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Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

Thank You for Your Service

by David Finkel

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book. It made me cry a little but it was worth it.

I have known people with PTSD and let me just tell you from my experience that it can be a vague term with varying effects by individual. Some people report that tours in Iraq or Afhanistan have changed people in some ways, causing them to be stoic, angry, or pessimistic... But that is part of a loaded question and isn't always easily answered. Unlike some of the other wars Americans fought in, the recent middle eastern wars on terror differ in that they are often described as wars of confusion- with no clear enemies, heroes, or goals. Morale, justification, and clear goals that hold meaning are an essential part of sacrifice and fighting for a cause. Once that dissolves, it can cause a lot of inner turmoil.

This book is a documentary story, brought to you by David Finkel who followed real service men around and got their live action drama. Once the bomb blasts were left behind, the invisible wounds of stress, undiscovered injury, heartbreak, confusion, and loss were what was left in their peripherals- faced with families who may have broken down, grown apart, or dissolved from time apart, stresses of long distance relationships, loneliness,financial problems, or worry. The soldiers were faced with their wives again who just wanted the man they married to show up one day- same as they had been, and ready to assume responsibilities, get good jobs, and be fully functioning men of bravado. It was understandable at first, even if that returning soldier had to get used to ordinary life again, but for it to be a life long change in a matter as crucial as who they are on the inside, forever? Because they were faced with death on a daily basis...Because they saw their brothers die horrible deaths...Because they wanted to be on top of their game all the time and sometimes just weren't perfect enough to be a superhero every second of every day and felt like failures because of situations out of their control... It's easy to say 'get over it', 'deal with it', or 'go to therapy'. But not everything can be fixed so easily. Sometimes it takes more time, more understanding, and less adversity. Sometimes being supportive by not asking so many questions or by not expecting so much so soon can make a world of difference.

This docu-drama took me out of the self-help section flipping through books about ""The symptoms of PTSD and how to cope' to a realistic look at the daily thoughts and emotions of these soldiers and how it's almost impossible for someone looking in from the outside to really 'get it'. And that's what I learned. It made me cry to imagine being in some of the scenarios and how I would've felt so far away from home in a battlefield beyond what I personally have ever experienced here on American soil. I recommend this to those who know someone who served, because unlike movies about war and soldier life, this book is not meant just for entertainment but for a peek into the real non-glamorous lives of returning service members. It shows some of the struggles faced by those returning and by their families such as difficulty in finding a job, dealing with veterans' hospitals, antidepressants, suicide, etc. It opened my eyes and I feel like a more understanding, and most of all thankful and appreciative person for having read this. So, thank you to those who helped in the creation of it and hopefully more nonfiction in this vein will become popular in the future. ( )
  jasmataz | Sep 11, 2015 |
So powerful. Just like his other book. Really gets us in to know the people and the pain they are going through. Still cannot believe what these people go through. As well as what soldiers from prior wars must have suffered through with even less support. ( )
  bermandog | Aug 14, 2015 |
Heart-wrenching to read. This author spent time with several vets (and their families) from the recent Middle East wars chronicling their adjustment (or not) back into society after returning home from war.. This book is so helpful because it gives the public a realistic picture of what male and female vets have experienced in war and how they're dealing with their return to life here. I'll never again glibly say, "Thank you for your service" to a vet. ( )
  Suzieqkc | Dec 8, 2014 |
Thank You For Your Service is about veterans, PTSD, TBI, grieving, family interactions, treatment, red tape and lots of suicide and the attempts to stop it. Written by David Finkel, a journalist who was imbedded with troops in Iraq, it contains the personal stories of veterans and their spouses and also looks the officials trying to deal with the crisis. 5 stars from me, I can't recommend it highly enough. ( )
1 vote Citizenjoyce | Jul 10, 2014 |
David Finkel is a reporter who has no detachment from his subject matter; he was one of the journalists who was allowed to be embedded with an infantry battalion in Iraq, and wrote his first book about that experience. For this book he maintains that same intimacy with his subjects, as he writes about many of those same soldiers, who have now returned home, but have not left the wars behind, even though back on U.S. soil. These men and their families try to resume their lives, but struggle with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, suicide, and numerous physical injuries.
Finkel intersperses stories about individual veterans and their families with reports on the military's attempts to understand the disturbing increase in suicides by today's returning soldiers, and to try to develop strategies for identifying those who are most at risk.
This was not an easy book to read, nor could it have been an easy book to write, but I thank this author for bringing these war veterans and their families to the attention of us all. ( )
  jhoaglin | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is a heartbreaking book powered by the candor with which these veterans and their families have told their stories, the intimate access they have given Mr. Finkel (an editor and writer for The Washington Post) into their daily lives, and their own eloquence in speaking about their experiences. The book leaves the reader wondering why the Veterans Affairs Department cannot provide better, more accessible care for wounded warriors. And why soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder — which Mr. Finkel says studies show afflicts 20 to 30 percent of the two million Americans who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — must often wade through so much paperwork and bureaucracy to obtain meaningful treatment.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374180660, Hardcover)

From a MacArthur Fellow and the author of The Good Soldiers, a profound look at life after war

No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, his bestselling account from the front lines of Baghdad, Finkel shadowed the men of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion as they carried out the infamous surge, a grueling fifteen-month tour that changed all of them forever. Now Finkel has followed many of those same men as they’ve returned home and struggled to reintegrate—both into their family lives and into American society at large.
     In the ironically named Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it possible, or even reasonable, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who are soldiers expected to turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.
     More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding—shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the chilling realities of war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:13 -0400)

"Finkel, a journalist, follows the soldiers who serve in the Iraq War as they struggle to reintegrate into American society"--

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