Jonathan Shay



Average rating: 4.25 · 1,800 ratings · 182 reviews · 11 distinct worksSimilar authors
Achilles in Vietnam: Combat...

4.26 avg rating — 1,337 ratings — published 1994 — 7 editions
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Odysseus in America: Combat...

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4.20 avg rating — 390 ratings — published 2002 — 6 editions
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The Benefits of Tomato

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 2012
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Combat Stress Injury: Theor...

3.88 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2006 — 8 editions
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Killing from the Inside Out...

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4.12 avg rating — 43 ratings — published 2014 — 4 editions
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Flashback: Posttraumatic St...

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3.98 avg rating — 41 ratings — published 2006 — 4 editions
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Continuing Actions: A Warri...

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4.57 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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Losing Tim: The Life and De...

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4.29 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2014
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Voices in Wartime Anthology

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3.88 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2010
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Exit Wounds: Soldiers' Stor...

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2015
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“Melodramas of moral courage provide satisfaction through the comforting fantasy that our own character would hold steady under the most extreme pressure of dreadful events. [But we must face] the painful awareness that in all likelyhood one's own character would not have stood firm.”
Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

“As beasts are beneath human restraints, gods are above them... It would be foolish and untruthful to deny the appeal of exalted, godlike intoxication....We have seen the paradox that these godlike exalted moments often correspond to times when the men who have survived them say that they have acted like beasts....Above all, a sense of merely human virtue, a sense of being valued and of valuing anything seems to have fled their lives....However, all of our virtues come from not being gods. Generosity is meaningless to a god, who never suffers shortage or want. Courage is meaningless to a god, who is immortal and can never suffer permanent injury. The godlike berserk state can destroy the capacity for virtue. Whether the berserker is beneath humanity as an animal, above it as a god, or both, he is cut off from all human community when he is in this state.”
Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

“Many Vietnam veterans I see in the clinic swing painfully between a crushed, tainted mortality and its nostalgically longed-for, but dreaded, godlike opposite. Above all, a sense of merely human virtue, a sense of being valued and of valuing anything, seems to have fled their lives. As products of biblical culture, most veterans believed it is nobler to strive to be like God than to want to be human. However, all of our virtues come from not being gods; generosity is meaningless to a god, who never suffers shortage or want; courage is meaningless to a god, who is immortal and can never suffer permanent injury; and so on.”
Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

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