The history of the government's treatment of returning combat veterans has been long absent from the public's awareness. Lately, a plethora of documentaries presenting the wounded veterans' plights are currently making their way into the American public's consciousness. After their initial treatments, the wounded service members from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face an ongoing battle to receive appropriate care and financial assistance. The Department of Veteran Affairs has historically been drastically under funded, under staffed, and overworked. The costs and consequences of war are unpredictable. America is unprepared.
A book most relevant to the current situation of our government's treatment of the homecoming warrior is Soldier's Heart by Lee Burkins. This book is possibly the most honest inquiry of war and its consequent trauma ever written by a combat soldier. Burkins, a former Green Beret, writes with the emotional firepower of an automatic weapon. Novelistic in nature, Soldier's Heart weaves and braids the grime, blood, and guts of the experience of war with the world's past historical treatment of the warrior returned home. He humorously reveals the uncompromising assault he and a handful of pugnacious veterans made upon the bureaucracy's neglect of the combatants. Sit in a Veterans rap group, walk the jungles with the tribal warriors Burkins led in combat and follow the inner world of a warrior's struggle to comprehend the reasons behind humanity's penchant for war and the government's reluctance to acknowledge the trauma now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (
A story from Soldier's Heart was presented as a documentary on the History Channel