This is a very important book at many levels and deserves a wide readership, not least because it deals with aspects of war that we often chose to ignore. The story of the author’s extraordinary military experiences is covered warts and all, as is his struggle to adjust to life beyond the military. – Much Recommended
NAME: Joys of War, From The Foreign Legion, the SAS and into Hell With PTSD FILE: R2785 AUTHOR: John-Paul Jordan PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 134 PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: French Foreign Legion, SAS, private security forces, independent contractors, civil war, asymmetric war, Middle East, veteran support, PTSD, demob
IMAGE: B2785.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8hofcot LINKS: DESCRIPTION: This is a very important book at many levels and deserves a wide readership, not least because it deals with aspects of war that we often chose to ignore. The story of the author's extraordinary military experiences is covered warts and all, as is his struggle to adjust to life beyond the military. - Much Recommended It has become fashionable to wring hands and talk about the futility of war and how no one likes combat. It has become equally fashionable to cross to the other side of the street and avoid looking at the serious lack of support for veterans trying to adjust to civilian life. The author tells it the way it was for him and the way it is for most soldiers and veterans. For the young man there is an attraction to war. For millennia, armies have been built of young men who are still developing into adulthood, the brain still forming and poor judgement a frequent challenge. The romance of uniform, the opportunity to play with expensive and murderous toys, is overwhelming. Once in uniform and going to war, the expectations have to adjust to the reality. For most young people, men and women in uniform, war is a mixture of short periods of excitement and terror, a guilty feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction in reaching goals by killing other young people, interspersed with long periods of boredom and frustration, often in an environment of hardship. In battle, soldiers learn to depend on their comrades in an intensity that civilians will never fully understand. Life is experienced in full colour and a return to civilian life can often be in monochrome. The author would be described by some as a soldier of fortune, beginning with his service in the French Foreign Legion, his service with the SAS, as a civilian contractor in Iraq and a guide to journalists in the Libyan civil war. The common denominator was that each was in its own way a Special Force of elite soldiers. That produces an intense experience on a level beyond what an average soldier would be exposed to. There is a culture of achieving objectives at any price and a very close bonding of comrades. These experiences are graphically described and supported by a full colour photo-plate section that is very interesting. The author then describes his experiences of returning to civilian life and the hell of PTSD. The experiences he describes here are new only in that they have a specific name. Every generation of soldiers has experienced the same pain and challenges of making the considerable change to civilian life. Politicians have a long and dishonourable history of choosing to ignore this because it requires money and also an acknowledgement of the failures of politicians. Through British history, the military has been ignored in peacetime but expected to rise to the challenges of wars that result from political failure and to risk their lives to make up for shortages that should never have been. For a soldier who has also served in a foreign army and/or in a private contractor army, there is a further gulf. It may be true that a soldier always experiences something of what we now refer to as PTSD and it may also be true that no soldier ever fully recovers. In the past we have tended to regard the most extreme cases as cowards and failures but this is frankly most unfair. War requires the code followed in peace by civilians to be modified or put to one side. That changes every soldier, including those who never actually make it to the battlefield, because every soldier receives training to enable him or her to cope under fire and fully support comrades. Once returned to civilian life, a soldier often finds himself cut adrift without any effective support through the transition and cut off from the comrades he knew previously to an intensity that does not exist in civilian life in peacetime. The author has described how he was affected, and how he came to deal with the challenges. This is a poignant story that must be read. Whatever any of us might feel about war, it is a fact of human life. The next war is just around the corner and it is always different from the war we prepare for. The common component is that war eventually ends and most soldiers are still young when they are cast back into civilian life. Society owes a debt that requires them to be supported and aided in the transition to becoming once more civilians when they frequently find there is no one to talk to who really understands what their military life has been like.