Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War

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Overview


How do combat veterans and their loved ones bridge the divide that war, by its very nature, creates between them? How does someone who has fought in a war come home, especially after a tour of duty marked by near-daily mortar attacks, enemy fire, and roadside bombs? With a journalist’s eye and a mother’s warmth, Sue Diaz asks these questions as she chronicles the two deployments to Iraq of her son, Sgt. Roman Diaz, from the perspective of the home front. Sergeant Diaz’s second deployment put him south of Baghdad...
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Minefields of the Heart: A Mother's Stories of a Son at War

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Overview


How do combat veterans and their loved ones bridge the divide that war, by its very nature, creates between them? How does someone who has fought in a war come home, especially after a tour of duty marked by near-daily mortar attacks, enemy fire, and roadside bombs? With a journalist’s eye and a mother’s warmth, Sue Diaz asks these questions as she chronicles the two deployments to Iraq of her son, Sgt. Roman Diaz, from the perspective of the home front. Sergeant Diaz’s second deployment put him south of Baghdad in the region aptly termed the Triangle of Death. There his platoon experienced extraordinarily heavy casualties during the height of the Iraqi insurgency. That unit has since become the focus of considerable media attention following events that made headlines in the summer of 2006: an insurgent attack at a remote outpost on three of their own—one killed at the scene, the other two kidnapped, their bodies found days later; and a terrible war crime committed against an Iraqi family by four soldiers from First Platoon. Minefields of the Heart adds a very personal dimension to the larger story of this Bravo Company platoon from the 101st Airborne’s 502nd Infantry Regiment, a unit known since World War II as the “Black Heart Brigade.” Diaz recounts the emotional rollercoaster her family and other soldiers’ families experience during and after deployment. She explores this terrain not only through stories of her son’s and family’s experiences connected to the Iraq War, but also by insights she’s gained from other veterans’ accounts—from what she calls “the box” that soldiers returning from any war carry within. This added layer gives her narrative broader meaning, bringing home the impact of war in general on those who fight and on those who love them. Minefields of the Heart is a story of innocence lost, understanding gained, and hope reaffirmed. In addition to veterans and their families, this book will appeal to anyone who wants to understand war’s impact on individuals as well as on the fabric of our society.
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Editorial Reviews

North County Times

“San Diego author Sue Diaz’s gentle voice rises above the fray and begs our attention—not with glennbeckian outrage, not with self-righteous bombast, not with armchair general postulating, but with the tender and sorrowfully sane tale she tells. [The book] is wondrous and eloquent in its intimacy, in its simplicity, in the unquestionable stories of a mother and a son entwined in a war that will be debated for generations.”—North County Times
Christian Science Monitor

“[An] absorbing and intimate memoir…unblinkingly determined to dig deep, to ask big questions and move toward the answers. Diaz’s emotional honesty is matched by her stellar writing: her prose is polished and, at times, achieves a quiet, soaring lyricism.”—Christian Science Monitor
Bret A. Moore

Minefields of the Heart is an honest, thoughtful, and heart-warming account of a mother’s love for her son and the many great veterans like him. Sue Diaz takes the reader through a personal account of the emotional burden so many shoulder while loved ones serve in harm’s way. Her understanding of the struggles of veterans and their families after deployment is genuine, accurate, heart wrenching, and healing. This book spoke to me as a psychologist, father, husband, and veteran.”—Bret A. Moore, author of Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life after Deployment and Kevlar for the Mind, www.militarypsych.com
Pat Schneider

“This is a book to break your heart, and to heal it. Diaz writes to and for her son, to and for the veterans she leads in writing workshops. The larger gift of this book is its generosity, allowing the reader to take the journey of a mother whose son carries the wounds of two deployments to Iraq. Minefields of the Heart teaches us what we might rather not know, but knowing, we are deeper and better human beings.”—Pat Schneider, founder, Amherst Writers & Artists, and author of Writing Alone and with Others
William P. Mahedy

