Synopses & Reviews
In this ambitious follow-up to Achilles in Vietnam,
Dr. Jonathan Shay uses the Odyssey,
the story of a soldier's homecoming, to illuminate the pitfalls that trap many veterans on the road back to civilian life.
Seamlessly combining important psychological work and brilliant literary interpretation with an impassioned plea to renovate American military institutions, Shay deepens our understanding of both the combat veteran's experience and one of the world's greatest classics.
Richard Rhodes Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Why they Kill and The Making of the Atomic Bomb A brilliant successor to Shay's groundbreaking Achilles in Vietnam.
Library Journal [A] fresh take on a literary classic.
Thomas E. Ricks Defense correspondent, The Washington Post Should be read by anyone interested in the effects of combat on troops or in the meaning of Homer's works -- and by everyone who wants to better understand today's United States.
Asa Baber Vietnam-era marine veteran and the Men columnist for Playboy One hell of a book. It is well written, honest, healing, and aimed at all of us who have trouble handling the stress of our crazy world.
Gregory Nagy Professor of classical Greek literature, Harvard University A true American Odyssey.
Steven Pressfield Author of Gates of Fire and Last of the Amazons Jonathan Shay plumbs the Odysseus myth for healing, working the real-life agonies of his own clients at the V.A. in Boston into the wisdom left to us by Homer. An important book.
Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor USMC, retired, Marine Corps Gazette Groundbreaking work in understanding, preventing, and treating mental injuries....Leaders at all levels would profit from a journey with both Achilles and Odysseus. Homer and Jonathan Shay are excellent tour guides.
The author of Achilles in Vietnam explores the problems faced by combat veterans when they re-enter American life, using Homer's Odyssey as an allegorical template and advocating changes in American military practice that could help prevent psychological and moral injury to military personnel. Reprint. 10,000 first printing.
About the Author
Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D., is a staff psychiatrist in the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston. His patients are Vietnam combat veterans with severe, chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Visiting scholar-at-large at the U.S. Naval War College in 2001, Dr. Shay speaks frequently at the invitation of U.S. military services, universities, and colleges. He lives in the Boston area.
Table of Contents
2. Odysseus Among the Rich Civilians
3. Pirate Raid: Staying in Combat Mode
4. Lotus Land: The Flight from Pain
5. Cyclops: The Flight from Boredom
"AND KNOW NOT ME" -- LOSS OF IDENTITY AND BOASTING
6. Odysseus Gets a Leg Up -- and Falls on His Face: The Workplace
7. A Peaceful Harbor: No Safe Place
8. Witches, Goddesses, Queens, Wives -- Dangerous Women
9. Among the Dead: Memory and Guilt
THE DEAD (TRY TO) REPROACH THE LIVING
"I WON'T FORGET A THING" -- KEEPING FAITH
ANYONE CLOSE WILL BE HARMED
10. What Was the Sirens' Song?: Truth As Deadly Addiction
THE LANGUAGE OF TIMES THAT MAKE A WORLD
MEMORY UNCONNECTED TO COMMUNITY
TOTAL CERTAINTY IS JUST AS DAMAGING
11. Scylla and Charybdis: Dangers Up, Down, and Sideways
12. The Sun God's Beef: The Blame Game
WHY ODYSSEUS' ADVENTURES ARE AN IRONIC ALLEGORY
13. Above the Whirlpool
GUILT AND GOOD CHARACTER
14. Calypso: Odysseus the Sexaholic
15. Odysseus at Home
LIES, TESTS, DISGUISES
SLAUGHTER OF THE INFAMOUS SUITORS
COLDNESS AND CRUELTY TO NEAREST AND DEAREST
TRAUMA AND ODYSSEUS' CHARACTER
HE LEAVES -- AGAIN!
AVERSION TO RETURNING VETERANS IS AN OLD STORY
DAMAGE TO CHARACTER -- INJURED THUMOS
ARISTOTLE AGAIN -- HUMAN IS POLITIKON ZOON
17. From the Clinic to the Wall
STAGES OF RECOVERY
A TRIP TO THE WALL WITH VIP
18. Lew Puller Ain't on the Wall
20. Preventing Psychological and Moral Injury in Military Service
COHESION -- THE HUMAN ELEMENT IN COMBAT
Why Does Cohesion Matter?
Cohesion, from the Point of View of Ethics...
Unit Associations -- A Neglected Resource
Training, From the Point of View of Ethics...
Leadership, from the Point of View of Ethics...
21. Odysseus As a Military Leader
THE TROJAN HORSE
SUMMARY OF THE CHARGES AGAINST CAPTAIN ODYSSEUS
ACHILLES, ODYSSEUS, AND AGAMEMNON
THE CIRCLE OF COMMUNALIZATION OF TRAUMA
PURIFICATION AFTER BATTLE
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "BE HOME"?
TRAUMA STUDIES AND OTHER FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE
A NEW ABOLITIONISM
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
Appendix I: A Pocket Guide to Homer's Odyssey
PART ONE (BOOKS 1-4): A HOME WITHOUT HUSBAND OR FATHER
PART TWO (BOOKS 5-8): ODYSSEUS STARTS THE LAST LAP FOR HOME
PART THREE (BOOKS 9-12): ODYSSEUS TELLS HIS ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
PART FOUR (BOOKS 13-16): FATHER AND SON RETURN TO ITHACA AND ARE REUNITED
PART FIVE: (BOOKS 17-20): STRANGER AT HOME
PART SIX (BOOKS 21-24): VETERAN TRIUMPHANT
Appendix II: Information Resources for Vietnam Veterans and Their Families
Appendix III: Some Proposals
OBSOLETE ASSUMPTIONS BUILT INTO THE CURRENT MILITARY PERSONNEL SYSTEM
SOME SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS
HOW WE GET THERE FROM HERE