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Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and…
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Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Clint Van Winkle

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a very intense look at one Marine's experience dealing with the rigors of combat and then suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. It makes you realize how much soldiers so through and how we need to be supportive. ( )
  Diyl | Apr 10, 2010 |
I couldn't really get into this book and ended up skimming most of it. It read like something the author had written as prescribed therapy to vanquish his demons. If so, I hope it worked for him and wish him all the best. As a coherent narrative it simply didn't work. It was simply too disjointed and confusing to follow, and the quality of the writing was barely workmanlike. I recognize that this technique of jumping back and forth between past and present and real and imagined was probably meant to reflect the confusion and pain in the writer's mind as he battled - and perhaps continues to battle - PTSD, but the writing simply fails to make it all work. ( )
  TimBazzett | Jan 18, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This intense memoir provides insight into the life of a Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. It is an eye-opening read and one that I would recommend for everyone; especially those who have loved ones who served in Iraq. It provides a more realistic view to war than what we are used to, and while some details are grotesque and horrific to imagine, it is refreshing to get the perspective from someone who has known the reality of war and who is willing to talk about it and how it affected him. ( )
  sedelia | Dec 26, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Clint Van Winkle has invited us into his life and into his nightmares. He'll be sitting in a bar sharing "normal" life with us but when the news comes on; the ghosts come out - and not just the dead ones.

The writing flows so smoothly between current events, nightmares and memories that it took awhile to get use to it. One minute we're sitting in the living room drinking a beer and the next paragraph we're sitting in Iraq. It happened that fast for him, it happens that fast for us.

This book taught me to be angry. If a minority of our Vets are treated this way, the whole system needs to be taken out and shot.

"Even the Jade Clinic's waiting room seemed inhospitable and cold. The staff's apathy fit right in with the surroundings and they seemed as if they had been specifically handpicked to dole out subpar service. Disheartening isn't a strong enough word to describe what I felt as I watched my fellow veterans being ignored.*"

He mentions some good people in the system but as a whole it leaves a lot to be desired.

This book also taught me appreciation. I've always thought of the military as a group, almost a single body where the feet are very important but still a single body. Now I know it is individuals. The military is made up of people that have the roughest job ever.

Is there a happy ending? Can there ever be a happy ending for a Marine with PTSD? I cried and I laughed and cried some more. Once the story sucked me in it was finished the next day.

Read it. Think about it. Share with your friends. Thank a Vet.

content warning: very realistic war memories

*pg 86 of the Advance Readers' Edition ( )
  Ms.BookDragon | Sep 17, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Combat veteran Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle has decided in this book to share with us the life of a veteran of a foreign war after he is discharged. This veteran in descriptively describes the horror and adrenaline rush of combat and its aftermath. The author in the language of a marine describes his of wartime experiences. For his first book and considering the subject matter I think the Sergeant has done an excellent job in brining his experiences to life. He explains the truth about the fog of war where it is hard to recall all that took place or what was real or imagined. He ends on an important note for other veterans, that despite his progress in dealing now with his PTSD he understands that he continues needs counseling. This book will help the reader understand a very small part of what a combat veteran has to live with. ( )
  mramos | Jul 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312378939, Hardcover)

A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.

But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.

From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:50 -0400)

Recounts the author's experiences as a Marine sergeant in the Iraq War and his battles with alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder after returning to the United States.

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