Achilles in Vietnam

Achilles in Vietnam

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An original and groundbreaking book that examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer’s Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

In this strikingly original and groundbreaking book, Dr. Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer’s Iliad with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the Iliad was written twenty-seven centuries ago it has much to teach about combat trauma, as do the more recent, compelling voices and experiences of Vietnam vets.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684813219 | 
  • October 1995
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CHAPTER I

Betrayal of "What's Right"

Every instance of severe traumatic psychological injury is a standing challenge to the rightness of the social order.

Judith Lewis Herman,

1990 Harvard Trauma Conference

We begin in the moral world of the soldier -- what his culture understands to be right -- and betrayal of that moral order by a commander. This is how Homer opens the Iliad. Agamémnon, Achilles' commander, wrongfully seizes the prize of honor voted to Achilles by the troops. Achilles' experience of betrayal of "what's right," and his reactions to it, are identical to those of... see more

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