Minefields of the Heart is a brilliant, beautiful, and compelling book. Sue Diaz writes as the mother of one soldier and the daughter of another. She traces her son’s transition from a boy to a combat-wounded veteran of two tours in Iraq. She lets him speak for himself through emails, letters and conversation, all the while growing in her understanding of him and of war. She weaves together her family’s history with the larger events through which they have passed. Though intended specifically ‘for all who have served and those who love them,’ the book should be read by any American who wants to understand what war really does to those who endure and to their families. As a bonus, the book is a real page-turner. You can’t put it down until you finish it.”—William P. Mahedy, author of Out of the Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets
Sharon Bray

“Harrowing, hopeful, and beautifully written. Ernie Pyle meets Anne Lamott.”—Sharon Bray, author of When Words Heal: Writing Through Cancer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612346533
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2013
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Diaz is an award-winning journalist who writes frequently for the Christian Science Monitor and contributes to National Public Radio. Since 2007 she has conducted writing workshops for veterans at the San Diego Vet Center. At her web site, www.warriorswall.com, Diaz provides a place for veterans from across the country to write and share their stories. She lives in San Diego, California.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Foreword Jim Frederick Frederick, Jim

Introduction

Part One The Road To War

Lifting the Lid 2

Romans Choice 6

Soldier from Suburbia 10

Basic Training, Fort Benning, Georgia 12

Infantryman's Creed 15

To Basic Training and Beyond---with SpongeBob 16

War 22

Not a Video Game 25

Marching Toward Baghdad 27

Seven Ducklings 29

Answering the Call 31

Both Sides Now 33

Brothers in Arms 35

Dad's D-Day Diary 37

Grocery Shopping with Lucinda 39

A Rare Snail-Mail Letter from Roman 41

The SpongeBob Letters I 43

Baghdad Christmas 45

A Holiday Tradition 47

A Taste of Home 49

The SpongeBob Letters II 50

Weapons of Mass Illusion 52

The Family on the Beach 54

Not So Fast 56

The SpongeBob Letters III 59

Sergeant Horton's Marlboros 60

Part Two At Home And Between Deployments

Coming Home 64

A Separate Peace 66

The SpongeBob Letters IV 68

Christmas Card, 2004 69

A New Assignment, Another Trip Home 70

Moments to Remember 73

Coming Home Once More to Say Good-bye Again 75

Target Practice 78

Once More to the Lake 80

Walking the Walk 84

Hurricane Katrina 86

Sarge 88

The SpongeBob Letters V 90

Part Three The Hell Of War

Letters 94

A Letter from Home Roman Nearly Never Read 97

Doorbell Moment 98

Christmas Card, 2005 99

A Christmas Apart 100

Encounter with an IED 102

A Soldier's Silence 104

War as It Happens 107

Up in Smoke 109

Making a Difference 111

Moonlight and Mizunos 113

From Bad to Worse 115

Attack at Yusufiyah 117

Fallen Eagles 119

Lucinda, Keeping It Real 124

Operation Brain Surgery 125

To Baghdad via Books and Berkeley 127

The Innocent Days 132

Part Four The Journey Home Begins

The Soldiers Return 136

The Road Home 138

Guernica Revisited 140

The Notebooks 143

Epilogue 147

Afterword: On Reading Black Hearts 153

Notes 157

Bibliography 161

About the Author 162

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    I'm not drawn to soldier stories. However, as I was asked to pan

    I'm not drawn to soldier stories. However, as I was asked to panel a discussion of this Silicon Valley Reads choice, I searched out this book. Sue Diaz is a journalist and Mother, and she received a Nobel prize for her musings/concerns/prayers while her son was stationed in Iraq (The "Triangle of Death" where 20% of soldiers did not return.) The book represents a compilation of these articles. The book also represents the struggle of every Mother trying to let go of her child, but never really accomplishing that Herculean task. While I do not have a child in the services, I found that with each turn of the page, I was nodding, smiling, crying. It's a lovely book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

    highly recommended

    what a touching book expecially for me because my son is now deployed to Iraq - could see my own son in the same situations

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It Touches All of Us

    Minefields of the Heart is a beautifully written, very important book. Sue Diaz has expressed what so many families of combat soldiers experience, and she has given the rest of us greater insight into what war really means. Moreover, the book is a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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