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The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  650 ratings  ·  108 reviews
David J. Morris — a war correspondent, former Marine, and PTSD sufferer himself — has written the essential account of this illness. Through interviews with individuals living with PTSD, forays into the scientific, literary, and cultural history of the illness, and memoir, Morris has written a book that will speak not only to those with the condition and to their loved ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Pouting Always
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly did not expect the book to be as good as it turned out to be. I have this assumption problem where things that shouldn't be indicative of anything some how are meaningful to me and so I saw that it was called The Evil Hours and I thought it was going to be melodramatic and self involved. In truth though the author did such a good job of putting together his own experiences within the larger context of PTSD through out history, other people's experiences, and the present. It was very ...more
Matt
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I do not personally suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, nor does anyone in my family. But my interest in the subject was piqued after my own brush with trauma. I read The Evil Hours, David Morris’s “biography” of PTSD for a specific reason. I was interested in the human ability to keep going, even in the face of enormous suffering and tragedy. Life doesn’t allow anyone to get away without pain, so I thought it instructive to learn about people who’ve seen the very worst.

All kinds of
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every era has its tragedies, those things nobody talks about but that millions of people live with every day, and this book really puts that all into perspective. I wish more people would read it; these days it seems claiming to have PTSD has become trendy for some reason. There was even someone in my class who claimed they had PTSD after their cat died. Having PTSD myself and knowing several friends and some family members who've been diagnosed as well, I think it's a serious thing, not just a ...more
Sarah
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books out there on PTSD and trauma. This one stands out, however, for its thorough and compassionate examination of PTSD and its many manifestations. While most of the book focuses on PTSD in the context of combat, it does address PTSD resulting from other types of trauma and Morris's findings and observations can be applied widely to survivors of trauma as a whole. Morris draws on literature, personal accounts, and psychological studies, compiling a rich history of PTSD and ...more
Richard Burbach
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow! Left me speechless. Everyone should read this passionate expose -- whether one has PTSD, knows one who has PTSD or cares about America's health or our politics. The cost of war is laid bare despite our cultural deception and obsessive amnesia. Brutal truth-telling! Although focusing on war and veterans -- that's Morris's experience and where funding is available (primarily from the VA and DOD) -- it's easy to see how PTSD ensnares victims of rape and other life-alerting tragedies. I ...more
Aimee Meester
"Life is meaningless without suffering, but there comes a time when you have to accept the fact that not all pain is purifying or ennobling, and that numbing out and isolating yourself from the world is counterproductive and destructive to yourself and your loved ones."

Read this with a notebook on hand over the course of an 8 hour car trip. It held my attention the whole way. This isn't any easy book to read -- it's an account of some truly horrible things, the kind of things that weigh on you
...more
Roger DeBlanck
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Evil Hours by David J. Morris is a remarkable piece of scholarship and literature. As a former Marine veteran and war correspondent living and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, Morris offers an empowering study of the history and current state of PTSD. His investigations go beyond the battlefield to show how the illness of PTSD haunts survivors of rape, natural disaster, and near-death experiences. This unforgettable "biography" pulls at the heartstrings with its tremendous ...more
SarahJessica
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book got better as it went on; I enjoyed the last two chapters the most. The extensive notes are really well worth reading. I thought they added quite a bit of worthwhile context. Things are not clear cut by any means in any area of psychology, but PTSD seems exceptionally murky. Morris is opposed to imbuing every veteran with the wounded broken soldier trope, but recognizes that some folks do come back with behaviors and responses to stimuli that aren't within the realm of normal. ...more
Chris
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Informative. Insightful. Soulful. Morris has taken on Marlantes' role as an interpreter of war and succeeded admirably. Every person who knows a veteran who has gone to war should read this book. Surprisingly Morris went to war as a journalist and not a Marine. I'm thinking his PTSD experience would be vastly different if he had deployed with his brothers in arms. I don't know if it would have been better or worse. As a journalist he was an outsider. At any rate he has written a great book that ...more
Infiniteknot
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
this was less about PTSD and more about literature that talked about PTSD or had metaphors or related to PTSD. It was so much more a review of literature about PTSD. Truly frustrating.
Timothy Hurley
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers interested in the tribulations of veterans.
David Morris's book The Evil Hours is subtitled a Biography of Post Traumatic Syndrome. It is that. He has exhaustively researched psychological trauma from war, rape, accident and woven this interesting information into his personal story as a marine and journalist in Iraq. He is critical, but balanced, about criticizing the VA for its handling of traumatized returnees and the public's attitudes. He does an in-depth description of the treatments available for PTSD and his personal experience ...more
Jayme
May 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was utterly sublime at times - it has one of the best introductions I've ever read. But I think it suffers severely from a lack of disciplined editing, particularly the preliminary chapters, which seemed to meander back and forth on the same ideas without purpose. The long chapter on therapy also suffers, I think, from being a little too close to the author's own experience. The result was that I found it very hard to get through this book. I'm glad I did, but it frustrates me that it ...more
Pat Delwiche
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly researched and at the same time highly personal, Morris’s book enlightens the reader about the historical, ethical and political aspects of response to trauma. It was much more engaging than the topic might suggest, possibly in part because my reading coincided with my viewing of Amazon Prime’s series “Homecoming” (totally a stroke of serendipity). I finished the book with a profound appreciation for veterans’ challenges during and after their deployments, and a deepened cynicism ...more
Melissa Michelle
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It was an intriguing read, learning more about PTSD and how the writer experienced it himself when he was in Iraq as a war correspondent. It's interesting how there are so many different treatments that people have recommended for it.
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
As you can see by the addition of this book to my for-my-future-office shelf, this is one that I want to use in my career, a career which will be marked by dealing with people who have PTSD. I want to be a social worker. That is my intended career. Whether that's working in the government for a while or going to a community center or just going outside of the U.S. to give aid to people (specifically children) who desperately need resources, that's my goal. That's what I want to do. So, I know ...more
Sara
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was amazing. I listened to the audio and the narrator did a great job.

