This book is crafted around soldiers' personal descriptions of their war experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq that culminate in life-altering injuries to the brain and psyche, along with the equally dramatic story of their recoveries. An irony of America's 21st century wars has been that while our combat medical and medevac capabilities have grown enormously (from a rough average of 4:1 wounded to dead in World War II to 8:1 today), the nature of many of America's soldiers' wounds has undergone a subtle change. Men and women who survive the thick of combat, including repeated concussion blasts, increasingly present a difficult-to-detect kind of injury, no less debilitating than wounds from bullets or shrapnel.
Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts documents the ever-increasing cases of physical or mental brain trauma among U.S. vets that has risen as a direct result of more soldiers surviving their flesh wounds on the battlefield. The chapters are crafted from interviews with troops and their family members and bridged with essays by internationally known mental health professionals, veterans'advocates, and members of the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense, all of whom are working in the front lines of what is quickly developing into a national crisis of unfathomable cost in both lives and money.
From combat soldiers and Marines, even amputees, who eventually discover that their greatest disability is their head, to support personnel such as Devore Barlowe, who returns from Iraq having witnessed atrocities that leave her with severe PTSD, but perseveres juggling her job and the single mothering of two young children, the voices of these warriors reinforce the book's over-arching theme of resilience and courage.
Celia Straus is author of the national bestseller, Prayers On My Pillow, and an award-winning film writer/producer who has been writing about the war-related experiences of service members and their families since 2003. The Armed Forces Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the men and women of America's military.