When the war comes home . . . This book is crafted around soldiers’ personal descriptions of their war experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan that culminate in life-altering injuries to the brain and psyche, along with the equally dramatic story of their recoveries. An irony of America’s 21st century wars has been that while our combat medical and medevac capabilities have grown enormously (from a rough average of 4:1 wounded to dead in WWII to 8:1 today), the nature of many of our soldiers’ wounds has undergone a subtle change. Men and women who survive the thick of combat, including repeated concussion blasts, increasingly present a difficult-to-detect kind of injury, no less debilitating then wounds from bullets or shrapnel. Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts documents the ever-increasing cases of physical or mental brain trauma among our vets that has risen as a direct result of more soldiers surviving their flesh wounds on the battlefield. The chapters are crafted from interviews with troops and their family members, and bridged with essays by internationally known mental health professionals, veterans’ advocates, and members of the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense, all of whom are working in the front lines of what is quickly developing into a national crisis of unfathomable cost in both lives and money. From combat Army soldiers and Marines, even amputees, who eventually discover that their greatest disability is in their head, to support personnel such as Devore Barlowe, who returns from Iraq having witnessed atrocities that leave her with severe PTSD, but perseveres juggling her job and the single mothering of two young children, the voices of these warriors reinforce the book’s over-arching theme of resilience and courage. Thankfully the U.S. military’s battlefield support has vastly improved since prior wars. However, the signature wound of 21st century warfare—Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as PTSD—may lie beyond the current reach of standard medical procedures, and is more evidenced by the postwar stories of the soldiers themselves. In this book we get a thorough look at the travails of our veterans who may currently be undiagnosed and without help, but whom we are all committed to support. Celia Straus is author of the national bestseller, Prayers On My Pillow, and an award-winning film writer/producer who has been writing about the war-related experiences of service members and their families since 2003. The Armed Forces Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the men and women of America’s military. All royalties from this work will go directly to the front line of support for wounded warriors with PTSD and TBI, and their families .
In 2003, author and film producer Straus (Prayers on My Pillow) began interviewing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for the non-profit Armed Forces Foundation; as they returned home, she found their psychological wounds going unaddressed by the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (DVA). In 42 harrowing, inspiring stories, Straus crafts a multi-faceted view of the neglect and bureaucratic nonsense faced by returning warriors and their families. Though neurologist Col. Christopher Williams denies that the DoD or DVA are "falling short" in caring for vets with "invisible wounds" like traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), the stories of servicemen like Marine Corp Sergeant Christopher Horman speak for themselves: discharged with noted injuries, including PTSD, he secured treatment (with help from the AFF) only after he had lost his job, was forced to send away one of his sons, pawn his and his wife's wedding rings and move the family into a motel. With a thorough resource guide and input from caregivers and family members, often dealing with their own psychological hurdles, this is an invaluable volume for vets and their families, and another important cry for the proper treatment of the nation's defenders on the field and at home.