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The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris has written a book that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved one David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris has written a book that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ones, but also to all of us struggling to make sense of an anxious and uncertain time.


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David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris has written a book that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved one David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris has written a book that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ones, but also to all of us struggling to make sense of an anxious and uncertain time.

30 review for The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    Honestly did not expect the book to be as good as it turned out to be. I have this assumption problem where things that shouldn't be indicative of anything some how are meaningful to me and so I saw that it was called The Evil Hours and I thought it was going to be melodramatic and self involved. In truth though the author did such a good job of putting together his own experiences within the larger context of PTSD through out history, other people's experiences, and the present. It was very poi Honestly did not expect the book to be as good as it turned out to be. I have this assumption problem where things that shouldn't be indicative of anything some how are meaningful to me and so I saw that it was called The Evil Hours and I thought it was going to be melodramatic and self involved. In truth though the author did such a good job of putting together his own experiences within the larger context of PTSD through out history, other people's experiences, and the present. It was very poignant and insightful about what it feels like to have PTSD. He also gave a good amount of detail about the various treatment options available though I don't think it was fair to disqualify immersion therapy based on his own experiences and those of a few others. I do understand his point that focusing on one aspect of PTSD whether it's the biological one or the psychoanalytic obsession with childhood is pointless though. I really enjoyed this book though, I would totally recommend it to anyone who likes reading non fiction or wants to learn more about PTSD.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I do not personally suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, nor does anyone in my family. But my interest in the subject was piqued after my own brush with trauma. I read The Evil Hours, David Morris’s “biography” of PTSD for a specific reason. I was interested in the human ability to keep going, even in the face of enormous suffering and tragedy. Life doesn’t allow anyone to get away without pain, so I thought it instructive to learn about people who’ve seen the very worst. All kinds of peo I do not personally suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, nor does anyone in my family. But my interest in the subject was piqued after my own brush with trauma. I read The Evil Hours, David Morris’s “biography” of PTSD for a specific reason. I was interested in the human ability to keep going, even in the face of enormous suffering and tragedy. Life doesn’t allow anyone to get away without pain, so I thought it instructive to learn about people who’ve seen the very worst. All kinds of people suffer from PTSD, from soldiers to rape survivors to accident victims. It is an insidious kind of ailment, one that deeply warps your perception of the world. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, emotional numbness, depression, anxiety, hyper-awareness, and labile mood. These are the clinical manifestations, at least. But as Morris writes, there is something more involved; indeed, that a “trauma destroys the fabric of time.” In normal time, you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy, or bouncing like a rubber ball from now to then and back again…Another odd feature of traumatic time is that it doesn’t just destroy the flow of the present into the future, it corrodes everything that came before, eating at moments and people from your previous life, until you can’t remember why any of them mattered. The Evil Hours takes a hybrid approach to its subject. In part, it is a history of a disease. A couple chapters trace the antecedents of PTSD all the way back to ancient times. Some skeptics believe PTSD to be a modern invention, a creation. Morris clearly disagrees. He finds some of the symptoms in writings that stretch back to the time of Homer. At one point, he tugs on a fascinating thread, proposing that the violence of the postwar American West might have been exacerbated by hundreds, if not thousands, of Civil War veterans dealing with the aftershocks of a cataclysmic war. Morris does not really argue the notion, but it is a very interesting thought experiment. The systemic study of post-traumatic distress began more or less in the early 20th century. In World War I, they called it “shell shock,” from the theory that the concussions from exploding artillery caused the mental disorders striking so many troops. In World War II, it was known as “battle fatigue” or “combat fatigue.” The diagnosis did know make it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – a Bible of sorts, for psychiatrists – until 1980, pushed in large measure by Vietnam veterans and their treating physicians. The Evil Hours is also a work of journalism. It devotes space to the different treatments involved, from counseling to drugs to non-traditional (and in some cases highly effective) therapies such as yoga. I found the chapter on medication to be especially intriguing in its discussion of the drug propranolol, a beta blocker that blocks adrenaline. In theory: [I]f you were to administer propranolol to a person a few hours after a traumatic event, you would block the neurological process that would otherwise cause that memory to become traumatic. In the language of neuroscience, you would prevent its “overconsolidation” within the brain and prevent the event from being permanently etched into the amygdala, one of the brain’s fear centers…The experience would be remembered much like any other event was remembered – without the elevated heart rate, without the shortness of breath, and without the amygdala being unduly impacted. A serious car