There are now so many wonderful books being written by our returning soldiers. I’ve decided to share this book review I wrote (which is posted on amazon.com) after reading Jeremiah Workman’s searing memoir. I often wonder where such author’s gain the strength and insight to be able to revisit their trauma and share it with the reading public. I’m just glad that they do.
Shadow of the Sword: A Marine’s Journey of War, Heroism,and Redemption by Jeremiah Workman and John Buhning
——Intimate, Courageous Look into the Hell of War, Its Aftermath and Learning to Live with PTSD
Jeremiah Workman is not only one admirable Marine, but he’s also a tremendous human being. He has written an absolutely awesome book. Not only is the writing crisp and unflinching, the story behind it is riveting and gut-wrenching. What we ask of our soldiers!
I found this book to be among the very best that show the mental and emotional devastation that enduring fierce combat brings upon a soldier. Workman describes the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that he now lives with, (for those of us who remember vinyl records) as like a groove in a record which gets stuck, and plays the same note over and over again. Once the groove is there, it cannot be removed.
Workman shows the reader, in gory detail, what his life as a Marine has been like, from training at Parris Island, to his mind-blowing tour in Iraq, especially the battle in Fallujah that claimed so many of his buddies, and left him with severe survivor guilt. He shows us what it was like for him, as he became a drill instructor back again at Parris Island, and his PTSD shifted into high gear.
I learned so many things from reading this book. Like what the life of a drill instructor is like, and the fact that they have one of the highest divorce rates in the Marine Corps. And that the VA had only planned for 8,000 cases of PTSD, and there will be well over more than 700,000 thousand cases of it by the time the war ends.
Only now we’re also sending more troops to Afghanistan. There is truly no end in sight. What a wave of anguish is washing over our country. And yet denial continues. It continues in the American public.
And for so many reasons, it continues in our soldiers themselves, until the pain grows so severe, the problem can no longer be denied. Even then, not all of those needing help seek it from the VA. And who pays the price along with our soldiers? It’s the spouses, children and other family members.
This book has astounded me with its brutal candor. What guts this American hero and recipient of the Navy Cross, displays as he bares his soul to us. Parts of this book made me weep. I will never forget this young American soldier, or the price he and his family have paid for our freedom. May he and his loved ones, somehow find the peace they have truly earned.
Workman tells us that by joining the Vets for Freedom Heroes tour in 2008 and speaking about his experiences, he has started the healing process. In sharing, he continues to serve our country, holding up a mirror to us.
Every American should read this book, so that each citizen will be more understanding and compassionate toward our returning combat veterans. And also understand that we owe them and must provide, all the help they need. And that we will begin to truly realize that the aftereffects of war can be just as consequential, as the initial battles.
I applaud Jeremiah Workman and his family for all they have given up for us, and for the fact that he is determined to make the most of his life, in spite of PTSD. I wish them all the best.
I pray that his story goes a long way in eradicating the shame that stills accompanies those afflicted with PTSD, especially our soldiers. He has shone a hopeful light on this deadly serious subject. Very, very, highly recommended reading!!