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My Tour In Hell: A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma (Reflections of History, Vol. 1) [Paperback]

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Item description for My Tour In Hell: A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma (Reflections of History, Vol. 1) by David W. Powell...

David W. Powell enlisted for a tour of duty in April 1966 with the US Marines after receiving an imminent draft notice. Believing he would be able to leverage his existing skills as a computer programmer, he never thought all they would see on his resume was his Karate expertise. Even less that he would wind up serving as a Rocket man in the jungles of Da Nang and Chu Lai for a 13 month tour in hell.

David's journey from naive civilian to battle-hardened combat veteran shows us all how fragile our humanity really is. In addition to killing the enemy on the field of battle, he was witness to countless cruelties including murder both cold-blooded and casual, cowardice under fire, and a callous disregard for life beyond most people's imagination. With each new insult, he lost a little bit of his soul, clinging to his Bible as his only solace while equally certain of his own imminent demise.

Upon returning to civilian life after a two year enlistment, he found himself with nightmares during sleep, intrusive thoughts while awake, a hypervigilant stance combined with an exaggerated startle reaction, and a seeming inability to control basic emotions like anger and sadness.

The price he paid for what would only be diagnosed decades later as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was broken marriages and relationships, inability to hold down jobs leading to bankruptcy, alcohol abuse, and having to hide the service he willingly gave to his own country.

In 1989, David eventually recovered through a simple but powerful technique known as Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) and is now symptom-free. Not just for veterans, TIR has since been successfully applied to crime and motor vehicle accident victims, domestic violence survivors, and even children. His story shows what is possible for anyone who has suffered traumatic stress and that hope, healing, and recovery can be theirs too.

What People Are Saying About My Tour In Hell

"His autobiographical work is a must read for veterans who remain stuck between two worlds. Healing is not forgetting; healing is making sense of the past in order to live life in the present with a restored hope for the future. Powell articulates this process very well and has given a tremendous gift to the combat veteran community of any generation."
- Father Philip G. Salois, M.S., National Chaplain, Vietnam Veterans of America

"The connection of David's problems in his current life and his Viet Nam experiences is one of the clearest descriptions of how trauma affects our lives I have ever read. My Tour in Hell is a tribute to David's unwillingness to give up on himself in the face of great unhappiness."
-Laura W. Groshong, LICSW (Seattle, WA)

"Years in combat zones, group psychotherapy with combat vets diagnosed with PTSD and TIR training qualifies me to recommend this book. Those in the helping professions will learn how the negative emotional 'charge' of trauma can be partially or totally eliminated through the adept facilitation of Traumatic Incident Reduction."
-Sister Kateri Koverman, LISW, ICDC

"Powell presents a brutally honest and riveting account of one man's descent into the dehumanizing realities of war. However, the journey is worth it to relive his dramatic ascension and redemption from the abyss through the life changing, powerful, and therapeutic techniques of Traumatic Incident Reduction."
- Rev. James W. Clifton, LCSW, PhD

More Than A Memoir, My Tour In Hell includes

  • Photos taken by David's own camera in 1966 Vietnam
  • Study guide for clinical students
  • FAQ from the National Center for PTSD
  • Foreword by Tom Joyce outlining the etiology of PTSD
  • Suggested Reading list

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    Item Specifications...

    Pages   208
    Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.5"
    Weight:   0.65 lbs.
    Binding  Softcover
    Release Date   Jan 17, 2007
    Publisher   Modern History Press
    ISBN  1932690239  
    ISBN13  9781932690231  

    Availability  125 units.
    Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2016 03:51.
    Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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    Product Categories

    1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
    2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Military > General
    3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Biographies
    4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > Stress > Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    5Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Vietnam > General
    6Books > Subjects > History > Military > Vietnam War

    Reviews - What do customers think about My Tour In Hell: A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma (Reflections of History, Vol. 1)?

    Something all Americans should read  Apr 28, 2008
    Reviewed by Gina Holland for RebeccasReads (5/08)

    "My Tour in Hell," is just like the title says. These are the memories of David Powell's tragic events, of a man who served in Vietnam, and they are not only tragic, but are also something that I would not have imagined. This man goes through some of the most traumatic events that I have ever read or heard about. While I was reading this I felt as though I was actually inside his head and going through the same horrific things that he was going through. This war caused this man to have doubts about himself, his manhood, his religion and other things that no man should have doubts about.