crash would be rendered identical to a trip to the coffee shop, neurologically speaking. There is a catch to propranolol in terms of timing. It needs to be administered within six hours of the traumatic event. It also dulls a person’s normal flight-or-fight responses, meaning soldiers might suddenly become ineffective and defenseless. However, as Morris writes, there are more profound implications. Your life is only as big as your memory allows. The use of propranolol works to “shrink reality.” Does the cost outweigh the benefit? It is both a medical and a philosophical question that embodies something very fundamental about our humanity. Aside from being a work of history and journalism, The Evil Hours is also a memoir. Throughout the book, Morris interlaces his own experiences with his broader survey of PTSD. Morris began suffering post-traumatic symptoms after time spent as a war correspondent in Iraq. His personal interjections suffuse what otherwise might have been dry sections with a raw intimacy. His book brims with compassion and empathy. This experiential approach is especially effective in the chapter on therapy. Rather than simply describing the various methods (including PE or prolonged exposure therapy, where a person is made to continually relive the traumatic event), Morris is able to walk into a VA, fill out reams of paperwork, and engage in the therapy himself. We have come to a point where PTSD has gained a pretty universal acceptance. It is no longer derided as a symptom of cowardice or mental weakness. Now, it is a thing to be reckoned. The next time a politician stands up on stage and pounds a podium and shouts we need to go to war, we have to go to war, PTSD has to be taken into account. It is not just lives ended, limbs lost, dollars spent; the cost now includes memories forever altered.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Every era has its tragedies, those things nobody talks about but that millions of people live with every day, and this book really puts that all into perspective. I wish more people would read it; these days it seems claiming to have PTSD has become trendy for some reason. There was even someone in my class who claimed they had PTSD after their cat died. Having PTSD myself and knowing several friends and some family members who've been diagnosed as well, I think it's a serious thing, not just a Every era has its tragedies, those things nobody talks about but that millions of people live with every day, and this book really puts that all into perspective. I wish more people would read it; these days it seems claiming to have PTSD has become trendy for some reason. There was even someone in my class who claimed they had PTSD after their cat died. Having PTSD myself and knowing several friends and some family members who've been diagnosed as well, I think it's a serious thing, not just a buzzword to describe general upset in daily life, and I wish more people understood that, especially since these days we have homeless war vets living on the street suffering from mental health problems and refugees who grew up in dangerous war zones. PTSD is not limited to those who've been in combat but it does seem that those who face the worst kind of trauma are often overlooked by society. The Evil Hours is the most genuine book on PTSD I've ever read. Written by a former marine who knows all too well what it's like to live with this condition on a daily basis, it's not a pity party or a call for attention, but rather an honest, non-sugarcoated and brave account not just of his own trauma, but how trauma influences the world at large and other people, how groups affected become their own cluster of elite "survivors" and how this comes with an unseen stigma more often than not, as well as exactly what trauma is and why we must not wallow in it. It's not an easy book to read, especially if you find mental health statistics and stories of horrific tragedy disturbing, but this is one of those things that simply needs to be brought out into the open. I definitely related to Morris' words on the way this condition warps reality, and that trauma knows no bounds - be it a school shooting, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, severe bullying, sexual violence, it makes me wonder if PTSD is truly a disorder, or just a natural response to horror that we all need to help each other through. It's easy to sweep it under the carpet with pills but what Morris says is true - talking about it, writing about it and sharing it is the best way to overcome it and cope with it. *For the record, I just want to say I really respect this author for his service overseas. My father was deployed to the Middle East in '09 and every day is hard work while wondering what the next moment will bring. Regardless of your political views or stance on war, respect for these people who did their duty can't be stressed enough, as well as for those in Vietnam, WWII, WWI and any other of these terrible and trying feuds throughout recent history.*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    There are a lot of books out there on PTSD and trauma. This one stands out, however, for its thorough and compassionate examination of PTSD and its many manifestations. While most of the book focuses on PTSD in the context of combat, it does address PTSD resulting from other types of trauma and Morris's findings and observations can be applied widely to survivors of trauma as a whole. Morris draws on literature, personal accounts, and psychological studies, compiling a rich history of PTSD and i There are a lot of books out there on PTSD and trauma. This one stands out, however, for its thorough and compassionate examination of PTSD and its many manifestations. While most of the book focuses on PTSD in the context of combat, it does address PTSD resulting from other types of trauma and Morris's findings and observations can be applied widely to survivors of trauma as a whole. Morris draws on literature, personal accounts, and psychological studies, compiling a rich history of PTSD and its social ramifications. As a person with PTSD, I've read a number of books on the topic and this is the first I've read that adequately captures the sense of alienation sufferers of PTSD experience. I recommend "The Evil Hours" particularly for anyone suffering from PTSD, but also for anyone hoping to gain a more complete understanding of its context, both psychologically and culturally.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard Burbach

