Synopses & Reviews
Although the shell-shocked British soldier of World War I has been a favored subject in both fiction and nonfiction, focus has been on the stories of officers, and the history of the rank-and-file servicemen who were psychiatric casualties has never been told. This profoundly moving book recounts the poignant, sometimes ribald histories of this neglected group for the first time.
Peter Barham draws on reports from the front lines, case histories, personal letters, and war pensions files to trace the lives and fortunes of a large cast of ex-servicemen who suffered mental breakdowns. He describes their confinements to asylums, the reactions of families to their relativesand#8217; plight, the turmoil of the soldiers when they returned homeand#151;and the uphill struggle they faced trying to secure justice from the bureaucratic labyrinth that was the Ministry of Pensions. His book gives a new perspective to the impact of the Great War and to current controversies about disputed postwar maladies.
Touching, ribald and profoundly moving, this book recounts the histories of the ordinary British servicemen who suffered as psychiatric casualties of World War I. Focusing on their experiences - rather than those of their officers - it provides a new and personal perspective on the impact of the Great War. 'A poignant reminder of the ordinary servicemen who sacrificed their sanity in fighting for their country' Mark Bostridge, 'The Independent on Sunday' 'No historian could have brought to this subject the power and passion which Peter Barham sustains' Ben Shephard, 'Times Literary Supplement' 'Fascinating, eloquent and well-researched ... a book that should be widely read and discussed' Adam Phillips, 'London Review of Books' Peter Barham is a social historian of mental health and a psychologist. Currently a Research Associate at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford, he is also an established author.
About the Author
Peter Barham is a psychologist and social historian of mental health. He has published widely on mental health issues.