My Private War: Liberated Body, Captive Mind; A World War II POW's Journey
Booklist Reviews 2008 November #1
Bussel, a B-17 crewman just turned 19, was shot down over Germany in the spring of 1944. He spent the rest of the war as a POW and returned home suffering from what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the cases of POWs, the major cause of PTSD was the helplessness of their situation, aggravated by privation. For Bussel, the costs of PTSD were alcoholism, a broken marriage, claustrophobia, and a constant struggle with nightmares. He fought back by becoming involved in organizations helping PTSD sufferers and eventually by writing this eloquent book, which is full of information and quite devoid of self-pity. It is hard to think of a better recent book on the POW experience from the inside, and it is also a notable addition to the PTSD literature for lay readers and helping professionals. Copyright Booklist Reviews 2008.
LJ Reviews 2008 December #1
Bussel was an unsophisticated Memphis boy who got drafted in 1943 and turned into a B-17 radioman. Military life was fine until the night in 1944 when his plane was cut in half over Berlin. He was 19 years old. Rescued from a German lynch mob, he spent a year starving and freezing in a stalag before being rescued by the Allied armies. Bussel returned to his life, or tried to, but suffered from lingering psychological trauma. Confused, claustrophobic, easily startled, short-tempered, and angry, he muddled along for a while, married twice, and eventually made a good career and life for himself. It was in his eighties that he tried writing about his experiences and produced this book, his first despite having been in publishing most of his life. While his wartime experiences are interesting but not exceptional, his descriptions of his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his work with other afflicted veterans are both. This is a strong narrative of a man who has been through much and has come through it not stronger but with greater self-knowledge. Simply and directly written; a fine candidate for any military collection.—Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS[Page 135]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.