    Wow! Left me speechless. Everyone should read this passionate expose -- whether one has PTSD, knows one who has PTSD or cares about America's health or our politics. The cost of war is laid bare despite our cultural deception and obsessive amnesia. Brutal truth-telling! Although focusing on war and veterans -- that's Morris's experience and where funding is available (primarily from the VA and DOD) -- it's easy to see how PTSD ensnares victims of rape and other life-alerting tragedies. I couldn' Wow! Left me speechless. Everyone should read this passionate expose -- whether one has PTSD, knows one who has PTSD or cares about America's health or our politics. The cost of war is laid bare despite our cultural deception and obsessive amnesia. Brutal truth-telling! Although focusing on war and veterans -- that's Morris's experience and where funding is available (primarily from the VA and DOD) -- it's easy to see how PTSD ensnares victims of rape and other life-alerting tragedies. I couldn't help but recognize parallels between the VA's handling of PTSD and the Catholic Church's inept defensiveness to sex abuse. A profoundly significant work that should reverberate through our cultural icons bringing us to greater transparency, truth and -- one must hope -- healing!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    As you can see by the addition of this book to my for-my-future-office shelf, this is one that I want to use in my career, a career which will be marked by dealing with people who have PTSD. I want to be a social worker. That is my intended career. Whether that's working in the government for a while or going to a community center or just going outside of the U.S. to give aid to people (specifically children) who desperately need resources, that's my goal. That's what I want to do. So, I know th As you can see by the addition of this book to my for-my-future-office shelf, this is one that I want to use in my career, a career which will be marked by dealing with people who have PTSD. I want to be a social worker. That is my intended career. Whether that's working in the government for a while or going to a community center or just going outside of the U.S. to give aid to people (specifically children) who desperately need resources, that's my goal. That's what I want to do. So, I know that I'm going to be working with people who have PTSD. I'm also going to be at a high risk to develop PTSD myself due to exposure. It's something I can't prepare for, yet I am. I've never gone through any major traumas as David Morris describes in his book, but most of my friends have. And I've tried to help them work through it. This book is mainly handy for someone who has background with PTSD. Its history, its treatment, its symptoms. It makes the most sense that way. Given that I'm a psychology major, I do know a good deal of most of these things. What was the most interesting was to hear Morris talk about the success rates of certain treatments, along with the pros and cons of each. That was really helpful since he summarized a lot of data into talking about what it all shows, which is hard when you're typically presented with successful treatments and studies that just reinforce how helpful something is without taking into account all the hands that are in the basket. Plus, Morris has PTSD and is heavily involved with people who have it as well. He has a real knowledge that clinicians don't since most clinicians don't have it. The only problem I came across was when he started talking about how if something works and keeps things at bay, then use it. He even said that alcohol was okay to use, along with other drugs. If it keeps you sane, then do it. And, I just can't say that using alcohol or any other drug to cope is healthy. In fact, it's the symptom of another disorder in the DSM-5. Substance Use Disorders. One of the symptoms of it -- and the one most people would think of -- is using drugs to cope with everyday life. That's equally unhealthy and there are other ways to cope without resorting to that, even if it does help.* Other than that, it was a very informative book. One that I would definitely want to own and reread so I could highlight certain areas about treatment and the perception of the disorder through history. *Although there was a study that was released only a few weeks ago about ecstasy being the new thing to treat PTSD. Which just sounds crazy to me. I'm sure it works, but it sounds like there are a lot of implications to using drugs that can possibly kill you to solve problems.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roger DeBlanck

