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After grieving for many years over her husband, a Vietnam veteran who committed suicide due to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, Penny Coleman began researching this disorder and found a network of women who shared her experience. The result is Flashback, a book that historically traces PTSD and war, showing how the military has stigmatized this illness for its own gain, and how many people - soldiers and their families - have felt the brutal effects of war years later, because of PTSD. Flashback offers a chilling lesson as we deal with a new set of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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About the Author

Penny Coleman, the author of "Village Elders," lives with her family in New York City. For more information, visit her website at www.flashbackhome.com.

Reviews

In this tautly argued study of the link between war-induced post-traumatic stress and suicide, Coleman writes, "It is only recently that I have begun to think of myself as a Vietnam War widow." Coleman's first husband, a fellow photographer and Vietnam veteran, killed himself. "He was hurt in ways I couldn't fix," the author writes, solemnly reflecting on the years she spent blaming him, and then herself. Coleman (Village Elders) expresses dismay at the inadequacies of her generation's and the military's attitude toward its traumatized men. Gathering stark personal testimonies from other similarly bereaved wives, mothers and daughters, she chillingly reveals the hidden cost of war. Further, with force and conviction, she shows how the U.S. military has systematically denied and cynically managed the psychic impact of war on its soldiers, from early experiments with postwar rehabilitation to frontal lobotomies. She profiles psychiatrists, setting their research and innovations in the necessarily limiting context of the military's goals. With searing insights, Coleman also discusses the social engineering involved in the Vietnam era draft and its notions, both implicit and explicit, of "disposable" men. This passionately felt book poses more questions than it can answer, but it will surely generate further attention to a sadly timely subject. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"A well-researched and well-documented publication with a uniquely human touch." " A well-researched and well-documented publication with a uniquely human touch." " A tautly argued study . . . Gathering stark testimonies from other similarly bereaved wives, mothers and daughters, Coleman chillingly reveals the hidden cost of war. Further, with force and conviction, she shows how the U.S. military has systematically denied and cynically managed the psychic impact of war on it soldiers . . . [Flashback] will surely generate further attention to a sadly timely subject." & quot; A well-researched and well-documented publication with a uniquely human touch.& quot; & quot; A tautly argued study . . . Gathering stark testimonies from other similarly bereaved wives, mothers and daughters, Coleman chillingly reveals the hidden cost of war. Further, with force and conviction, she shows how the U.S. military has systematically denied and cynically managed the psychic impact of war on it soldiers . . . [Flashback] will surely generate further attention to a sadly timely subject.& quot; "A tautly argued study . . . Gathering stark testimonies from other similarly bereaved wives, mothers and daughters, Coleman chillingly reveals the hidden cost of war. Further, with force and conviction, she shows how the U.S. military has systematically denied and cynically managed the psychic impact of war on it soldiers . . . [Flashback] will surely generate further attention to a sadly timely subject." This book is long overdue and should be mandatory reading for all those who have seen combat, including in Iraq, and for those who love them and live with them.--Margaret Ferguson, national board chair of the Gold Star Wives of America"A tautly argued study...Coleman chillingly reveals the hidden cost of war. Further, with force and conviction, she shows how the U.S. military has systematically denied and cynically managed the psychic impact of war on its soldiers . . . ["Flashback"] will surely generate further attention to a sadly timely subject." --"Publishers Weekly""Well-crafted, insightful...With this book, an important subject is hidden no longer."--Marc Leepson, "The VVA Veteran"""Flashback" is a remarkable combination of painful experience and thoughtful interpretation. The descriptions of suicides of Vietnam veterans by women who loved them, together with a wide-ranging exploration of war and trauma, provide a new and original perspective on Vietnam. Coleman concludes with a moving plea that 'we accept the truth that war itself is an illness that sickens our society as surely and in much the same way as it sickens our citizens and our soldiers.' Few authors have done more to confront that sickness as a step toward cure."--Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, author of "Home from the War""A well-researched and well-documented publication with a uniquely human touch." --"Library Journal", starred review

A Vietnam War widow whose late husband suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eventually committed suicide, Coleman (photojournalism/photography, International Ctr. for Photography & New Jersey City Univ.; Village Elders) wrote this book to remind people that soldiers often face internal conflicts once they return home-many suffer horrible mental breakdowns and become "casualties of war." She interviewed women whose husbands survived battles but succumbed to the effects of war, researched instances of PTSD dating back to the Civil War, and compiled statistical information pertaining to American soldiers serving in the Middle East. The prevalence of PTSD among veterans of the Iraq war and the high suicide rate among military personnel in Iraq are also examined. By sharing women's stories of suicide and loss, Coleman hopes both to provide a means of healing for the present and to issue a warning for the future. Similar to Keith Armstrong's Courage After Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families, this is a well-researched and well-documented publication with a uniquely human touch. An essential part of any public library collection.-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno, NV Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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