The invisible front Love and loss in an era of endless war

Yochi Dreazen

Book - 2014

"The story of Army Major General Mark Graham and his wife Carol, whose two sons are both military men. Their sons pass (one from suicide, one in combat), and the Grahams' grief sheds light on military culture, and society's struggle to come to terms with the death of our soldiers"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Crown 2014.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 306 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes index.
ISBN
9780385347839
0385347839
Main Author
Yochi Dreazen (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

A decorated two-star officer, Maj. Gen. Mark Graham lost both his soldier sons, but the death of one by his own hand was treated very differently from the other's death in combat. He and his wife have since advocated for suicide prevention and the compassionate treatment of the families involved. Top-ranked military journalist Dreazen brings us the story. [Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Dreazen (editor, Foreign Policy), who specializes in covering military affairs, looks at issues of mental health care and treatment in the army. He argues that the army's traditional system of negatively casting mental health issues as potential liabilities has created a situation that puts both soldiers and civilians at risk. The narrative focuses on a story of loss, that of the Graham family, whose one son was fatally wounded by an IED in Iraq and the other committed suicide after serving in the ROTC. The author carefully describes the impact mental health has on one's service in the military and the struggles survivors and sufferers alike experience. By emphasizing the response of patriarch Mark Graham, an army general devoted to changing the stigma of mental illness on the bases under his command, Dreazen presents one possible future for a military that accepts mental health issues on the same footing as physical health concerns. VERDICT Mental health care workers, sociologists, and military historians will find this book a useful first step in a much larger conversation. Readers dealing with mental health issues can take comfort in knowing they are not alone, and others may find motivation in the stories Dreazen relates to help generate change.—Elizabeth Zeitz, Otterbein Univ. Lib., Westerville, OH [Page 94]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Dreazen, deputy editor of Foreign Policy, offers up an often painful family story involving recently retired U.S. Army General Mark Graham, his wife, Carol, and their sons, Jeff and Kevin—both of whom served in the military. Kevin, the high-achieving middle child who suffered from depression, hung himself in 2003. Less than a year later, Jeff was killed in action while serving as an Army officer in Iraq. After Kevin's suicide the Grahams devoted themselves to making the Army more responsive to mental illness within its ranks. Dreazen makes a convincing case that Mark Graham's persistence in working on suicide prevention, PTSD treatment, and other issues put a premature end to his military career when he was he was passed over for a third star. Since Mark Graham's retirement in 2012, he and his wife have devoted themselves to working for organizations dedicated to military suicide prevention. In telling this story, Dreazen leans heavily on the hundreds of hours of interviews he conducted with the Grahams and their friends and family. The result is a journalistic tale that shines a revealing—and a disturbing—light on the ongoing emotional legacy of America's two most recent wars. Agent: Gary Morris, David Black Literary Agency. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"The story of Army Major General Mark Graham and his wife Carol, whose two sons are both military men. Their sons pass (one from suicide, one in combat), and the Grahams' grief sheds light on military culture, and society's struggle to come to terms withthe death of our soldiers"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An award-winning journalist traces the story of how a military family has channeled grief into advocacy on behalf of victims of mental illness in the aftermath of losing one of their sons in a roadside bombing and the other to suicide. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Traces the story of how Army Major General Mark Graham and his wife Carol have channeled grief into advocacy on behalf of victims of mental illness in the aftermath of losing one of their sons in a roadside bombing and the other to suicide.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The unforgettable story of a military family that lost two sons—one to suicide and one in combat—and channeled their grief into fighting the armed forces’ suicide epidemic.Major General Mark Graham was a decorated two-star officer whose integrity and patriotism inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. His wife Carol was a teacher who held the family together while Mark's career took them to bases around the world. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other—Kevin commits suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq—Mark and Carol are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons’ deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin’s death is met with silence, evidence of the terrible stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Mark and Carol commit themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their lives.The Invisible Front is the story of how one family tries to set aside their grief and find purpose in almost unimaginable loss. The Grahams work to change how the Army treats those with PTSD and to erase the stigma that prevents suicidal troops from getting the help they need before making the darkest of choices. Their fight offers a window into the military’s institutional shortcomings and its resistance to change – failures that have allowed more than 2,000 troops to take their own lives since 2001. Yochi Dreazen, an award-winning journalist who has covered the military since 2003, has been granted remarkable access to the Graham family and tells their story in the full context of two of America’s longest wars. Dreazen places Mark and Carol’s personal journey, which begins when they fall in love in college and continues through the end of Mark's thirty-four year career in the Army, against the backdrop of the military’s ongoing suicide spike, which shows no signs of slowing. With great sympathy and profound insight,The Invisible Front details America's problematic treatment of the troops who return from war far different than when they'd left and uses the Graham family’s work as a new way of understanding the human cost of war and its lingering effects off the battlefield.