    The Evil Hours by David J. Morris is a remarkable piece of scholarship and literature. As a former Marine veteran and war correspondent living and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, Morris offers an empowering study of the history and current state of PTSD. His investigations go beyond the battlefield to show how the illness of PTSD haunts survivors of rape, natural disaster, and near-death experiences. This unforgettable "biography" pulls at the heartstrings with its tremendous emotio The Evil Hours by David J. Morris is a remarkable piece of scholarship and literature. As a former Marine veteran and war correspondent living and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, Morris offers an empowering study of the history and current state of PTSD. His investigations go beyond the battlefield to show how the illness of PTSD haunts survivors of rape, natural disaster, and near-death experiences. This unforgettable "biography" pulls at the heartstrings with its tremendous emotion and testimonial candor. I found myself taking copious notes as I became intensely engaged with the intimacy of the stories, the breadth of the research, and the range of the literature Morris employs to enrich his narrative. He brings every detail and description to life with prose so vivid and rich it takes on a poetic quality. You can feel the pain of trauma as you follow Morris through the history and therapy of PTSD and into the lives of the individuals he champions throughout the book for their resilience and fortitude. This is the type of literary achievement you will appreciate and admire for its humanity and for its ability to help you look at the world and understand it with more compassion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    SarahJessica

    This book got better as it went on; I enjoyed the last two chapters the most. The extensive notes are really well worth reading. I thought they added quite a bit of worthwhile context. Things are not clear cut by any means in any area of psychology, but PTSD seems exceptionally murky. Morris is opposed to imbuing every veteran with the wounded broken soldier trope, but recognizes that some folks do come back with behaviors and responses to stimuli that aren't within the realm of normal. Treatmen This book got better as it went on; I enjoyed the last two chapters the most. The extensive notes are really well worth reading. I thought they added quite a bit of worthwhile context. Things are not clear cut by any means in any area of psychology, but PTSD seems exceptionally murky. Morris is opposed to imbuing every veteran with the wounded broken soldier trope, but recognizes that some folks do come back with behaviors and responses to stimuli that aren't within the realm of normal. Treatments proffered by the VA have varying degrees of efficacy, varying levels of scientific backing, and untold uncaptured effects (positive and negative). This book serves to complicate my understanding of PTSD more than clarify it, but that's necessary. Morris is also quick to acknowledge the gendered limits of VA work on PTSD, and the glaring omission from the research of people traumatized by rape outside of the military. I think anyone with an interest in PTSD, the military, the last 70 years of military history, psychology, or neuroscience will find something to take away from this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Informative. Insightful. Soulful. Morris has taken on Marlantes' role as an interpreter of war and succeeded admirably. Every person who knows a veteran who has gone to war should read this book. Surprisingly Morris went to war as a journalist and not a Marine. I'm thinking his PTSD experience would be vastly different if he had deployed with his brothers in arms. I don't know if it would have been better or worse. As a journalist he was an outsider. At any rate he has written a great book that Informative. Insightful. Soulful. Morris has taken on Marlantes' role as an interpreter of war and succeeded admirably. Every person who knows a veteran who has gone to war should read this book. Surprisingly Morris went to war as a journalist and not a Marine. I'm thinking his PTSD experience would be vastly different if he had deployed with his brothers in arms. I don't know if it would have been better or worse. As a journalist he was an outsider. At any rate he has written a great book that sheds light on what exactly PTSD is and what treatments are currently prescribed. It's personal without being self-centered and is a great history of trauma through the ages. He discusses other trauma like rape and acts of God or nature as well. He's a writer now for sure and quite a reader too.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Michelle

