Book ID: CBB595212787

Signature Wounds: The Untold Story of the Military's Mental Health Crisis (2019)


David Kieran (Author)

New York University Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 404
Language: English

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a tremendous toll on the mental health of our troops. In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama took to the Senate floor to tell his colleagues that “many of our injured soldiers are returning from Iraq with traumatic brain injury,” which doctors were calling the “signature wound” of the Iraq War. Alarming stories of veterans taking their own lives raised a host of vital questions: Why hadn’t the military been better prepared to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Why were troops being denied care and sent back to Iraq? Why weren’t the Army and the VA doing more to address these issues? Drawing on previously unreleased documents and oral histories, David Kieran tells the broad and nuanced story of the Army’s efforts to understand and address these issues, challenging the popular media view that the Iraq War was mismanaged by a callous military unwilling to address the human toll of the wars. The story of mental health during this war is the story of how different groups—soldiers, veterans and their families, anti-war politicians, researchers and clinicians, and military leaders—approached these issues from different perspectives and with different agendas. It is the story of how the advancement of medical knowledge moves at a different pace than the needs of an Army at war, and it is the story of how medical conditions intersect with larger political questions about militarism and foreign policy. This book shows how PTSD, TBI, and suicide became the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how they prompted change within the Army itself, and how mental health became a factor in the debates about the impact of these conflicts on US culture.

Reviewed By

Review G. Kurt Piehler (2020) Review of "Signature Wounds: The Untold Story of the Military's Mental Health Crisis". American Historical Review (pp. 1468-1469). unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Larry M. Logue; Peter Blanck; (2018)
Heavy Laden: Union Veterans, Psychological Illness, and Suicide (/isis/citation/CBB785969372/)

Thesis Brandt, Marisa Renee; (2013)
War, Trauma, and Technologies of the Self: The Making of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (/isis/citation/CBB001567473/)

Article Joanna Park; Louise Neilson; Andreas K. Demetriades; (2022)
Hysteria, head injuries and heredity: ‘Shell-shocked’ soldiers of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, Edinburgh (1914–24) (/isis/citation/CBB069255429/)

Book Mark Osborne Humphries; (2018)
A Weary Road: Shell Shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918 (/isis/citation/CBB451813888/)

Book Tracey Loughran; (2017)
Shell-Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain (/isis/citation/CBB472571862/)

Book Peter Yule; (2021)
The Long Shadow: Australia's Vietnam Veterans Since the War (/isis/citation/CBB600983096/)

Book Allan V. Horwitz; (2018)
PTSD: A Short History (/isis/citation/CBB415503478/)

Article Hane Htut Maung; (2020)
Pluralism and incommensurability in suicide research (/isis/citation/CBB398053581/)

Book Diane Miller Sommerville; (2018)
Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War-Era South (/isis/citation/CBB190745179/)

Book Allan H. Ropper; Brian Burrell; (2019)
How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness (/isis/citation/CBB145052886/)

Article AD (Sandy) Macleod; (2022)
Symonds on fear and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (/isis/citation/CBB149862965/)

Book Lynne Jones; (2018)
Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry (/isis/citation/CBB369217636/)

Article Stephen T. Casper; (2022)
Punch-Drunk Slugnuts: Violence and the Vernacular History of Disease (/isis/citation/CBB807305214/)

Article Abdul-Hamid, Walid Khalid; Hughes, Jamie Hacker; (2014)
Nothing New under the Sun: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders in the Ancient World (/isis/citation/CBB001202412/)

Chapter P. Willey; Gary Plank; Douglas D. Scott; (2015)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Seventh Cavalry (/isis/citation/CBB142952813/)

Authors & Contributors
Abdul-Hamid, Walid Khalid
Hughes, Jamie Hacker
Durrer, Julie
Schaffner, Laurie
Brandt, Marisa Renee
Mukerji, Chandra
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
History of Psychiatry
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Social History of Medicine
Cambridge University Press
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of California, San Diego
McGill-Queen's University Press
University of North Carolina Press
Medicine and the military; medicine in war
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Mental disorders and diseases
Psychic trauma
World War I
War neuroses
Herodotos of Halicarnassos
Symonds, Charles
Miller, Henry
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
United States
Great Britain
Royal Edinburgh Asylum
United States. Army
Great Britain. Royal Air Force

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment