NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From political wunderkind and former army intelligence officer Jason Kander comes a haunting, powerful memoir about impossible choices—and how sometimes walking away from the chance of a lifetime can be the greatest decision of all.
“A truly special book. This combination of honesty, thoughtfulness, urgency, and vulnerability is not common in leaders, and Jason demonstrates boundless occupancy of all of these traits.” —Wes Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore
In 2017, President Obama, in his final Oval Office interview, was asked who gave him hope for the future of the country, and Jason Kander was the first name he mentioned. Suddenly, Jason was a national figure. As observers assumed he was preparing a run for the presidency, Jason announced a bid for mayor of Kansas City instead and was headed for a landslide victory. But after eleven years battling PTSD from his service in Afghanistan, Jason was seized by depression and suicidal thoughts. He dropped out of the mayor’s race and out of public life. And finally, he sought help.
In this brutally honest second memoir, following his New York Times bestselling debut Outside the Wire, Jason Kander has written the book he himself needed in the most painful moments of his PTSD. In candid, in-the-moment detail, we see him struggle with undiagnosed illness as he considered a presidential bid; witness his family buoy him through challenging treatment; and, giving hope to so many of us, see him heal.
In this powerful memoir, Missouri politician Kander (Outside the Wire) recounts withdrawing from the 2019 Kansas City mayoral race to seek treatment for PTSD. He describes how the 9/11 attacks motivated him to join the military after he finished his undergraduate studies in 2002, resulting in a four-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Upon returning stateside, Kander developed symptoms he would later recognize as PTSD, including nightmares and a need to sit facing the door of any room he's in. His illness dovetailed with his ambition and drove his political ascent, starting with his election to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008: "I constantly told myself I'd feel better when I hit this quarterly fundraising goal, when I drew even in the polls, when I won the Senate race, and on and on and on." While having suicidal thoughts and working to the point of exhaustion during his Kansas City mayoral run, Kander realized that "winning an office had never made any of it any better." He dropped out and sought treatment, improving after learning to accept that "97 percent of what happens" is beyond one's control. Kander displays a level of vulnerability not often seen in political memoirs, offering a bracing portrait of untreated PTSD and an insightful psychological profile of political ambition. Readers will appreciate the candor of this harrowing tale.
From the first chapter I was drawn in…and I continued to be so engrossed by it I read it in less than a day. Even though I’m not affiliated with the military so many of the mental struggles resonated with me, he’s given me insight that even after 15 yrs of therapy I hadn’t thought about. I loved it! Thank you Jason for a better understanding of myself though your words.