    It was an intriguing read, learning more about PTSD and how the writer experienced it himself when he was in Iraq as a war correspondent. It's interesting how there are so many different treatments that people have recommended for it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Infiniteknot

    this was less about PTSD and more about literature that talked about PTSD or had metaphors or related to PTSD. It was so much more a review of literature about PTSD. Truly frustrating.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    I almost never write reviews about books, but I have to review this. That's how good it is. After another failed telehealth visit with my well-meaning but ineffective therapist, I decided to try something different and frantically searched "Trauma" and "PTSD" in the Libby app-- thank god I did. I keep joking that if every other book I've read about PTSD was a banana peel in the Mario Kart game of life, then this book is a mushroom boost. Truthfully, it is so much more than that, but I cannot art I almost never write reviews about books, but I have to review this. That's how good it is. After another failed telehealth visit with my well-meaning but ineffective therapist, I decided to try something different and frantically searched "Trauma" and "PTSD" in the Libby app-- thank god I did. I keep joking that if every other book I've read about PTSD was a banana peel in the Mario Kart game of life, then this book is a mushroom boost. Truthfully, it is so much more than that, but I cannot articulate how vitally validating, how interesting, informative, and important this book is. If you have PTSD and feel alone-- read this book. If you've been through a handful of therapists, none of whom seem to 'get you,' read this. If your partner has PTSD, read this, write down questions, talk about it. If you're a therapist or social worker with a client who has PTSD, READ THIS. Basically, every one read this. It is enriching and entertaining. It won't change your life by itself, but it will put the keys back in your hands and give you the space to just... go.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miklos

    A history of PTSD is multifaceted; one can discuss the experiences of combat, domestic violence, natural disasters, and the like. The best histories incorporate the voices of folks who have experienced trauma first hand alongside the development of such a diagnosis and how it has been shaped by history, culture, and society. The Evil Hours does this expertly. The author does a tremendous job interweaving both his experience and those of others against the backdrop of a development of a relativel A history of PTSD is multifaceted; one can discuss the experiences of combat, domestic violence, natural disasters, and the like. The best histories incorporate the voices of folks who have experienced trauma first hand alongside the development of such a diagnosis and how it has been shaped by history, culture, and society. The Evil Hours does this expertly. The author does a tremendous job interweaving both his experience and those of others against the backdrop of a development of a relatively novel disorder. I would recommend this books to readers who wish to get a perspective on their own experiences as well as those who wish to learn more about what is meant by the word trauma.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Hurley

    David Morris's book The Evil Hours is subtitled a Biography of Post Traumatic Syndrome. It is that. He has exhaustively researched psychological trauma from war, rape, accident and woven this interesting information into his personal story as a marine and journalist in Iraq. He is critical, but balanced, about criticizing the VA for its handling of traumatized returnees and the public's attitudes. He does an in-depth description of the treatments available for PTSD and his personal experience wi David Morris's book The Evil Hours is subtitled a Biography of Post Traumatic Syndrome. It is that. He has exhaustively researched psychological trauma from war, rape, accident and woven this interesting information into his personal story as a marine and journalist in Iraq. He is critical, but balanced, about criticizing the VA for its handling of traumatized returnees and the public's attitudes. He does an in-depth description of the treatments available for PTSD and his personal experience with some of them. I was surprised to find nearly a dozen typos leap out at me, given that this e-book was traditionally published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I could have tolerated another run through by a proofreader. This flaw barely detracts from a well-written personal story. This easy read is recommended for anyone interested in the subject or who wants to learn what the PTSD story is all about.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    This book was utterly sublime at times - it has one of the best introductions I've ever read. But I think it suffers severely from a lack of disciplined editing, particularly the preliminary chapters, which seemed to meander back and forth on the same ideas without purpose. The long chapter on therapy also suffers, I think, from being a little too close to the author's own experience. The result was that I found it very hard to get through this book. I'm glad I did, but it frustrates me that it This book was utterly sublime at times - it has one of the best introductions I've ever read. But I think it suffers severely from a lack of disciplined editing, particularly the preliminary chapters, which seemed to meander back and forth on the same ideas without purpose. The long chapter on therapy also suffers, I think, from being a little too close to the author's own experience. The result was that I found it very hard to get through this book. I'm glad I did, but it frustrates me that it could have been so much more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pat Delwiche

