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Aftershock: The Untold Story of Surviving Peace Hardcover – 1 Oct 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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  • Aftershock: The Untold Story of Surviving Peace
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  • Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD Among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work)
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  • Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken by War
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (1 Oct. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846273293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846273292
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'Compelling, humbling and hugely inspiring accounts from the real heroes of our era. We have a duty to understand what these men have given on our behalf' -- Bear Grylls

'Matthew Green has documented the hidden cost of modern war in a way no other author has ever even attempted. Intelligent, sensitive, courageous and tenacious, he has spent two years listening to the harrowing stories of former soldiers struggling to cope with PTSD and hearing how the military and medical establishment have, for the most part, failed them. The MoD should hang their heads in shame if this book does not become required reading at every staff college. Aftershock hasn't come a moment too soon' -- James Fergusson, author of A Million Bullets

'This is a most compelling book which tells the story of those who have suffered so much in the conduct of operation to protect our security. Mental health pressures need to move centre stage in our priorities now!' -- Sir Richard Dannatt, former General Chief of Staff

'If we expect our lives and freedoms to be protected we have a duty to those who do this. As a society, as people, surely we must take responsibility for the bodies, minds, and indeed souls of those who fight for us? Aftershock makes this point again and again, powerfully and compellingly' -- Justine Hardy, author of The Wonder House and trauma therapist

'Compelling and instructive... Aftershock is a work of integrity and substance, and as so much of it touches on interdepartmental matters it ought to be read by every minister' -- Spectator

'Aftershock sharply exposes the faults in the current system and reads like an urgent manifesto for change to cope with the growing number of cases of PTSD... The stories Green has collected are so powerful, in part, because they are some of the only means we have of measuring the true scale of PTSD in Britain'
'It's a testament to Matthew Green's even-handedness that his unsentimental but horribly affecting tales of soldier's lives destroyed by their experiences in combat never descends into war is hell clichés...mixing journalistic rigour with historical investigation, he goes in search of a solution for post-traumatic stress disorder.'
Alexander Larman, The Observer --Daily Telegraph

'Matthew Green's book seeks to highlight the plight of ex-soldiers who return from Britain's wars to find themselves unable to cope...This is a thoughtful, unsensational account of a significant problem...The author does a useful service by highlighting this issue. He is right that the armed forces and NHS must do more for those who struggle to adjust to post-combat existence' -- Max Hastings, Sunday Times

'Aftershock is a thought-provoking enquiry into PTSD. It contains important insights into a problem that is rarely covered in any but the most superficial way. I highly recommend it' --Literary Review

'[Aftershock] is an intelligently written and agreeable unsensational study by Matthew Green, a seasoned journalist with experience of reporting from recent combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan...What makes Green's study so important and so timely is the fact that during his research he was given full access to the charity's [Combat Stress] ground-breaking work. At the same time he is not blind to its shortcomings and the criticisms voiced by other healthcare professionals... It's never easy to encourage people to discuss such matters [regarding PSTD] but Green has done just that. All too often the veterans have been so traumatised by the actions that triggered PSTD that revisiting the time, place and the circumstances can be damaging but Green has clearly worked at the problem. One of the many strengths of this nuanced book is the sympathy and compassion he brings to the experiences of soldiers...Only now are the military authorities taking the problem seriously and Green's revealing and thought-provoking study is a much-needed addition to a subject which is not going to go away anytime soon.' Trevor Royle, Sunday Herald

'[An] outstanding study of the psychological wounds affecting British military personnel adapting to life at home after serving in the country's most recent wars.' New Statesman --New Statesman

About the Author

MATTHEW GREEN has spent the past 14 years working as a correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters and has reported from more than 30 countries, most recently Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he investigated subjects including the money men bankrolling the Taliban and the kingpins behind Pakistan's heroin trade. After studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, he began his career with Reuters, working in east and west Africa and in Iraq, where he was embedded with US Marines during the invasion in 2003. He later joined the Financial Times, working in Nigeria and then Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he spent time with US forces deployed to Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the Obama administration's troop surge. Green is now based in London and appears regularly as a commentator on the BBC News Channel and World Service radio, and writes for publications including Monocle magazine and the Literary Review. His first book was The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Joseph Kony, which won a Jerwood Award from the Royal Society of Literature and was long-listed for the Orwell Prize.
www.matthewgreenjournalism.com


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found it very informative and concise, well written and researched. Although the Author stopped short of asking the questions of society in general in the 21st century, in essence why they have not come to terms with their responsibility as nations waging wars.
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By B L on 24 April 2017
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hard hitting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very informative and incisive book about the impact of war and trauma on the psyche of soldiers. It is a combination of personal stories, and in depth look at PTSD, from its origins, treatment, the current landscape of service provision in the UK, and ideas about the future. It therefore addresses the problem, and also solutions, which tend not to get too much 'airtime' in the media. Although there is no silver bullet, there a number of really good therapies that are far more efficient than 'just talking about it' which indeed can be counterproductive, and is also the last thing on a traumatised soldier or veterans mind. In fact one quote neatly summarises the problem - ‘how to reach those whose condition makes them reluctant to seek help’.

