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Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character Paperback – Oct 1 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Strong Is the New Pretty

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (Oct. 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684813211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684813219
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Amazon

Shay works from an intriguing premise: that the study of the great Homeric epic of war, The Iliad, can illuminate our understanding of Vietnam, and vice versa. Along the way, he compares the battlefield experiences of men like Agamemnon and Patroclus with those of frontline grunts, analyzes the berserker rage that overcame Achilles and so many American soldiers alike, and considers the ways in which societies ancient and modern have accounted for and dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder---a malady only recently recognized in the medical literature, but well attested in Homer's pages. The novelist Tim O'Brien, who has written so affectingly about his experiences in combat, calls Shay's book "one of the most original and most important scholarly works to have emerged from the Vietnam war." He's right.


Thomas E. Neven Marine Corps Gazette Shay's astute analysis of the human psyche and his inventive linking of his patients' symptoms to the actions of the characters in Homer's classic story make this book well worth reading for anyone who would lead troops in both peace and war.

Jon Spayde The Utne Reader ...eloquent, disturbing, and original...

Herbert Mitgang The New York Times A transcendent literary adventure. His compassionate book deserves a place in the lasting literature of the Vietnam War.

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