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

David J. Morris. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0544-08661-6
Former marine infantry officer Morris (Storm on the Horizon) blurs the line between clinical and creative literature in a lucid etiology of a “species of pain that went unnamed for most of human history... now the fourth most common psychiatric disorder in the United States.” Morris draws from his own traumatic Iraq War experiences and ancient “historical antecedents” such as the Sumerian Lamentation of Ur and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He moves on to postbellum America, reminding us that many of the Wild West’s most famous gunslingers were Civil War veterans, then to WWI, the “first conflict where war neuroses were officially identified and treated,” and finally the Vietnam War, the “single most important event in the history of psychological trauma.” The book’s second half describes and assesses the various ways in which PTSD is currently treated, using Morris’s own treatment as an example (he found yoga most effective). Morris offers balanced criticisms of the VA, and though he’s focused on American veterans, he attends to “rape, genocide, torture, and natural disaster” as other causes of PTSD in civilians. Well-integrated autobiographical elements make this remarkable work highly instructive and readable. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 01/20/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-544-08449-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-544-57032-0
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