Hidden Battles On Unseen Fronts

When the War Comes Home—Stories of American Soldiers withTraumatic Brain Injury and PTSD

Celia Straus

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.
Publication date:
May 2009
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
16-page photo section
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781935149019

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
ISBN : 9781935149408

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
eBook (ePub)
ISBN : 9781612000251

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• Of interest to all armed forces personnel, with important research and information on how to survive coming home

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.


Thankfully the U.S. military's battlefield support has vastly improved since prior wars. However, the signature wound of 21st century warfare—Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as PTSD—may lie beyond the current reach of standard medical procedures, and is more evidenced by the postwar stories of the soldiers themselves. In this book we get a thorough look at the travails of our veterans who may currently be undiagnosed and without help, but whom we are all committed to support.

All royalties for this book will be donated to wounded warriors with TBI and PTSD.


Nick's "Alive Day” was June 8th, 2006. Eighty miles north of Baghdad, the vehicle he was riding in as a gunner was hit with an IED. The blast occurred directly beneath his feet. His scalp was torn off and both of his ankles were broken; the right one severely crushed. "I felt like my head split apart and then I lost consciousness.” Faye Firth got the call early the next morning from a captain at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany telling her that her son, Nick was alive but badly injured. She rushed up from North Carolina in time for Nick's arrival to Walter Reed Medical Center from Germany. What the captain hadn't mentioned were the 47 staples on Nick's scalp. When Faye saw Nick, his head was so swollen she could barely recognize him. "But I never let on that I was shocked, or fearful, or angry or depressed,” Faye says, "Because I knew he was watching me. He was measuring his condition by the look in my eyes. I had to stay positive for Nick.” "I knew what had happened to me, even though I wasn't lucid,” recalls Nick. "I was determined not to die.”