From Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Wood, a battlefield view of moral injury, the signature wound of America's 21st-century wars.
Most Americans are now familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its prevalence among troops. In this groundbreaking new audiobook, David Wood examines the far more pervasive yet less understood experience of those we send to war: moral injury, the violation of our fundamental values of right and wrong that so often occurs in the impossible moral dilemmas of modern conflict. Featuring portraits of combat veterans and leading mental health researchers, along with Wood's personal observations of war and the young Americans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, What Have We Done offers an unflinching look at war and those who volunteer for it: the thrill and pride of service and, too often, the scars of moral injury.
Impeccably researched and deeply personal, What Have We Done is a compassionate, finely drawn study of modern war and those caught up in it. It is a call to acknowledge our newest generation of veterans by listening intently to them and absorbing their stories and, as new wars approach, to ponder the inevitable human costs of putting American boots on the ground.
I have followed David Wood's writing and work for several years now, and here is another example of why he is a Pulitzer Prize recipient for his work. Even though I have the book in print, I really wanted to hear the story with my ears as if he were telling it to me. In fact, David does narrate Chapter 2! I have studied and followed the phenomenon of Moral Injury for many years as it has emerged from the shadows of PTSD in Veterans. While Moral Injury is an integral part of the PTSD experience, it is also it's own set of triggers for behavioral health issues and social problems. The title "What Have We Done", is so appropriate here because we really have to ask ourselves what exactly have we really done. There are sooooo many opinions out there about just wars, volunteer military, heroism, psychological damage, etc. that focus on those symptoms and reactions that are in response to a traumatic incident or situation. When we talk about Moral Injury, we are talking about something that goes much deeper into the souls of the warfighter, contradicting everything that person was taught in their young life about right and wrong. This is how we start to believe we are bad people and don't deserve to have survived. WE have to start listening to these people and doing something with what they are telling us. I am a Veteran- a combat Veteran, and there is nothing in this book that speaks falsely of our duty and obligation to those who come home from war believing they will go to Hell for what they did in combat. If I were teaching graduate therapists or any person who plans to work in behavioral health, this wold be required reading hands down.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I typically do not enjoy books by journalists because they are regurgitating other people's thoughts. However these are thoughts that need to be regurgitated.
A must read for all Americans concerned with government violence
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Wishing I were better with words, This is a great book so many things I all ready understood and many I hadn’t stopped to think about. I am so grateful to have experienced this story to now fully understand the importance of purely listening Really listening
And without judgment
What disappointed you about What Have We Done?
Only talked about how god can help you with any problems. No real solutions to people who have experienced combat and looking for coping mechanisms or solutions, just pray it away. David Wood should be ashamed to propagate religion as the answers to problems of PTSD and morality.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Your Best Brain: The Science of Brain Improvement
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Narrator was fine just no depth in topic.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Anger. I was looking for a good recollection on how to deal with issues instead I was sold religion.