Healing Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans : Vol. 2 of a Vietnam Trilogy

Healing Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans : Vol. 2 of a Vietnam Trilogy

Healing Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans : Vol. 2 of a Vietnam Trilogy

Healing Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans : Vol. 2 of a Vietnam Trilogy

Excerpt

The following pages trace the experiences of Vietnam veterans as they work to reconstruct their lives and to handle the indelible effects of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, and a unique trip back to the scenes of their trauma with a study abroad course on Vietnam history.

This book is the second of three. The first, A Vietnam Trilogy. Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989 and 2000, described the healing journeys of hundreds of veterans from Vietnam and earlier wars up until 1990, when I co-led a group of veterans on a therapeutic trip back to Vietnam to “face their demons.” The current volume continues from 1990 to 2000 (including a discussion of the impact of the first Gulf War on veterans) and a second return trip to Vietnam in 2000 to help veterans in their healing process. A third volume, From Vietnam to Iraq (Algora, fall 2006), will complete the Trilogy, with a consideration of the experience of prior wars to help people who are now in the military or in the healing professions, and their families and communities, to deal with today’s realities of combat and its aftermath.

It is not necessary to read the first volume in order to appreciate Healing Journeys: Veterans, PTSD, and Study Abroad in Vietnam. However, it is a helpful introduction to events and developments that characterized US military psychiatry in Vietnam, the nature of the traumas caused by the Vietnam War and the strategies Americans used to survive during war. It also explores the more immediate and longer-range impact on the in-country and post-war lives of hundreds of thousands of US veterans, and shows how veterans benefited from a return trip to Vietnam in 1989. (That visit was extremely different from, yet laid the . . .

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