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This memoir of combat in Iraq, and the post-traumatic stress disorder that followed, contains more literary touches than most, and its an admirable effort. Marine sergeant Van Winkle (who earned an M.A. in creative writing after returning from Iraq) emphasizes that every marines desire was not to spread freedom but to come home alive, and while the book describes some firefights, there are even more incidents of Van Winkle and his comrades blazing away at vehicles or distant figures only to discover they had killed civilians. After discharge, fearful memories and violent rages drove him to seek help from a surprisingly unhelpful V.A., but the passage of time, a few sympathetic therapists and a loving wife set him right. The text jumps back and forth between Van Winkles war experiences and postwar life, when marines from his unit, some dead, reappear to badger him. Most readers will forgive this exercise in creative writing techniques because it presents a vivid picture of what many vets endure.(Mar.)
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ISBN-10:  0312378939
ISBN-13:  978-0312378936
Author:  Clint Van Winkle
Genre:  Health, Mind & Body
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
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review by . May 11, 2009
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. …
review by . March 01, 2009
My wife Kathy is a counselor with specialized training in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and she did her internship at a local veteran's center. As the significant other, I have been exposed to a great deal of pillow talk about the problems of veterans in general and those with PTSD in particular. I also accompanied Kathy to a daylong seminar where the topic was PTSD in war veterans. While all cases are of course different, there are many similarities in their cases.   Van Winkle …
Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post
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