Myers for several years.  When our paths crossed recently we talked about our different writing projects and she made me aware of a book she recently completed with her husband Art.  I always want to read (or try to read) the books of people I know so I asked her to make a copy available for me.  In a couple of weeks, a signed copy was hand delivered in exchange for a small picture of Andrew Jackson.
The book itself is exactly what the title promises:  The journey of healing for a Vietnam Veteran.  The veteran in this case is her husband Art who talks about his one official day of combat and how it has impacted every day of his life to this present day.  The telling of this story is gripping for a number of reasons.
return[1] The story is told in several voices.  Linda narrates the journey and allows other voices to slip in and support her accounting of what happened.  Linda’s chops as a writer who is experienced with telling travel stories shows. And because of this, the book is a fascinating and quick read.

Linda and Art returned to Vietnam with historian Dr. Steven Leibo and Dr. Ed Tick, a specialist in PTSD.

If you’re wanting to read about the horrors of war you may be disappointed.  Though there are descriptions of battle, this doesn’t read like a documentary on the History Channel’s greatest battles of Vietnam. 
Instead this book tells the real horrors of war that live on for years long after the bullets have stopped flying.  The real horrors of war are less sexy.  There are no medals, no tales of bravery, no giving one’s all for freedom and definitely no flag waving.  Instead this book talks about unexplainable anxiety, alcoholism, destroyed relationships, and feelings of hopelessness that come with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you know a hurting Veteran, I really want you to buy this book.  This is far more than a recommendation of a friend’s writing.  You may know a veteran (Vietnam or more recent) that has had a difficult time dealing with what happened while they were deployed.  This book may be a realization that there is hope beyond the meager resources of the local VA Hospital. 

I’m not sure those we elect to be in power will ever stop sending our young men and women into war, but it’s about time we realize that, for many, the war continues long after the so-called peace is declared.

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