Library Journal-Broken Bodies/Shattered Minds

June 3, 2011 — Print this Page

Pediatrician Glasser, whose best-selling 1971 memoir, 365 Days, recounted his experiences as an army physician during the Vietnam era, updates his earlier observations with this disturbing exploration of the medical aspects of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, where explosives are the enemies’ weapons of choice. Survivors of these improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and suicide bombs may suffer massive injuries, amputations, and brain damage, requiring years, if not lifetimes, of expensive treatment. Other explosive injuries to the brain are subtle and difficult to detect without advanced imaging equipment. Glasser argues convincingly that the effects of surviving repeated shock waves contribute to soldiers’ and veterans’ high rates of prescription drug addiction, suicide, and debilitating post-traumatic stress syndrome. The tragic human cost of such injuries is paralleled by our mounting financial obligation to provide lifelong care for the ever-growing number of returning soldiers. VERDICT Glasser writes with a passion that challenges those who might wish to avoid the harsh medical and social costs of current warfare. General readers will find themselves engrossed in his accounts of the spirit, creativity, and heroism of our soldiers and the medics, nurses, and physicians who care for them.

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