    Though it was Powell's choice to enlist, despite the fact that he was twenty-five and married, you realize that it was because he wanted to get it over with and get on with his career. His thoughts were that he was going to go in early and fight for his country and maybe go home with honor and dignity. Not only did he leave with tragic memories but also memories that would almost ruin his life. The accounts of murders and tortures that was seen in this novel, is not only horrendous but mind-wrenching as well. Mr. David Powell, is not only a strong man, but was a strong young man and I, as a citizen of the United States, am proud of him for what he did, what he accomplished and am very grateful that he came out of the whole situation alive. How awful it must be, to watch children die, to watch children fight, to watch children be used a pawns in the game of war.

    David lets us in on his own personal trauma and I for one am grateful that he chose to share his experience with us. I was not aware of the close-up tragedies that take place in wars. I've never been there, but David brought us up-close and front-center, into a very, very horrific situation, and I commend him for being strong and making his way out alive. I hope that David's life is better for him now.

    "My Tour in Hell" is something that all of America must read. It shows just how much our young soldiers do for us and for their country. It makes us wonder, if those young people deserve to go through hell like David did. Luckily, David came out okay, but lost a lot of things in his life. This novel can be read by young adults and adults. The pictures would not be suitable for young children. I for one, thank you David for writing this story and sharing with us. You have made your point of showing the world, just how truly horrible war and fighting can be. Good luck in your future.
    Excellent Autobiography of Vietnam Marine and PTSD  Mar 29, 2008
    My Tour in Hell: A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma
    David W. Powell
    Modern History Press (2006)
    ISBN: 9781932690221

    Although a history buff, the Vietnam War is one area I have avoided studying simply because I felt it could only be depressing. I was surprised and re-educated about that simple belief by David Powell's autobiography of his tour in Vietnam and how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected his life after he returned home. "My Tour in Hell: A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma" retells one marine's experiences on a personal and honest level that makes the reader understand the decisions made by American soldiers, often against their better wishes, and how their time serving their country was both unappreciated and misunderstood.

    Most of "My Tour in Hell" is Powell detailing his tour of duty in Vietnam. I was instantly surprised that he only spent thirteen months in Vietnam--the typical length for a marine's tour of duty. I had expected the average Vietnam Veteran had spent several years as a soldier. Nevertheless, the time Powell spent and the experiences he had were enough to make anyone have PTSD. Powell faithfully and truthfully exposes his personality flaws and strengths as he recounts his experiences. The book opens with his first day in the field and the fear he felt. He then discusses various patrols and operations in which he was involved. His memory of events is excellent, and I was fascinated by his experiences several times of seeing events in slow-motion when something traumatic happened such as his watching an atrocity or realizing he was being shot. I had not known that slow-motion, so often depicted in films, was an actual human experience. I realize better now how the constant stress of potentially being attacked can cause disorientation, fear and even the sense of time nearly stopping.

    Powell's experiences are all the stronger because he questioned his Christian faith during his tour. He asks himself how he can kill people, especially those not directly attacking him, and he comes to reconcile himself to shooting the enemy because they would kill him or his comrades if given the chance. At the same time, he is disgusted by his fellow soldiers' behavior, such as sharing a Viet Cong nurse whom they take turns raping before killing her. Powell discusses how difficult he found it to befriend his comrades because he feared being distracted by worrying about them, thereby putting himself at greater risk. When he breaks his own rule, he hurts all the more when his friend is killed. Powell discusses all these events without being overly emotional in his descriptions, but the pain he felt comes through perhaps stronger because of the scarcity of words.

    PTSD became part of Powell's life almost from his first day in Vietnam. When he was on leave, he could not function normally in an airport from fear of the people around him. When he returns home, he finds himself unable to confront people from fear and distrust, resulting in failed marriages and frequent career changes.

    The purpose of Powell's book is not only to detail his war experiences but also to explain how he was diagnosed with PTSD and how the use of Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) helped him deal with his emotions and reactions to other people. While he gives us details about his treatment, I felt the book ended a bit too quickly, and I would have liked to hear his overall conclusions about his experiences and why he decided to write his story, but I don't think any reader will doubt the importance of Powell's story and how it adds to our knowledge of what it is to suffer from PTSD.

