Out of the recent flood of fiction and nonfiction works on Vietnam, Healing from the War stands apart, for it alone offers...

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HEALING FROM THE WAR: Trauma and Transformation After Vietnam

Out of the recent flood of fiction and nonfiction works on Vietnam, Healing from the War stands apart, for it alone offers advice on promoting revival from within for those who came home feeling ""alone and in need of repair."" Unlike the tense immediacy of Michael Herr's Dispatches or Frances Fitzgerald's Fire in the Lake, Egendorf's recounting of his personal catharsis is a curiously unmoving, uninvolving one. A former Army officer and now a psychologist involved with various veterans groups, Egendorf offers scenarios in the apparent hope that readers will find emotional substance where none seems readily at hand. We learn so little about the author that his recounting of the end of a relationship with a friend because of cocktail banter about the war, or of his throwing a shoe at a TV image of Richard Nixon seems to have no motive. But what redeems Healing are its ideas and invitations (not only for veterans but for all Americans) to emerge from mourning and start the process of healing. The author draws on diverse sources and philosophies to show that ""we empower ourselves by making choices"" and by not entombing ourselves in the past. Among the models: Nikos Kazantzskis, striving and challenging with his modern Odysseus; Carlos Castenada's Don Juan as warrior-priest; Mohandas Ghandhi as the archetype of a warrior with a devotion to a cause beyond war. In sum, an ineloquent, muted but caring plea.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1985

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1985