New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. First Edition [Stated], First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. viii, , 338 pages. Notes. Bibliography. Credits. Index. Inscribed and dated by the author on the title page. 11 March 2010 To Alvin, A most magical dance teacher! Will all best wishes, Nancy Sherman. Nancy Sherman (born 1951) is a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. She was also the inaugural Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the United States Naval Academy. Sherman is the author of several books, and her views on military ethics have been influential. Sherman writes about courage and the use of emotions from a soldier's point of view. She asserts that soldiers returning home often receive insufficient care, leaving them ill-prepared for civilian life. She considers post-traumatic stress disorder, comparing the dysfunctional anger shown by some soldiers after they come home from war to the anger that may be functional on the battlefield. The relationship of anger to courage may be deemed controversial, Sherman sees this as a relationship in displaying courage since soldiers must suppress their anger, fear, and other battlefield emotions, inducing a disorder that releases these emotions after a battle, in nonviolent situations. The process by which courage is summoned and displayed on the battlefield can lead directly to PTSD when they return home -- a process that can be addressed effectively by proper care upon their return. Sherman's books include Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers; The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of our Soldiers; and Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind. A unique analysis of the moral weight of warfare today through the lenses of philosophy and psychology. Philosopher, ethicist, and psychoanalyst Nancy Sherman explores the psychological and moral burdens borne by soldiers. By illuminating the extent to which wars are fought internally as well as externally, this book expands the national discussion about war and the men and women who fight our nation's battles. With close-up looks at servicemen and women preparing for, experiencing, and returning home from war, Sherman probes the psyche of today's soldiers, examining how they learn to kill and to leave the killing behind. Bringing to light the moral quandaries soldiers face, torture, the thin line between fighters and civilians, and the anguish of killing even in a just war. Sherman bares the souls of our soldiers and the emotional landscape of soldiering. At the heart of the book are interviews with soldiers, from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Vietnam and World Wars I and II. Derived from a Kirkus review: Cogent, scholarly essays on moral conflicts soldiers have faced throughout history but especially today. Philosopher, psychoanalyst and ethicist Sherman marshals all three specialties to explore a subject often passed over by traditional philosophers, who focused narrowly on the justice of going to war, and contemporary experts, who emphasize its psychiatric trauma. The author emphasizes that soldiering is less a career than an identity, different from but never detached from civilian life. Military leaders throughout history have worked hard to inspire a warrior attitude in their troops, who rarely hesitate to display intense comradeship and eagerness to fight. Sherman adds that, until the Vietnam War, experts ignored the painful moral burden soldiers feel when exposed to battle, a feeling they often bring back to civilian life and never escape. Seeing comrades die through no fault of their own can trigger a “survivor’s guilt” as soldiers struggle to recognize that luck, not skill or teamwork, has preserved them intact. Despite the universal acceptance of post-traumatic stress disorder, the Pentagon refuses to grant victims a Purple Heart, so many still consider PTSD a shameful affliction. According to the author, one culprit is stoicism, an ancient philosophy that, in the oversimplified version popular among officers, teaches that a truly wise man is indifferent to suffering. Sherman fills her academic study with interviews, anecdotes and historical examples in a successful effort to make it accessible to general readers. An illuminating inquiry into the psyche of our fighting men and women. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: Soldiers, PTSD, Battle, Interrogation, Torture, Guilt, Ted Westhusing, Stoic, Betrayal, Tony DeStefano, Detainees, Exploitation, Ray Longworth, Post=Traumatic Stress, William Quinn, James Stockdale, Uniforms, Killing