As am EMDR therapist, some may say I am biased, but I have witnessed how the traumatic images in the mind can disperse very quickly for some, alongside the hyperarousal and dismantling of triggers. For the case of 'AJ' in the book, who seemed to have an unsuccessful experience of EMDR, it is worth noting that the therapist who provided it may not have been fully trained or experienced to manage a client with multiple traumatic memories. Some key tenets of EMDR are to keep the client in the 'window of tolerance', and not for them to be flooded by other memories. There are standard strategies for this, so that memories can be containerised whilst others are being worked on. There is also a process of 'titration', whereby the processing of a traumatic memory is done piecemeal, again, to prevent the client becoming ‘flooded’. For the therapist to say ‘he had topped out’ is ironically correct, but a sad indictment of an inexperienced therapist, who then left AJ in a worse situation, believing even EMDR wouldn’t work for him.
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Format: Hardcover
From "shell shock" to “PTSD” - the unfinished struggle against combat stress

The most pernicious feature of trauma-induced stress is that the anguish scarcely seems to fade with time. Whereas others horrors become less vivid and less troubling as the months pass, the harrowing scenes witnessed by the soldiers whose accounts fill Aftershock chronically disrupt their lives: there is no “getting over it”, no “sucking it up”. Their best and bravest attempts to quell their symptoms of panic and alarm are futile. On leaving active service in conflicts such as Afghanistan they often turn to alcohol, occasionally have violent outburst and sometimes resort to suicide.
Despite the growing amount of research, why the symptoms of some harrowing experiences persist while other don’t is still a mystery. And Aftershock explores one current theory that the brain is rewired (my crude shorthand) by some extreme stresses and can’t revert back to normal. The sufferer remains forever over-vigilant, overly alert to alarms. This might explain why Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is only partially useful and why another common treatment, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) can apparently sometimes make things worse.
Still the stigma of PTSD is beginning to fade. And Green’s book is testament to new respect being given to the mental casualties of war. Green is a journalist (ex-Reuters) but has his journalistic instincts well under control. Though many of the men’s stories are harrowing, (comrades a few steps away blown to bits etc), the drama is, if anything, downplayed. And Green has been equally careful not to slip into a narrative of army indifference to those who have left the forces or of NHS incompetence.
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Format: Hardcover
Not just an important book, but a moving one as well. The stories of the real soldiers Matthew Green meets are vivid and sincere, his thoughts on what can be done to address their need are heartfelt.
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent researched and written book.
Paul Huke February 2016
Matthew Green has taken a subject that is very little understood by the general public, which has been handled and presented it in a very sensitive, easy to read style. He has researched his subject very thoroughly and judging by the amount of material he has been given by the contributors, it is clear that they had complete trust in him to tell their story as it was told to him. Matthew has also experienced some of the ways that are being used to help these folks, which shows just how deeply he feels about his subject.
I hope that this book helps to highlight inadequacies in the system to assist these people, who were sent into conflict zones by their commanders and ended up fighting another enemy, a much more dangerous one, in their own heads, but this time without the necessary support and back-up.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The book explores and highlights the plight of British ex-soldiers who return from places like Iraq and Afghanistan to discover they are unable to cope with life. Relationships suffer, alcohol intake increases, domestic violence increases and jobs are lost. It is despair and deep unending unhappiness for them and their loved ones. Green has not exposed a crisis since it has been around for some time but he has written an excellent expose that hopefully will lead to these men, they are almost all men, being given much better support, because the present support available from the NHS and various charities is clearly inadequate. It should be noted that ex-servicemen in other countries such as America, experience similar problems .

Green is a former foreign affairs correspondent of the Financial Times. His book states that tens of thousands ' who have suffered serious psychological injuries continue to live with the consequences every day '. Although such injuries have pervaded warfare over many years they have increased significantly since the 1960's as a result of the change in the nature of warfare. Insurgency and counter-terrorist operations place an increased stress on the soldier. Being unable to clearly identify your enemy and the use of anti personnel mines increases the hazards of fighting.

Green tells some harrowing stories, for example the former Royal Marine sniper. It is a thoughtful account of a major problem. It would have helped if the author had said much more about recruitment. The majority of army recruits come from the poorest sections of society. Their educational attainment is meagre. Many join the services because they are unable to get any other job.
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