Vietnam Trilogy: Vol. 1 Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress: 1968, 1989, 2000, A
Author: Raymond Scurfield
Publisher: Algora Publishing (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 248 pages
An internationally recognized expert on war and post-traumatic stress therapy analyzes the Vietnam War s psychological and social impact and the implications for today s veterans through the lens of his service in 1968 and two return visits in 1989 and 2000.
Through the stories of veterans and the author s own understanding as a psychiatric social work officer in Vietnam and his extensive post-war experiences as a mental health professional, A Vietnam Trilogy describes the impact of war on veterans from a psychiatric, psychological, social and cultural perspective, both during and decades after the war.
The large numbers of psychiatric casualties from war used to be attributed to an underlying psychiatric disorder presenting the classic blame-the-victim scenario. When they were finally classified as what is now known as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the path was opened for more realistic and fruitful healing techniques. A Vietnam Trilogy describes a care-giver s and numerous veterans perspectives of what happens to combatants during war, the therapeutic processes fostered by an innovative Dept. of Veteran Affairs treatment program directed by Dr. Scurfield, and the pioneering return trips he co-led to peace-time Vietnam in 1989 and 2000.
This book offers a unique vicarious journey of healing and pathos by relating the experiences of those who participated in these therapeutic efforts. For families, care-givers, students and teachers of history, and others, the book offers a glimpse from the participants view of the shock, the horrors, the overwhelming stress, and the mindset that were so damaging to personnel in the war zone, as well as of the extraordinary courage and strength necessary to survive. Finally, it offers insight into creative therapeutic approaches and recommendations for veterans and those who wish to help them recover from the traumas of war. Volume 1,"A Vietnam Trilogy. Veterans and Post-Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989 and 2000", describes the healing processes of hundreds of veterans from Vietnam and earlier wars up until 1990, when the author co-led a group of veterans on a therapeutic trip back to Vietnam to face their demons.
The second volume, "Healing Journeys," continues from 1990 to 2000 (including a discussion of the impact of the first Gulf War on veterans of earlier wars) and a second return trip to Vietnam in 2000, as part of a university Study Abroad program, to help veterans in their healing process.
Volume 3, "War Trauma, Lessons Unlearned From Vietnam to Iraq" (Algora, fall 2006), completes 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.
MWSA 2009 2nd Runner Up for Non-Fiction
Dr. Raymond Monsour Scurfield is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is a Vietnam veteran and worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 25 years and has directed PTSD mental health programs in a number of locations. He is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise in PTSD in both combat veterans and disaster survivors. This expertise comes from his many years of experience in working with others in the mental health profession and his own personal experience of being a veteran who experienced war as a psychiatric social work officer.
By reading the synopsis of each book, one can discover how Dr. Raymond Monsour Scurfield takes readers on a journey from his first days in Vietnam until the very present, going back with him on several trips with other veterans, and then the questions need to be addressed in how the past has affected the way the veterans of today's wars are being treated. Dr. Scurfield shares his personal journey as well as sharing quotes and experiences from many other veterans. His personal sharing allows us to see deeply into his thoughts and how his strategies and innovative therapies for treating combat veterans can be used in the field of mental health. These books can open doors for active duty military members and veterans, as well as offer guidance to their families and other community members.
Personally, I wondered what impact this series of books would have on me. I am not a veteran, I have a son who served eight years in the Marines, but is a non-combat veteran. So...should others like me take the time to read these books? They are not what I would call an "easy read" whatsoever, but I would call them an "essential read," for all of us have been impacted by war and know people that are struggling with PTSD issues. For me, having the input of "other voices" beyond Dr. Raymond Scurfield's allowed me to hear the stories from more than one voice and helped me to "experience" through them, the impact that war had on each and every one of them. Dr. Scurfield is an expert whose voice is being heard around the world. Anyone who is experiencing PTSD or knows someone struggling with PTSD would be wise in reading these books. They would be a wonderful resource for mental health professionals. We may not have learned enough from Vietnam, but Dr. Scurfield brings us the hope that we need for moving into our future.
Reviewed by: Joyce Gilmour (2009)