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The first book to explore the idea and effect of moral injury on veterans, their families, and their communities.
Although veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans’ experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of moral transgression includes feelings of shame, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs. Soul Repair will help veterans, their families, members of their communities, and chaplains to understand the impact of war on the consciences of healthy people, to support the recovery of moral conscience in society, and to restore veterans to civilian life. When a society sends people off to war, it must accept responsibility for returning them home to peace.
“Those you send to war may come home with souls unclean and hearts drowning in bitter mistrust. But the need for purification after battle has vanished into the blind spot of our culture. We neither offer it to returning veterans, nor remember that we–for whose sake, in whose name, our soldiers went to war–need purification with them. Potent challengers of conventional thinking, rich in heart, those who speak here are voices you will not forget.” –Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, former Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership, US Army War College, MacArthur Fellow
"Very important and deeply moving. I strongly recommend it.”–James H. Cone, author of The Cross and the Lynching Tree