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The "Odyssey," Shay argues, offers explicit portrayals of behavior common among returning soldiers in our own culture -- danger-seeking, womanizing, explosive violence, drug abuse, visitation by the dead, obsession, vagrancy, and homelessness. Supporting his reading with examples from his fifteen-year practice treating Vietnam combat veterans, Shay shows how Odysseus's mistrustfulness, his lies, and his constant need to conceal his thoughts and emotions foreshadow the experiences of many of today's veterans. Throughout, Homer strengthens our understanding of what a combat veteran must overcome to return to and flourish in civilian life, just as the heartbreaking stories of the veterans Shay treats give us a new understanding of one of the world's greatest classics.
With a foreword by Vietnam veteran U.S. Senators John McCain and Max Cleland, representing bipartisan support for what Dr. Shay is trying to accomplish, "Odysseusin America" is an impassioned and cogent plea to renovate American military institutions -- and a brilliant rereading of Homer's epic.
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