Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

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Simon and Schuster, May 11, 2010 - Psychology - 272 pages
4 Reviews
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An original and groundbreaking book that examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer’s Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In this moving, dazzlingly creative book, Dr. Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer’s Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A classic of war literature that has as much relevance as ever in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is a “transcendent literary adventure” (The New York Times) and “clearly one of the most original and most important scholarly works to have emerged from the Vietnam War” (Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - David.Alfred.Sarkies - LibraryThing

This is one of the toughest books that I have read to date and pretty much halfway through the chapter on grief I found that my brain had been reduced to slush. Now, I have never been to war and never ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Netherto - LibraryThing

A fascinating examination of the PTSD that affected the efforts of Homer's Odysseus to return home from the 10-year-long Trojan War, seen through the eyes of veterans of modern American conflicts ... Read full review

Contents

Betrayal of UWhats Right
5
Soldiers rageThe beginning
20
Achilles character before his psychological injuries
28
Combat is a condition of captivity and enslavement
35
Portrait of Patroklos
44
Guilt and Wrongful Substitution
69
B e r s e r k 7 7
77
Dishonoring the Enemy
103
50ldiers Luck and Gods Will
137
Reclaiming the Iliad s Gods as a Metaphor
149
Homeric irony and gods love
160
The official diagnostic criteria for PTSD of the American
166
Healing and Tragedy
183
Conclusion
195
War is not an industrial process
204
N o t e s 2 I 1
233

What Homer Left Out
121

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About the author (2010)

Jonathan Shay is a Boston-area psychiatrist whose patients are Vietnam combat veterans with severe, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. He is also on the faculty of Tufts Medical School. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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