Many Canadians are vaguely aware of the military's steady involvement in overseas operations over the past 20 years. For many soldiers, however, memories of these places torment them daily. They are haunted; they are changed from who they were as proud men and women. How do we support these soldiers to find their way back home? The story of Master Corporal Billy Reardon is an intimate portrayal of his journey from young man to mentally wounded military veteran. We see the world through his eyes as the toll of his deployments mount and as he struggles within the mental health system. We also see him find recovery and reconnection to the military brotherhood along with other veterans. Billy's story raises questions about the roles of front-line leadership and challenges health providers to develop an intimate understanding of military culture as a prerequisite to assisting traumatized veterans and their families.
With a powerful sense of time and place, Going Crazy In The Green Machine by John J Whelan brings the often lost aftermath of war into sharp focus. It’s devoid of trite cliché and in many ways is a quiet, thoughtful narrative that patiently tells its story without ever losing the thread of a tale we must never forget. That of Master Corporal Billy Reardon and countless more whose lives are irrevocably transformed by their experiences. It’s a story that has been told many times over in a multitude of mediums, yet few have managed to capture the poignancy of Whelan’s telling. It’s about a soldier, but more importantly a human being struggling to make sense of something that to the vast majority will remain unknowable. Whelan conveys this in realistically painful terms from a fictional viewpoint, but his social commentary is incredibly thought provoking and the reader is unable to escape the realisation that no one returns from war the same person. Whelan certainly has his own highly personal and informed perspective. He’s seen the harsh realities PTSD and is at the frontline in treating proud men and women who have given above and beyond anything society in general could ever experience.
Well written and highly thought provoking, few readers will remain untouched by Going Crazy in the Green Machine. An absolute must read, it is recommended without reservation
Excited to read the review of the book by BookViral
John J. Whelan
John J. Whelan, Ph.D., is the author of Going Crazy in the Green Machine, available now on FriesenPress.