The nature of the practices tended to change over time, partly in response to the changing military conditions which tended to affect the different branches of the armed forces in different ways , manpower needs, and the influence of particular personalities. Colonel Wells has added a substantive piece to the history of military warfare and, in particular, to the history of the combat environment in the air. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Shephard is careful to follow the changing conceptions of masculinity and bravery, and the status of therapy and social science research in policy making. At once absorbing historical narrative and intellectual detective story, A War of Nerves weaves together the literary, medical, and military lore to give us a fascinating history of war neuroses and their treatment, from the World Wars through Vietnam and up to the Gulf War. The treatment of psychogenic trauma has attracted the most attention.
Second, the way in which the lessons from one war tended to be lost, forgotten, or ignored by the time of the next. Fourth, the ongoing tension between whether the purpose of treatment was to cure the individual and return him and it normally was 'him' in these times to a stable life, or whether it was mainly aimed at returning the man to the front line, to strengthen the armed forces, even if that meant he might well be killed. Ben Shephard was an English historian, author and television producer. Almost half the book focuses on the period 1914 to 1918, but there is also significant coverage of the Second World War. A statistical study of all patients in the aeromedical system who entered Travis Air Force Base during a six-month period reveals the percentage of psychiatric patients by individual military service and also the percentage of patients with psychoses, neuroses, and character disorders.
It is dense, but it is readable, and will take you through the variety of explanations and treatments for psychological trauma during the twentieth century. Are the limits of resistance determined by character, heredity, upbringing, ideology, or simple biochemistry? Shephard sees the social organization of the fighting units as especially significant in this regard, and makes his point convincingly in his analysis of the psychiatric impact of the battlefield replacement policies of the Americans and the British. Men who had hoped for years to become pilots were at times rejected seemingly arbitrarily -- including one whom the astute reader will notice was a relative of the author. Ben Shephard answers recurring questions about the effects of war. When the unconscio Joseph Heller seems to have truly hit the nail on the head as regards military psychiatry in his famous Catch-22 - 'anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy', and yet what could be more sane than wanting to escape a battlefield? A great read, of far greater value to someone like me trying to understand war inflicted psychosis than I thought it would be.
Military psychiatry has long been shrouded in misconception, and haunted by the competing demands of battle and of recovery. He provides just enough dialogue to address the history of each conflict and then quickly moves to the relevant medical approaches of that particular conflict. Another criticism, one Shephard again is well aware of, is the book's contracted viewpoint: that of fiercely Anglo-Saxon nature, limited to British and American responses to war. There are vivid accounts of the various battlefield environments—allied bomber crews, for example, suffered very high mortality—and the effects of military decisions on the mental conditions of soldiers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001. The main weakness is the absence of a concluding chapter, bringing the various threads and trends into some form of synthesis and looking forward to the future. Courage and Air Warfare describes the process of aircrew selection and classification, and the impact of combat on fliers and their units.
Yet rarely has there been a description of the stresses and traumatic experiences facing aircrews in times of war. Army must improve its Code of Conduct training methods. Why do some men crack and others not? He manages to link the various political, medical and military issues that each war produced and the solutions used by the hierarchy. A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century. Faced with the impossible logic of such a scenario, it is no wonder that so many soldiers throughout the years have developed a veritable cornucopia of psychological, psychosomatic and hysterical symptoms under the hell of warfare.
Four things stood out for me. Join Our Mailing List: to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests. Its understanding is still evolving in Afghanistan and Iraq, but this book is a good start. Nonetheless, a fascinating and sometimes disturbing read. Even without attention to such casualties, other medical care teams are often overwhelmed.
And not surprisingly, it does. Considering that the infantry along with the air and the naval forces have been and continue to be despatched with unending regularity across the globe, an evolving century-wide enquiry into what kind of psychological wounds the soldiers at the frontline have endured over the years should make for an interesting enough read. Military psychiatry has long been shrouded in misconception, and haunted by the competing demands of battle and of recovery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001. As a psychiatrist, I recognize accurate observation, meticulously sequenced in time and identifying patterns of concern.
Psychiatrists and the military have always had an awkward relationship, and one of the themes of this book is how military psychiatrists struggled to balance the needs of their individual patient with the requirements of the military and the war effort. Booksellers and Librarians: Our recent titles are available via. Third, the level of psychiatric casualties experienced in the Second World War, despite the greater understanding displayed in the British and American Armies. It spans eighty years and includes the two world wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and the wars in the Falklands and the Persian Gulf, although most of the book concerns British, American, and German psychiatry during the world wars. The result was the emergence of a new kind of casualty: masses of men exhibiting shocking symptoms, such as hysterical blindness, paralysis, stammering, loss of memory, and uncontrollable shaking, were suddenly thrown into military hospitals. Shephard does an especially good job in bringing these now-forgotten psychiatrists and neurologists out of the shadows—men like Roy Grinker in the United States and William Sargent in Britain, who profoundly shaped the perception and treatment of trauma during the war.
Shephard's curious inquest of sorts, which sees psychiatrists beginning to be recognised and finding themselves at the core of most of army procedures, details the intra-specialty and inter-professional politics involved at every stage of a soldier's journey: right from recruitment and selection to identification and treatment of war neuroses. Courage and Air Warfare: The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War. However ultimately the book ends on a bit of a negative which I agreed with that no particular treatment ultimately solved the issues encountered by soldiers having to go to war and the inevitable mental problems that would result. . Now, for the first time, we have a definitive history of this vital art and science, which illuminates the bumpy efforts to understand the ravages of war on the human mind, and points towards the true lessons to be learned from treating the aftermath of war. Wells has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of war and its effects on aircrews. Shepard's highly readable account examines the striking differences in how the three nations diagnosed, treated, and managed their psychiatric casualties.