    "My Tour in Hell" also provides several useful appendices, beginning with a study guide of questions for each chapter of the book to help people reflect on Powell's experiences. In addition, the appendices include Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD (including definitions and statistics relevant not only to veterans but civilians who have undergone traumas such as natural disasters or being raped) and a glossary of Vietnam War terminology.

    "My Tour in Hell" is an extremely readable and informative memoir about a Vietnam soldier's experience. I appreciate that Powell was honest and straightforward without sensationalizing the Vietnam War. Squeamish readers will not find it gory or difficult to read, and they will come away with greater understanding and appreciation of the military men and women who serve this country. When Powell returned from his tour of duty, he told his wife, "I want to have someone, anyone, hug me and say `welcome: all is forgiven.'" With "My Tour in Hell" Powell has found that forgiveness and been able to tell a story the American public has waited too long to understand.

    - Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., author of The Marquette Trilogy
    So Sad, yet So Hopeful!  Jul 6, 2007
    David Powell's book "My Tour In Hell" broke my heart. This well written account of a, may I say, sensitive young man having to find a way to deal with being thrown into a hell-ish situation. The amazing thing is that it did not break him. May this book, and David's story, be a testament for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as any other traumatic stituation, that it is worth it to travel the path towards healing.

    Quynn Elizabeth, author of "Accepting the Ashes- A Daughter's Look at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder"

    Still suffering emotional fallout from the past? Read this book.  Dec 20, 2006
    Echoing Mr. Vaknin's five stars, I would also assert that the images of war and PTSD, while poignant and moving, are secondary in this volume to the "way out." Far more than a mere glimpse of hope, Powell's overriding point seems to be that Traumatic Incident Reduction, in fact, does "take the war out of the soldier." That's life-saving information for those who continue to suffer the past (i.e. most of us!), military and civilian "warriors" alike.
    A Vietnam Veteran's Battle with PTSD - A Success Story!  Dec 14, 2006

    Author David W. Powell was a U.S. Marine enlisted man who saw his share of combat in Vietnam around the same time period that I did in late 1966 - 67. He writes a moving chronicle of his experiences there and his subsequent return back to civilian life in his book "My Tour In Hell - A Marine's Battle with Combat Trauma."

    The story of his life is at times, hard hitting, sad, remorseful, angry and lonely. But always hidden in the fabric of his tale, you will find hope. He may have been traumatized by battles and war and much worse - but he continues to move forward looking for his life's purpose. He doesn't give up when others may have thrown in the towel. His story is about a man who had his compassion and faith almost destroyed by events beyond his control. His reactions lead to self-destructive behaviors as he tried to self-medicate his feelings, fears and depression with booze and activity.

    There is an inner spiritual hunger that Powell had, and still has, that keeps him pushing onward with his life in spite of how he was feeling, or being treated by the world around him. You can feel his heart reaching out to be "hugged" and appreciated. He seems to find rejection, lack of compassion in others and very little understanding of what he went through and was feeling. That is why his struggles for loving acceptance and for inner peace strike the reader so powerfully.

    I could feel his pain and know how he felt with the homecoming reception he got when he returned. I think almost every Vietnam veteran can identify with the massive social rejection we received. That was the worse part for us young men coming home. I think we could have lived without parades but most of us did not even get loving hugs from our own families. No one wanted to listen to our stories about what happened to us. And no one ever asked how we really felt emotionally. I think Powell's book speaks not only for his own personal life experiences, but they also speak out for a generation of warriors like him. His voice needs to be heard and responded to before we lose another generation of veterans coming home from wars in the Middle East.

    This book should be required reading by all those who were around in the 1960's and 1970's that they may fully understand the sacrifices that these American heroes gave so bravely of themselves. Those peace marching heroes of the "hippie generation" will never be able to walk in their shadow. These men were America's best! So on behalf of all veterans, I say to the author and the others who served, "Welcome Home!"

    This book is highly recommended for those who are personally dealing with any combat trauma (PTSD) and for their families and friends so they can achieve some level of real understanding and compassion for what it means. This book is well written. The author writes in a style that makes it both easy to read and understand. He tells his story in a brutally honest manner - even when it does not shine a good light on his own actions or thoughts. His book will change lives and will bring some veterans in for help.

    This book is highly recommended and is given The Military Writer's Society of America's Highest Book Rating of FIVE STARS!

    This book also receives my personal endorsement. Buy it. Read it. Then share it with those who need assistance in finding their way home!

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