Trained to Kill: Soldiers at War

Theodore Nadelson, Author . Johns Hopkins Univ. $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8018-8166-4

Nadelson, who died in 2003, was a psychoanalyst who taught at Boston University School of Medicine and headed the Boston VA Medical Center's psychiatric service unit for two decades. This close examination of how civilians are turned into soldiers (everything from TV to gym class plays a role), and how war veterans then cope when re-entering society, is based on Nadelson's extensive work with Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Nadelson himself was drafted into the army and served during the Korean War, and he combines analysis of clinical studies with empathetic insights into the personal experiences of the men he treated. The resulting narrative is by turns dryly academic and compellingly journalistic. One interesting confirmation of long-held beliefs: a major reason that those who served in Vietnam have suffered disproportionately high incidences of PTSD, Nadelson says, is that the nation was so deeply and bitterly divided over that war. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
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