War of Nerves by Ben Shephard
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War of Nerves
By Ben Shephard

A War of Nerves

Soldiers and Psychiatrists, 1914-1994

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Format: Paperback

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War of Nerves by Ben Shephard

Book Description

I wish you could be here," the Oxford Professor of Medicine wrote to a friend in 1915, "in this orgy of neuroses and psychoses and gaits and paralyses. I cannot imagine what has got into the central nervous system of the men.' A War of Nerves is a history of military psychiatry in the twentieth century - an authoritative, accessible account drawing on a vast range of diaries, interviews, medical papers and official records. It reaches back to the moment when the technologies of modern warfare and the disciplines of mental medicine first confronted each other on the Western Front, and traces their uneasy relationship through the eras of 'shell-shock', combat fatigue and 'post-traumatic stress disorder'. At once absorbing historical narrative and intellectual detective story, it tells the full story of 'shell-shock'; explains the disastrous psychological aftermath of Vietnam; and shows how psychiatrists kept men fighting in Burma. But it also tries to answer recurring questions about the effects of war. Why do some men crack and others not? Are the limits of resistance determined by character, heredity, upbringing, ideology or simple biochemistry? It explores the ethical dilemmas of the military psychiatrist - the 'machine gun behind the front', as Freud called him. Finally, it looks at the modern culture of 'trauma' and compensation spawned by the Vietnam War. A War of Nerves offers the general reader an indispensable guide to an important and controversial subject.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780712667838
ISBN-10: 0712667830
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 153mm x 38mm)
Pages: 512
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Ben Shephard

Headhunters by Ben Shephard Headhunters, Paperback (June 2015)

How did the human brain evolve? Why did it evolve as it did? What is man's place in evolution? This book explores the big ideas about the brain, the nervous system and man's place in history. It reveals how science actually works - the passions, the irrational flashes, the moments of insight; the big ideas that work and turn out to be wrong.

Oil in Uganda: International Lessons for Success by Ben Shephard Oil in Uganda: International Lessons for Success, Paperback (January 2013)

The oil era is dawning in Uganda. It has the potential to accelerate development and drive the country's transformation into a regional - and even global - economic player. But oil also brings risks: of eroding the relationship between people and government, of economic distortion, of increased corruption, and of internal tensions.

After Daybreak by Ben Shephard After Daybreak, Paperback (October 2012)

A story of the men and women who faced that challenge - the army stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers, medical students and relief workers who worked to save the inmates of Belsen - with the war still raging and only the most primitive drugs and facilities available. It was, for all of them, an overwhelming experience.

Long Road Home by Ben Shephard Long Road Home, Paperback / softback (February 2012)

Pbk. reprint of 1st American ed. published by Knopf in 2011.

» View all books by Ben Shephard


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Author Biography - Ben Shephard

Ben Shephard read History at Oxford University. He was a Producer on the television series The World at War and The Nuclear Age and has made numerous historical and scientific documentaries for the BBC and Channel Four. He is the author of the critically acclaimed A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists 1914-1994 and After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945. He lives in Bristol.

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