Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Dark Side of Post-WWII America

Soldier from the War Returning: The Greatest Generation’s Troubled Homecoming from World War II by Thomas Childers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009, 340pp.)

Although PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is normally attributed to veterans of the Vietnam War, this is a false assumption. Childers entwines the stories of three American GIs and their families—including his own—in this grim portrait of the Greatest Generation’s return from World War II. The violence of battle inflicted both physical and psychological wounds, leaving many veterans to struggle with PTSD, nightmares, and survivor’s guilt, while their bewildered wives found that the men they welcomed home were irrevocably changed from the men they had married. This account of PTSD, broken families and stormy marriages is dark and depressing, but informative and well worth the read.

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