cover image Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD

Invisible Storm: A Soldier’s Memoir of Politics and PTSD

Jason Kander. Mariner, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-358-65896-2

In this powerful memoir, Missouri politician Kander (Outside the Wire) recounts withdrawing from the 2019 Kansas City mayoral race to seek treatment for PTSD. He describes how the 9/11 attacks motivated him to join the military after he finished his undergraduate studies in 2002, resulting in a four-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Upon returning stateside, Kander developed symptoms he would later recognize as PTSD, including nightmares and a need to sit facing the door of any room he’s in. His illness dovetailed with his ambition and drove his political ascent, starting with his election to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008: “I constantly told myself I’d feel better when I hit this quarterly fundraising goal, when I drew even in the polls, when I won the Senate race, and on and on and on.” While having suicidal thoughts and working to the point of exhaustion during his Kansas City mayoral run, Kander realized that “winning an office had never made any of it any better.” He dropped out and sought treatment, improving after learning to accept that “97 percent of what happens” is beyond one’s control. Kander displays a level of vulnerability not often seen in political memoirs, offering a bracing portrait of untreated PTSD and an insightful psychological profile of political ambition. Readers will appreciate the candor of this harrowing tale. (July)