• Shell Shock by Neil Blower.

    This is an easy read whilst being a difficult read. OK, I know that is a contradiction, but keep following and hopefully it will make sense.

    The book is a (fictional) diary of a squaddy, returned from Afghanistan and other places and begins with him leaving the army. Tommy (the character) is full of optimism, hope and trust, and why should he not be? He has faithfully served his country, fought for it and suffered for it. Sadly, his country doesn't give much of a toss.

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    The book is written in diary form and reads like a long version of this site's Naafi bar. It covers his arrival home, his relationship with his parents and his girlfriend. More importantly, it chronicles his downward spiral.

    It doesn't take long for Tommy to realise that life in civvy street is vastly different from army life, and that it is a cold and harsh world, with none of the safety nets that serving soldiers take for granted. That is not meant to be patronising or critical, just a statement of fact. Trust me, you will see as you read the diary.

    This book is crude and coarse, but also one of the most touching tales I have read in a very long time. There are passages that could - bugger it - did bring a lump to my throat and dust motes in the eyes.

    It's a book that is very relevant for any serving soldier. Or sailor. Possibly even for the airmen too. It's a book that hits hard and deep, yet it is laced with humour and wit. Reading this book I found elements of my inner self that I could identify with, and I know that the younger and more current crop of squaddies will recognise a lot of themselves in it.

    I must stress that this book deals with the effects of PTSD, it even gives a handy guide to recognising the symptoms, and what is more important, this book is dedicated to promoting the most essential work of 'Combat Stress'. Indeed 1 from every copy sold goes to that organisation, and that really must be reason enough to buy it.

    I urge everyone to buy and read this book, it is valuable not only to the serving and recently served squaddy but of even greater value and importance to their families and loved ones.


    'Shell Shock' Neil Blower. Published in the UK by FireStep Publishing. Click link to buy from FireStep.

    Click here to buy from Amazon