Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
For many of the 1.6 million U.S. service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the trip home is only the beginning of a longer journey. Many undergo an awkward period of readjustment to civilian life after long deployments. Some veterans may find themselves drinking too much, unable to sleep or waking from unspeakable dreams, lashing out at friends and loved ones. Over time, some will struggle so profoundly that they eventually are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD).
Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Fields of Combat tells the story of how American veterans and their families navigate the return home. Following a group of veterans and their their personal stories of war, trauma, and recovery, Erin P. Finley illustrates the devastating impact PTSD can have on veterans and their families. Finley sensitively explores issues of substance abuse, failed relationships, domestic violence, and even suicide and also challenges popular ideas of PTSD as incurable and permanently debilitating.
Drawing on rich, often searing ethnographic material, Finley examines the cultural, political, and historical influences that shape individual experiences of PTSD and how its sufferers are perceived by the military, medical personnel, and society at large. Despite widespread media coverage and public controversy over the military's response to wounded and traumatized service members, debate continues over how best to provide treatment and compensation for service-related disabilities. Meanwhile, new and highly effective treatments are revolutionizing how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides trauma care, redefining the way PTSD itself is understood in the process. Carefully and compassionately untangling each of these conflicts, Fields of Combat reveals the very real implications they have for veterans living with PTSD and offers recommendations to improve how we care for this vulnerable but resilient population.
About the Author
Erin P. Finley is a medical anthropologist and Investigator at the Veterans Evidence-Based Research Dissemination and Implementation Center (VERDICT), Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations xi
List of Characters xiii
1 Fourth of July: A Tradition of Service in San Antonio 12
2 War Stories: Case Studies of Combat Deployment 22
3 Home Again: Early Experiences of Post-Deployment Stress 51
4 Of Men and Messages: How Everyday Cultural Influences Affect Living with PTSD 73
5 Clinical Histories: From Soldier's Heart to PTSD 89
6 Under Pressure: Military Socialization and Stigma 99
7 Embattled: The Politics of PTSD in VA Mental Health Care 113
8 Navigation: Identity and Social Relations in Treatment Seeking and Recovery 135