A valuable work for anyone interested in gaining insight into the inner lives of troubled veterans.

Ghost in the Ranks


A doctor who treats Canadian armed forces veterans with PTSD explores the causes and consequences of this devastating condition.

Ever since Dr. John Whelan (Going Crazy in the Green Machine, 2014) started working with veterans, he has felt that he had a duty “to ensure that the voices of those men and women wounded by their service are heard and not forgotten.” He does not fail in that mission in his new book—part medical report on the emotions that trigger PTSD, part journalistic investigation into the lives of soldiers who have returned home from war zones—which creates a bridge between suffering veterans and the people who want to understand and help them recover. In this volume, readers hear episodic tales from veterans with diverse experiences: from those who felt “intensely angry about their service” and others who struggled to integrate themselves “into a world with vague structure and unclear directions.” Whelan, a Royal Canadian Navy veteran, treats his subjects with the utmost respect and care, taking the time to explain to readers inexperienced in this field that “it is this stoicism and adherence to an outdated version of prideful masculinity that may be contributing to the problems of emotional exhaustion and mental health declines including the phenomenon of chronic PTSD.” Whelan sees the humanity of the veterans he tries to help, and his striking analysis of life in the armed forces—for instance, his explanation of how soldiers often feel more connected to their military family than their biological clan and therefore feel abandoned after leaving the service—shows readers that these warriors have complex emotions and that the best thing the public can do to honor them is to listen to their personal accounts. In this important and necessary book, Whelan explains that “at a fundamental level,” veterans are bound to the military and “maintain aspects of this identity” for the remainder of their lives. He concludes that “the real threat to the health of the institution is cynicism…cynicism tells members…that they are essentially on their own.”

A valuable work for anyone interested in gaining insight into the inner lives of troubled veterans.

Pub Date: April 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-8529-9

Page Count: 264

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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