Some books should be prescribed reading for all of those who have partners/family who have been to war. Or for that matter, politicians – but that is another story. You do not have to be a sufferer of PTSD or combat stress or know someone who has, to appreciate this book.
It takes a profound degree of honesty and courage to write a book like this; particularly as an officer, and an Australian. The stereotype of macho man does not come much higher than that; and I defy anyone to look at John Cantwell’s face on the front cover and not see the emotional scars wreaked by over thirty years serving his country.
John Cantwell joined the Australian army as a private and rose through the ranks to become Major General. His personal account of those years, commencing with the First Gulf War and his part in it are, both intensely personal and a very realistic account of the madness, confusion and boredom that can be war. He himself admits that part of the problem, as he perceived it, was that he was only at war, on the ground, for a very short time. Therefore, how on earth, compared to other soldiers going out time and time again in merciless heat, in hostile territory, in Afghanistan, Iraq could he be feeling like this?