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Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq--and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine's Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followe
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by St. Martin's Press
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Let me begin by saying that my son is the author. That aside, this is a fantastic look into the lives of returning warriors and the invisible wounds they carry. This book could apply to any era and would help family members understand why their loved ones are so traumatized and how they cope with homecoming after being involved in such surreal, harrowing experiences.
this is a very personal story, so it's weird for me to rate it. it's structured to give the reader an understanding of how disorienting PTSD can be, with memories of deployments overtaking peaceful moments at home (or drinks at the bar). there's a lot of honesty about the author's struggles and things he is not proud of, frustration with treatment at the VA, things he saw that haunt him - the writing definitely feels raw, not in the sense that it's unedited, but such that the immediate impact (a ...more
Candy Sparks
I read this book and saw parts of myself in it. I read it and found parts of my ex husband in it. I read this book and found every veteran that I had or had not deployed with in it. Very powerful, understanding, and moving book.

Do you really want to know what it is like to kill someone? Read the book. How memories can haunt you? Read the book. How reality and past get so mixed up that you don't know which one you are living. Read the book.

Clint is a stand up American Citizen who is also a war
Synopsis: "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.

But after two
Trish Doller
At first I had difficulty keeping straight whether or not the author was in Iraq or at home, but I guess that's kind of the point. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him. Soft Spots is a fascinating read.

A very touching and brutally honest journey
It was difficult to follow Author Clint Van Winkle's narrative at times as it jumped from present-day to memories of his experiences (real or imagined) as a Marine in Iraq.

The memories included those of a little girl in a white-and-red-striped shirt that the Marine may have killed, starving soldiers scouring garbage-ridden streets for food, the author nearly stepping on an explosive and stepping in the middle of what was left of a Marine killed in combat.

It was difficult to separate the horrors
Jeff Lacy
An impressively written book by a Marine combat veteran of the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Van Winkle writes clearly and sensitively. He contrasts his life in combat and his life upon returning home. So many great insights. A formidable story. Reading this book and other books by combat veterans, it's hard to agree with today's news analysis who say with such confidence that Americans "have no stake in the war." Surely we do, surely we must after reading Van Winkle's book, as well as, Colby ...more
Steve Woods
Despite the separation of time, generations, culture and geography the thing that hit me most forcefully about this book were the striking similarities between the post war experience of this man, an Iraq war veteran and my own, a Vietnam veteran. There were times when those similarities took on the aura of the surreal as he spoke word for word thoughts that I too have had. The commonality of the combat experience makes this book very easy for me to relate to and the "stream of consciousness" st ...more
Ken Marsh
My intention was to like reading this book. It seemed it would be a window into the life of a combat solider who loved his country, fought for his beliefs, did his best to do right and never took freedom for granted. However, shortly into the first few pages, this expectation was let down. Perhaps the divisions of the military differ so much that I shouldn't have expected tales of valor from a Marine; maybe that's written somewhere in a book about Air Force life. It could be that times have chan ...more
I have PTSD from other sources, and I was really hoping to see the author go into more detail on some of the symptoms and challenges to treatment. I was very glad to see him mention EMDR as this has given me some relief too and it is great to get awareness of this treatment out there.

It seemed like some of the complaints about the book in the reviews below were about him skipping around between being in the war and being back home. I actually really liked how he told his story in that manner bec
This troubling memoir of a Marine attempting to live a normal life in the aftermath of a PTSD diagnosis highlights the need for more research into treating this dehabilitating condition. The author survived his tour in Iraq only to return home to a system unable to deal with his now fractured psyche. The memoir is hard to follow- dreams and real life blur, and there is no clear sense of time to give the reader an anchor, but the effect is to plunge the reader into Van Winkle's shifting reality. ...more
Sam Herbert
An extremely frank and honest tale of a US Marine, his experiences of combat in the Iraq war and his struggle to come to terms with his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He describes with such clarity: you feel as if you are right alongside him in every chapter. He holds nothing back. The book contains some unpleasant passages but it is very interesting and kept me wanting more.
This was a difficult book for me to read, for a variety of reasons. The first was the content itself. Some of the stories made me want to either cry or wince, but at the same time I truly appreciated Van Winkle's honesty. The second reason this was a hard read was the lack of any chronological order in the story. Once I got to the end I was able to grasp the journey the book had led me through, but as I was reading the jumps between war, home, and hallucinations were slightly confusing.

On that n
Tiffany Meadows
I read this because it was bought for my daughter (age 12) and I was concerned with what may be in it. I was right in reading it first. It is not appropriate, mainly for language, and honestly, I only read 124 pages out of the 201.
Alyssa Archambo
This intense memoir provides insight into the life of a Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. It is an eye-opening read and one that I would recommend for everyone; especially those who have loved ones who served in Iraq. It provides a more realistic view to war than what we are used to, and while some details are grotesque and horrific to imagine, it is refreshing to get the perspective from someone who has known the reality of war and who is willing to talk about it and how it affected him.
Lindsey Dober
I loved this book, I read it during a very difficult time. It granted me compassion and understanding as well as a deep desire to some how make a difference with mental health and PTSD, specifically military related. I enjoyed it so much, that I read it to my dad as he lay unconscious in ICU because I knew he would love it. He later recovered and we actually discussed it to tonight as we tried to remember the title. Glad to add this to my read list.
Steven yamazaki
i just started reading it,and so far find it very interesting.really gives great insight on what war takes out of our warriors,and how it takes it's toll on others as's a great read into the look of the cruel,raw realities of war.and how you can come back from war,but the war may not leave you
Kerry Bone
Hard to put down memoir of a US soldier home struggling with PTSD. THe story is incredibly engaging, but (spoiler alert)

incredibly sad and heartbreaking to know what many of our military deal with once home from war.
a great book about a iraq war vet's struggling to come to terms with the war and the effects PTSD had on him. very well written and a very real, raw account of what dealing with PTSD is like. highly recommend this one.
This book was a very quick read. It is sad to know that this happens with a lot of people serving in the military past and present. Wish their was more to the story but still had a top line approach.
View into the mind of a deployed Marine who is reintegrating back into civilian life. Makes you compassionate to what some could be going through. Very helpful to family and friends of afghan vets.
This was an incredible book. I've read it twice, and my paper copy has many, many stains from my tears. It's a tough but necessary read for anyone that has a loved one in the Military.
Story weaving in and out of delirum from PTSD. Not too much insight into what goes on when someone has PTSD but you can read about PTSD tendencies.
Amber tayler
This was so sad. I loved the honesty, and it made me realize I can't even begin to understand what our soldiers go through.
A quick read. A Marine working through his PTSD and panic attacks following a tour in Iraq.
Interesting to get some perspective into what it is like to struggle with PTSD.
Very enightening for anyone who has a loved one that has been to war.
Interesting look into the war in Iraq and how it affected the writer.
Library copy.
U.S. Marine -- Iraq -- PTSD

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“Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.” 4 likes
“I guess I was always looking for something. What it was, I didn’t know. I wanted help from the VA, but didn’t want to go back, didn’t want to be subjected to that second-rate treatment any longer. I wanted to find peace within myself, but didn’t know how or where to locate it. I wanted to be a sergeant again, a writer, less angry, a better husband, and to ward off the constant bombardment of war-related thoughts. Most of all, I didn’t want any more Americans coming home from Iraq in boxes or with jingle-jangled minds.” 2 likes
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