Thank You For Your Service

To mark Remembrance Day in Canada I have been reading Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel.  Although it is based on the author’s observations of a U.S. battalion that served in Iraq, these touching experiences could easily be those of Canadians serving in any conflict.  This edition included a foreword by General Romeo Dallaire and an introduction by Carol Off (a CBC journalist who wrote a great book about Canadian combat in the Medac Pocket during the Balkan Civil War), which really underlies the relevance for Canadian readers.
It begins with the heartbreaking story of Adam Schumann, who was diagnosed with PTSD and discharged from the army. After falling asleep while holding his daughter, he dropped the newborn.  While any parent would feel guilty, the overwhelming guilt that PTSD sufferers feel caused him to grab a shotgun and jump in his truck, with the intention of taking his own life.
This book contains many such stories.  It also, however, focuses on how their families suffer;  previously loving husbands come home and beat their wives, women who leave their husbands because they are afraid of what they’ll do.
This was a stark, eye-opening book, which I will think about whenever I hear news stories about funding cuts to Veteran’s Affairs and the military mindset that PTSD  is an excuse for cowardly men.  An emotional, well written book that I will recommend to many customers.
Melissa
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1 Comment

Filed under Books, Non-Fiction, Review

One response to “Thank You For Your Service

  1. Doug Gardham

    Hi Christie;

    I liked your review and the book is on my list. I read David Finkel’s last book The Good Soldiers.

    You captured in your review something I came away with from The Good Soldiers and that is the “trauma” a soldier experiences returning to society. It seems to me (btw I am in no way an expert in this field) that for one human to kill another, something is disconnected in the brain/soul. Whether a person is born with this disconnect or the disconnect is the result of some sort of tragic life experience, the disconnect is present. In a soldier’s casein war, they are in situations that require them to kill other humans. The disconnect, however, is not present in their brains/souls. Hence, assimilation back into “normal” society is forever challenging, with the unexpected destructive behaviours we hear about that are so difficult to overcome. Without the disconnect in their brains/souls, acceptance of the brutal actions required of the soldier “who sees action” is a never-ending battle the soldier must fight within themselves for the rest of their lives.

    Again, thanks for bringing attention to this book.

    Take care. Doug Gardham

    From: bibliophiliacs Reply-To: bibliophiliacs Date: Friday, 15 November, 2013 12:06 PM To: Doug Gardham Subject: [New post] Thank You For Your Service

    WordPress.com bibliophiliacs posted: ” To mark Remembrance Day in Canada I have been reading Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel. Although it is based on the author’s observations of a U.S. battalion that served in Iraq, these touching experiences could easily be those of Canadians s”

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