    Thoroughly researched and at the same time highly personal, Morris’s book enlightens the reader about the historical, ethical and political aspects of response to trauma. It was much more engaging than the topic might suggest, possibly in part because my reading coincided with my viewing of Amazon Prime’s series “Homecoming” (totally a stroke of serendipity). I finished the book with a profound appreciation for veterans’ challenges during and after their deployments, and a deepened cynicism abou Thoroughly researched and at the same time highly personal, Morris’s book enlightens the reader about the historical, ethical and political aspects of response to trauma. It was much more engaging than the topic might suggest, possibly in part because my reading coincided with my viewing of Amazon Prime’s series “Homecoming” (totally a stroke of serendipity). I finished the book with a profound appreciation for veterans’ challenges during and after their deployments, and a deepened cynicism about governments that are too ready to sacrifice their people in the name of war.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was amazing. I listened to the audio and the narrator did a great job. What I love most is that this isn't self-help or advice. As Morris makes clear himself, this is a biography of PTSD. He looks at the history of it, the different forms, and different ways people have coped. He doesn't prescribe or try to imply that he has answers. He just lays out a bunch of facts and possibilities and offers ideas without ever trying to act like an expert on it. What I loved most was that, as a military S This was amazing. I listened to the audio and the narrator did a great job. What I love most is that this isn't self-help or advice. As Morris makes clear himself, this is a biography of PTSD. He looks at the history of it, the different forms, and different ways people have coped. He doesn't prescribe or try to imply that he has answers. He just lays out a bunch of facts and possibilities and offers ideas without ever trying to act like an expert on it. What I loved most was that, as a military SO, I could see the issues that my boyfriend and I struggle with being mirrored in others through anecdotes. It helps more than you can imagine just to know you're not alone. It also helped to ease concerns about how many different treatments we have tried without success. Of course, not everything will work for everyone. But sometimes it's hard to accept that and it can be easy to get frustrated. I don't think I can quite place exactly why this book hit me so hard compared to other books I have read about PTSD. I think it might be because everyone else has tried to tell me what to do in their books and that isn't Morris' intent. He takes a very methodical and objective look at all different aspects and angles and doesn't really claim any one or all of them to be true or untrue. It feels very much like Morris is trying to gather up all of the information he can, lay it our for the reader in an organized manner, and then say, "Here. Take it and do with it what you'd like." which is how I prefer my nonfiction to be. As I've tried to be supportive of my boyfriend through this, I already know what the books say to try and do. But what I didn't really have was a scientific and historical grasp on PTSD and how it has been portrayed and evolved through time. And that information, I think, has been more useful to me than anything else.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Austin Swan

