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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2015
  • B0163HQZMK
  • 226 pages
  • $7.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2015
  • 9781517180515
  • 224 pages
  • $14.95
Dan Sheehan
Author
Continuing Actions: A Warrior's Guide to Coming Home
Dan Sheehan, author
Modern warriors are extremely well prepared to go into combat. But we don't know anything about how to come home. Continuing Actions aims to fix this problem. Throughout history, returning veterans have always faced challenges readjusting to life after war. But these challenges are not mentioned in the modern warrior's preparation for combat. This lack of knowledge leaves returning veterans, and their families, exposed to needless injuries and pain. Continuing Actions is written by a veteran, for veterans. It shows how post-combat adjustment challenges have always followed warriors home, shows how our modern approach to dealing with these challenges is inadequate, and then provides pragmatic solutions for how we, as individual veterans, can learn to deal with them ourselves.
Reviews
Not every returning veteran has full-blown PTSD, but many, if not most, experience a difficult transition from active duty to civilian life. Sheehan (After Action) here creates a manual for them. His theory is that the return is every bit as much a part of the warrior’s journey as training and active duty. Influenced by Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the hero’s journey, he believes there is an “absence of guidance for the final stage of this journey.” Analogizing the process to a military operation, he suggests that much of what soldiers experience in uniform can help them out of it. The key is reversing the compartmentalization that soldiers in combat need to survive—at home, compartmentalization can wreak havoc. However, the author warns, “Some memories need to be treated like the HAZMAT they are.” Self-care, buddy-care, and professional help are the “framework for safety” necessary to manage the “danger involved with excavating the emotions and reactions of our past.” Ultimately, the book reminds those who may experience a loss of identity when they leave active duty that they remain trained soldiers who know how to identify and destroy the enemies keeping them from their objectives. This is a useful, no-nonsense guide. (BookLife)
Tom Ricks, ForeignPolicy.com

On Saturday I picked up Continuing Actions, by Dan Sheehan. It had been sent as a gift, so out of courtesy I thought I should at least take a look. (I get about one book a day in the mail.)

Yow.

I wound up reading it in one sitting. It is really good, one of the best things I’ve read about coming home from war. It is much less clinical than most books and much more straight talk.

Two things set it apart: First, it is written by a Marine for soldiers and Marines. Example: You’re so jarhead tough you think you don’t have to discuss your emotions? “Get over it. This shit is real, it can really destroy you and your family, and you have to get over this hang-up about ‘emotions’ and move on.”

Second, it emphasizes that coming home is an essential part of the warrior’s journey. Compartmentalization was necessary for surviving in combat. But now it keeps you wired up. So de-compartmentalization is required to mentally come all the way home.

You’re not a syndrome, he argues. You’re a warrior who went through some defining moments and now you need to understand them. Right now you’re hunkered down behind the hesco barriers on your mental FOB, taking indirect fire from self-doubt, anxiety, depression, guilt and rage. You’ve learned some uncomfortable things about humankind and maybe about yourself. He writes of a friend who had to make a quick decision in combat. “His conscious decision to kill the boy was in direct conflict with his self-image as a good, caring person. The fact that the boy lived didn’t matter in the least. He’d made the decision to kill him—and now he knew what he was capable of.”

You need to get outside the wire and conduct patrols to deal with those things, he advises. Until you do that, you’re gonna be screwed up. “If you spend your life hiding behind a mask of strength, Hollywood heroism, or some shallow concept of warrior-hood, then nobody will ever truly know you.”

His recommendations also differ in some ways from the clinicians. Instead of seeing risk-taking activities such as parachuting or motorcycle racing as things to be avoided, he sees them as necessary—as long as they are done right. These people are natural risk takers, he notes. “The activity should be enough to give you the tingle of danger, not the intensity of actually dancing with death. You’ve done that and survived.”

He offers some very specific steps about how to proceed, and also some guardrails about when to call in a friend or a professional for help.

--Tom Ricks, Bestselling author of Fiasco, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, contributing editor at Foreign Policy Magazine, and Senior Advisor on National Security at The New America Foundation.

News
04/07/2016
"Continuing Actions" Wins Bronze IPPY Award

Continuing Actions: A Warrior's Guide to Coming Home won a Bronze Medal in the 2016 Independent Publishers Book Awards, "Psychology" category.

04/10/2016
"Continuing Actions" Wins Gold Nautilus Award

Continuing Actions: A Warrior's Guide to Coming Home won Gold in the 2015 Nautilus Book Awards, "Personal Growth" category.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 10/2015
  • B0163HQZMK
  • 226 pages
  • $7.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 09/2015
  • 9781517180515
  • 224 pages
  • $14.95

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