MacArthur Genius Award winner Dr. Jonathan Shay will speak on Homer’s Epics and the Modern Soldier on Thursday, May 29 at 7:30 pm. The program will focus on some of the daunting issues, particularly PTSD, that face modern soldiers as they re-enter civilian society. Dr. Shay is the author of numerous works including his ground breaking books Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002) with a foreword by U. S. Senators John McCain and Max Cleland. Through his extensive work with combat veterans at the V. A. in Boston and his ongoing relationship with the U. S. Military, Dr. Shay is able to delve profoundly into the emotional dilemmas of modern soldiers through the lens of his Homeric commentaries as he illuminates the connections between Homer’s epics and today’s returning combat soldiers. The talk will be followed by a book signing with books provided by New England Mobile Book Fair.
A Newton resident, Dr. Shay has lectured at the Pentagon, appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, had several documentaries made on his work and was an invited advisor to Secretary of the Army on unit stabilization in 2003. In speaking of his work Dr. Shay says, “I have the mentality of a missionary from the veterans I serve—they don’t want other young kids wrecked the way they were wrecked.” (NewtonFreeLibrary)