JENN K. – Shellshocked Marine – Post 3

As the same with last week, I spent the first part of this week reviewing the comment Dr. Renoff left on my post last week. Two interesting things he included were the mention of Charlie Daniels hit single, “Still in Saigon” released in 1982. Also released that year was the movie First Blood. The reason these two facts are interesting is that both center on this idea of PTSD. While the Charlie Daniels song offers the facts and some of the issues that returning soldiers and marines dealt with it was instead the popular image of the “ticking time bomb” embodied by John Rambo that gained traction with the American populous during the aftermath of the war. The first book sourced by Dr. Renoff has an interesting quote from the Army Councilor Myers, “…shellshock symptoms were not new. They were just like the symptoms shown by survivors of industrial accidents or natural disasters,” (Winter 137). Myers made this comment in 1916 following World War I, yet for most of the medical community this connection either was lost to time or forgotten by the time of Vietnam. They did not have direct experience with it so to them it could not be a lasting issue, instead merely one that resolved itself relatively quickly once removed from the traumatic situation. The other source posted by Dr. Renoff referred to a specific page within a work, which also describes shellshock in Vietnam. This new diagnosis of PTSD within the American Psychiatric Association connected two communities suffering from similar anxieties, rape victims and Vietnam veterans. Sherman states this concerning PTSD, “[PTSD], a disorder specific neither to that population nor to combat exposure in general. It is diagnosed in men, women, and children,” (Sherman 123). Yet this official admission in 1980 of PTSD as a medical condition does not mean that it is a new creation, rather this problem has been around since the dawn of man, even if it took this long officially to define it.

As for my own research I received many of my books through SWAN this week. The one I was most excited to receive had to be the book of Don McCullin’s photography. In his book titled Don McCullin Sleeping with Ghosts: A Life’s Work in Photography Don separates his life out into his separate campaigns. Each section begins with a small introduction written by Don, and then followed with his photographs, which as seen from the “Shell-shocked US Marine, Hue, Vietnam” speak for themselves. Granted because this book is predominantly photos it cannot speak too much to the feelings of Don McCullin, although the introduction by Mark Haworth-Booth offers a different perspective on Mr. McCullin, one of someone who knew him personally. This isn’t much, but later this week I will begin my analysis over a more major source by Don McCullin, his autobiography, Unreasonable Behavior.

Sources:

McCullin, Don. Don McCullin Sleeping with Ghosts: A Life’s Work in Photography. London: Jonathan Cape, 1994. Print.

Sherman, Nancy. Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

Winter, Denis. Death’s Men: Soldiers of the Great War. London: Allen Lane, 1978. Print.

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