Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jonathan Shay wins MacArthur grant

Psychiatrist Jonathan Shay has been awarded a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation grant. Dr. Shay works with Vietnam veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. And he's the author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, books that find in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey patterns of experience that shape the lives of Vietnam-era veterans with PTSD. These books will teach you more about the trauma of war, ancient and modern, than you might want to know.

Dr. Shay's hope is that centuries of effort will lead to the elimination of war as a human practice. As he writes in Odysseus in America,

The original Abolitionists understood that their work would take more than one lifetime. They passed it as a heritage to their children. In the words of the Talmud, "You are not expected to finish the job, but neither are you free to lay it down."

Psychiatrist treated veterans using Homer; work made him MacArthur fellow (Boston Globe)
Achilles in Vietnam (Amazon)
Odysseus in America (Amazon)

comments: 4

Diana said...

I found this post fascinating and have added Shay's books to my (hopelessly long) reading list. The titles alone provided much fodder for thought.

Michael Leddy said...

Hi, Diana. Shay's great; Achilles in Vietnam does more than anything else I've read to clarify what happens in the Iliad.

John Guzlowski said...

Post Traumatic Stress is real.

My parents were both in Nazi concentration camps in World War II.

There was not a day -- after the war -- when that they didn't suffer.


My father self-medicated with alcohol, and after he had to stop drinking in his 60s, he saw a psychiatrist. Even with that, the war was always there in nightmares, alienation, restlessness, silence, and fear.

My mother lived her life in fear and anger. She was afraid of everything, and her response to that was anger and brutality and violence.

If you can do something to promote peace, please don't hesitate.

Michael Leddy said...

Thank you, John.