War’s Never-Ending Aftermath

Dennis stares out window

In 1970, British documentary film maker, Michael Grigsby made one of the first films to examine the impact of war on American soldiers recently returned from brutal jungle combat in Vietnam. Entitled I Was a Soldier, the film focuses on Dennis, David and Lamar in their attempts to readjust to “normal” life after a year of combat in bloody Vietnam upon returning home in the barren and desolate Texan hill country near … [Read more...]

“Where Soldiers Come From”

(Courtesy of Heather Courtney)

[ A  FILM  REVIEW ] Last Tuesday, September 13th, I was back in one of my old neighborhoods, the Stuyvesant Square area of Manhattan, where I lived when I first moved to New York City in 1972. The neighborhood is contiguous with the sprawling Beth Israel Medical Center, where I was both a client and later worked as an alcoholism counselor in the mid-70s, my first job as a medical professional. It was a nostalgic trip … [Read more...]

Surviving PTSD

The Scream

(Comments opening a Maine Veterans For Peace symposium on PTSD, April 23, 2011) Forty-two years ago today, I arrived at Valley Forge Army hospital, my tour in Vietnam mercifully cut short by the timely affliction of pulmonary tuberculosis.  Having thus survived Vietnam, I have spent the years ever since contending with its aftermath in the form of a wound far more resistant to healing than the disease that once lodged … [Read more...]

The Battle Over PTSD

Ajax square 72

The battle over the meaning of a traumatic experience is fought in the arena of political discourse, popular culture and scholarly debate. The outcome of this battle shapes the rhetoric of the dominant culture and influences future political action. Kali Tal, Worlds Of Hurt: Reading the Literature of Trauma _______________ There’s a major struggle for meaning going on in America now that centers on war trauma … [Read more...]