What I love most is that this isn't self-help or advice. As Morris makes clear himself, this is a biography of PTSD. He looks at the history of it, the different forms, and different ways people have coped. He doesn't prescribe or try to imply that he has answers. He just lays out a bunch of facts and possibilities and offers ideas without ever trying to act like an expert on it.

What I loved most was that, as a military
...more
Austin Swan
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-on-kindle
As someone who was completely unfamiliar with PTSD and trauma as a whole, I feel much more enlightened about the topic. The book proved to be informational and overall a very enjoyable read.

While the book tells the story about PTSD and trauma, the author also works in his experience as a Marine Corps infantry officer in the late nineties and later his work as a journalist in the heat of the war in the Middle East.

I enjoyed every bit of the book, but the last two chapters were eye opening. While
...more
Nathan Albright
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
A few diseases have served as the subject of extensive biographies. Cancer has spawned the book The Emperor Of Maladies. Depression was the subject of the melancholy book The Noonday Demon, part of my Florida library, Since PTSD has a very short history within psychology but a longer one in terms of its ancestry in military history and literature, the author (who himself suffers from PTSD as a result of a near-death experience as an embedded war journalist in Iraq) has chosen wisely in writing ...more
Matt Ely
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A resonant and effective summary on the history, treatment, and theory of PTSD. The author does a commendable job of addressing the many issues and discrepancies around the disorder, even including voices that question the nature of its existence. While it pulls most of its research from the experience of re-integrating American veterans, that's not the whole story, and he does what he can to incorporate other voices. A quality, readable primer, made more memorable by the author's examination of ...more
Katherine
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory, wwii
This book is beyond amazing. For anyone interested in PTSD, it provides a wealth of information, couched in beautiful prose, with interesting (if sometimes difficult to read) anecdotes. He has read scientific studies and novels, philosophy and personal memoirs, by the thousands it seems. This is probably the best, most thoughtful book I have read in the past year. One might complain that the book is overweighted with war stories (he himself served in the military and went to Iraq as a ...more
Sara
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Morris is a former Marine and war reporter who was injured by an IED in Iraq. He was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD and as a means to understand his diagnosis, he began researching it. Expecting to write a book about veterans and PTSD, Morris was surprised to find that most cases of PTSD involve civilian women, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The result is part memoir, part social history of the disease and who it affects, veterans and civilians alike.
Joelene Swearingen
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was insightful and interesting as it highlighted the little we know about treating PTSD. I enjoyed the stories of how actual people deal with their traumas. However the author let his bitterness that we are still striving to come up with a regularly successful treatment come through in his writing. This made the reading less enjoyable for me.
Sylvia Johnson
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I especially liked the author's using literature throughout the ages to bring understanding to this subject and also noting that there is a possibility of growth and transcendence after the suffering. It is written as if we are privy to the author's following many strands in his search for healing.
Aimee
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook. This is a history of PTSD focusing on war while there are short bits abiut other traumas. It also goes into treatments that were recieved by different generations of American war vets focusing most vividly on the author's own personal experience.
B_rodger
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ever want to highlight the bejesus out of a book? A few pages in, I realized this was that kind of book for me. Thought provoking, personal, educational. I thought I knew a lot about PTSD, but I learned even more. I could read this again, and with an actual highlighter in my hand.
Lauren
Aug 31, 2019 added it
I really enjoyed this, especially all the different genres of resources the author drew from.
Jeff
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent resource for anyone interested in the cost of war.
Heidi Larson
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting discussion that reminds us that it's not just war that causes PTSD.
Tracie Griffith
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone seeking to understand PTSD.
Amy
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply fantastic.
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Dave Morris is a San Diego-based writer, photographer and teacher. A former Marine infantry officer, he has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Slate, Salon and the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2003. His 2006 dispatch from Iraq, titled “The Big Suck: Notes from the Jarhead Underground’ was included in the Best American Nonrequired Reading series.

His writing has been featured on
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“Trauma destroys the fabric of time. In normal time you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy or bouncing like a rubber ball from now to then to back again. ... In the traumatic universe the basic laws of matter are suspended: ceiling fans can be helicopters, car exhaust can be mustard gas.” 17 likes
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he sees that the magician’s hat is empty, that the government and the church are run by fools, and that virtue is far rarer than he’d been led to believe.” 4 likes
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