Book review— Reconciliation – A Son’s Story (***** 5 Star) by Charles Lanman
I am an early baby boomer born in 1945 just days after WWII ended. Both my uncle and father participated in that war. My uncle retired an admiral but was captain of a destroyer which was severely damaged by torpedo in the Pacific Theater of WWII. As a young child I remember him telling me stories of that fateful day and his efforts that saved the ship and brought it back safely but not without loss of life and severe injuries. It was my first understanding of the tragedies of war and, while devastating, it instilled in me an interest in war and it’s effects on the millions of people who have been impacted over my 65+ year history on earth and even before (I have always had an interest in and studied the US Civil War) I have followed closely the major conflicts in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The casualty counts in these wars have been horrific. Mostly all we hear about are the physical destruction of life and limb (those killed in action and wounded) via the daily counts as published on the internet or newspapers. Until recently we rarely have been exposed to the psychological impacts of war that have had major devastating effects on individuals and families lives. As indicated in the book these have always been referred to as “Battle Fatigue” I have heard stories, seen some movies on the topic and maybe read a few articles but nothing as enlightening and definitive as this portrayed by author Steve Sparks in this telling expose on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mr. Sparks does a masterful job of bringing to light the destructive effects of PTSD by reliving his own lifelong experiences with the disease and its impact on him, his family, career, and society. Not only do we learn of the struggles and exponential damage this disease has caused but on the positive side we also learn ways in how to cope with PTSD and more importantly key lessons learned in this author’s experiences in the healing, hope and path to self discovery. This is a timely narrative. I would highly recommend it to any of the 8 million servicemen and their families who have either experienced PTSD or may yet experience it. The book could provide some valuable understanding and long overdue closure or, better yet, stave off a lifelong struggle in having to deal with the destructive impact of this crippling disease.