Usually, I only review recent or upcoming releases, but I was sent this book, published in 2012 by the author, and after reading it I decided that others should read it as well. It is a powerful book that looks at the psychological ravages of war from the perspective of those who were affected by the Vietnam Conflict.
Scroll down after the review to listen to the music that I was playing at the time, The Who’s Rock Opera Tommy. This was an amazing album, and I remember having the vinyl when I was a kid. I have included a link to a streaming of the full album. Enjoy.
by Alice K. Boatwright
Standing Stone Books (2012), Paperback, 214 pages
This collection of 3 short stories investigates the effects of the Vietnam War on those who fought, as well as their families, civilians who lived through it and those who chose not to answer the call by the government, for whatever reasons. Like The Crazy Iris and other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath, edited by the great Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe, containing stories of the effects of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in WWII, Collateral Damage by Alice K. Boatwright crafts fictional stories that are more than likely all too real for many people who experienced that tumultuous period of history in one way or another.
Once started, it was hard to put down- each story is written with acute understanding and empathy, as Boatwright connects the three stories across different time periods and cultures. I imagine that these tales will also resonate with those who were affected by the recent Iraqi/Afghan wars as well; the principles are the same no matter which conflict is written about. Subjects investigated include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Conscientious Objector Status, and families dealing with the death or injury of their loved ones.
I highly recommend this book to any who would like to understand the toll that military conflict takes on fighting men and women, as well as their families dealing with the results. This is an opportunity for readers to gain an understanding of the psychological wounds incurred by war.