    As someone who was completely unfamiliar with PTSD and trauma as a whole, I feel much more enlightened about the topic. The book proved to be informational and overall a very enjoyable read. While the book tells the story about PTSD and trauma, the author also works in his experience as a Marine Corps infantry officer in the late nineties and later his work as a journalist in the heat of the war in the Middle East. I enjoyed every bit of the book, but the last two chapters were eye opening. While As someone who was completely unfamiliar with PTSD and trauma as a whole, I feel much more enlightened about the topic. The book proved to be informational and overall a very enjoyable read. While the book tells the story about PTSD and trauma, the author also works in his experience as a Marine Corps infantry officer in the late nineties and later his work as a journalist in the heat of the war in the Middle East. I enjoyed every bit of the book, but the last two chapters were eye opening. While I myself have never experienced trauma, I took the idea of "post-traumatic growth" and made parallels to my own life. After my completion of military boot camp, my life had gone through a radical change in thinking and function. Leaving my past life behind and going through boot camp a little wiser and a little older than most others, the transition was euphoric in a way. Life on the other side as an active duty service member made me reshape my life and look at what was really necessary. I took this "traumatic event" (like I said, not truly traumatic) and grew from it. ‘Okay, this huge thing happened and rather than fight it, I’m gonna let it change my life, in fact, I’m gonna help it change my life. I’m gonna use the momentum of this event to fix things that I think are wrong and try to create things that will take me in a better direction.’”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    A few diseases have served as the subject of extensive biographies. Cancer has spawned the book The Emperor Of Maladies. Depression was the subject of the melancholy book The Noonday Demon, part of my Florida library, Since PTSD has a very short history within psychology but a longer one in terms of its ancestry in military history and literature, the author (who himself suffers from PTSD as a result of a near-death experience as an embedded war journalist in Iraq) has chosen wisely in writing a A few diseases have served as the subject of extensive biographies. Cancer has spawned the book The Emperor Of Maladies. Depression was the subject of the melancholy book The Noonday Demon, part of my Florida library, Since PTSD has a very short history within psychology but a longer one in terms of its ancestry in military history and literature, the author (who himself suffers from PTSD as a result of a near-death experience as an embedded war journalist in Iraq) has chosen wisely in writing about this most curious of diseases. The book is a mysterious one, though, given that it might not be immediately clear what is meant by the evil hours to someone who does not suffer from PTSD. The Evil Hours can refer to the darkness that survivors with PTSD struggle to deal with, the way that the disease eats away time leaving behind many people with lost years that they wish they could recover, and eats away at the sense of time many people have as well. And when one says many people, there are estimates that as many as ten percent of the United States suffers from PTSD, so there is a great deal of company for those who do. In terms of the contents and structure of the book, this book is organized in nine chapters, after a prologue and introduction that show the writer to not only be a student of PTSD but also someone familiar with it deeply and personally. The first three chapters of the book deal with different aspects of how the disease begins: Saydia, which is where the author himself had a near death experience thanks to Iraqi terrorism, In Terror's Shadow, which looks at the role of terror in making natural disasters, war, and rape the chief origins of PTSD, and Toward a Genealogy of Trauma, which looks at the literature of the Greeks and Mesopotamians, although its strangely neglects the observation of PTSD that can be found in scripture. The Haunted Mind addresses the sorts of difficulties faced, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, and so on, that are faced by the mind which is dealing with PTSD, and then the author takes a look at modern trauma, including the recognition of the pivotal role of violence and terror against women and the general divorce between civil society and military matters as being pivotal in the growth of recognition for trauma. The next three books then deal in a detailed fashion with therapy, drugs, and alternative treatments (like yoga) for PTSD, which prompts a comparison to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and a fierce criticism of the clinical bean counting of the VA, before closing with a chapter on the paradoxical reality that PTSD in at least some sufferers has led to growth and insight, even despite everything. At about 275 pages before its lengthy and literate endnotes, this is a book that provides a thought-provoking and worthwhile read. There is a great deal to like about this book, although it is unlikely that anyone would read this book unless they suffer from PTSD themselves or are close with people who do. The author manages to talk about his own experiences in a way that is not overwhelming, commenting thoughtfully on the need for someone who struggles with PTSD to get help somewhere--whether through deep reading [1], self-examination, therapy, medicine, various alternatives (including MMA), and it is clear that he is empathetic about the struggle against darkness faced by many, and the difficulties that result in life and relationships when people have experiences that simply cannot be assimilated in the social context around them. If this book is too long on Greek thought to the exclusion of biblical truth, is far too approving of New Age and even shamanistic spirituality, and is entirely too approving of the near total absence of literature on male survivors of rape, this is to be expected, if lamented. This is not a perfect book, but nevertheless it offers a great deal of understanding in the lengthy and tangled origins of PTSD, and why it sprang nearly fully armed like Athena from the head of Zeus in the late 1970's and early 1980's among the fallout of Vietnam and drastic social change. It is a worthy read, even with its flaws. [1] See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress... https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This book is beyond amazing. For anyone interested in PTSD, it provides a wealth of information, couched in beautiful prose, with interesting (if sometimes difficult to read) anecdotes. He has read scientific studies and novels, philosophy and personal memoirs, by the thousands it seems. This is probably the best, most thoughtful book I have read in the past year. One might complain that the book is overweighted with war stories (he himself served in the military and went to Iraq as a journalist This book is beyond amazing. For anyone interested in PTSD, it provides a wealth of information, couched in beautiful prose, with interesting (if sometimes difficult to read) anecdotes. He has read scientific studies and novels, philosophy and personal memoirs, by the thousands it seems. This is probably the best, most thoughtful book I have read in the past year. One might complain that the book is overweighted with war stories (he himself served in the military and went to Iraq as a journalist) and spends not enough time on traumas such as rape, but I think that just reflects current bias in the research. Maybe that doesn't get him off the hook, but perhaps this book will inspire a study of other, less talked about, PTSD experiences. It has certainly inspired my interest in this topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt Ely

