Shook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War

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9780674806511: Shook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War

Vietnam still haunts the American conscience. Not only did nearly 58,000 Americans die there, but--by some estimates--1.5 million veterans returned with war-induced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This psychological syndrome, responsible for anxiety, depression, and a wide array of social pathologies, has never before been placed in historical context. Eric Dean does just that as he relates the psychological problems of veterans of the Vietnam War to the mental and readjustment problems experienced by veterans of the Civil War.

Employing a multidisciplinary approach that merges military, medical, and social history, Dean draws on individual case analyses and quantitative methods to trace the reactions of Civil War veterans to combat and death. He seeks to determine whether exuberant parades in the North and sectional adulation in the South helped to wash away memories of violence for the Civil War veteran. His extensive study reveals that Civil War veterans experienced severe persistent psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and flashbacks with resulting behaviors such as suicide, alcoholism, and domestic violence. By comparing Civil War and Vietnam veterans, Dean demonstrates that Vietnam vets did not suffer exceptionally in the number and degree of their psychiatric illnesses. The politics and culture of the times, Dean argues, were responsible for the claims of singularity for the suffering Vietnam veterans as well as for the development of the modern concept of PTSD.

This remarkable and moving book uncovers a hidden chapter of Civil War history and gives new meaning to the Vietnam War.

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Review:

Eric T. Dean Jr., a lawyer whose interest in the Civil War prompted him to return to school to obtain a Ph.D. in history, makes a unique contribution to Civil War studies with his research on the psychological effects of the war on its veterans. Digging through the pension records of Civil War vets, Dean documents the great number who, suffering from severe psychological problems triggered by intense combat experience, were dutifully provided with disability pensions by the U.S. government. Dean's central thesis--that these veterans provide a mirror for the experiences of their counterparts in Vietnam a century later--is supported with lucid reasoning. Of particular interest are the many stories of intense Civil War combat and its psychological aftereffects, including many cases of Civil War veterans committed to asylums well into the 1890s--case studies seldom found in standard histories which offer painful testimony to the war's enormous impact on the nation. --Robert McNamara

From the Publisher:

Winner of the Award for the Best Book in Political Psychology of the American Political Science Association

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Dean Jr., Eric T.
Editore: Harvard University Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0674806514 ISBN 13: 9780674806511
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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110674806514

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Eric T. Dean Jr.
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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 1. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0674806514

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Eric T. Dean Jr.
Editore: Harvard University Press (1997)
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Descrizione libro Harvard University Press, 1997. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0674806514

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