    A resonant and effective summary on the history, treatment, and theory of PTSD. The author does a commendable job of addressing the many issues and discrepancies around the disorder, even including voices that question the nature of its existence. While it pulls most of its research from the experience of re-integrating American veterans, that's not the whole story, and he does what he can to incorporate other voices. A quality, readable primer, made more memorable by the author's examination of A resonant and effective summary on the history, treatment, and theory of PTSD. The author does a commendable job of addressing the many issues and discrepancies around the disorder, even including voices that question the nature of its existence. While it pulls most of its research from the experience of re-integrating American veterans, that's not the whole story, and he does what he can to incorporate other voices. A quality, readable primer, made more memorable by the author's examination of how trauma has impacted him personally. I particularly appreciated the history of the role of Vietnam veterans in legitimizing the study of PTSD, an emphasis that now seems so omnipresent in military circles.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I read this book as background information for a novel I'm writing. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this book was to read. Morris does a great job explaining trauma and PTSD in easy to understand language and interspersed with the factual information is Morris's own experiences in Iraq which was an excellent way to give a the reader a personal perspective. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in PTSD, are suffering from it yourself or know someone who is suffering from it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Morris is a former Marine and war reporter who was injured by an IED in Iraq. He was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD and as a means to understand his diagnosis, he began researching it. Expecting to write a book about veterans and PTSD, Morris was surprised to find that most cases of PTSD involve civilian women, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The result is part memoir, part social history of the disease and who it affects, veterans and civilians alike.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia Johnson

    I especially liked the author's using literature throughout the ages to bring understanding to this subject and also noting that there is a possibility of growth and transcendence after the suffering. It is written as if we are privy to the author's following many strands in his search for healing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joelene Swearingen

    This book was insightful and interesting as it highlighted the little we know about treating PTSD. I enjoyed the stories of how actual people deal with their traumas. However the author let his bitterness that we are still striving to come up with a regularly successful treatment come through in his writing. This made the reading less enjoyable for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    B_rodger

    Ever want to highlight the bejesus out of a book? A few pages in, I realized this was that kind of book for me. Thought provoking, personal, educational. I thought I knew a lot about PTSD, but I learned even more. I could read this again, and with an actual highlighter in my hand.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

    Audiobook. This is a history of PTSD focusing on war while there are short bits abiut other traumas. It also goes into treatments that were recieved by different generations of American war vets focusing most vividly on the author's own personal experience.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Wyvern

    A fascinating read for those interested in PTSD, from the history to social perception, from lived experience to various treatments and approaches. Very helpful for me who has had no experience with it but who wishes to write about it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Norah S.

    Too depressing. I just couldn't finish it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    An excellent resource for anyone interested in the cost of war.

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