Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars” as Want to Read:
What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  40 reviews
From Pulitzer Prize-­winning journalist David Wood, a battlefield view of moral injury, the signature wound of America's 21st century wars.

Most Americans are now familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its prevalence among troops. In this groundbreaking new book, David Wood examines the far more pervasive yet less understood experience of those we send to
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Little, Brown Spark
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What Have We Done, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What Have We Done

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  40 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars
Mikey B.
Page 142 (my book)

War makes us killers. We must confront this horror directly if we’re to be honest about the true cost of war...I’m no longer the “good” person I once thought I was. Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine Corps, served in Iraq and Afghanistan

This book outlines the moral consequences of war on the participating soldiers. It is concerned only with the impact on U.S. soldiers.

We have all heard of PTSD, but the author makes a convincing case that much more is going on, he calls this “moral injur
Edward Taylor
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
There was a time when I was Sgt. Taylor of the 2BCT, 502nd Infantry (o' deuce), 101st Airborne of the US Army. I served for 6 years in and out of some the worst places imaginable and never gave a second thought of my PTSD. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic and Major Depressive Disorder that tore my life to pieces. It took time, patience, and lot of love to get me out of my hole and there are some of my brothers and sisters are still there. This book gives my memories a new life and takes me ri ...more
Lisa Lieberman
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
Wood draws on Jonathan Shay's notion of "moral injuries" -- psychic wounds, as distinguished from the more physiological understanding of wartime trauma encompassed by PTSD -- and deepens our awareness of the pain that veterans of long, bad wars endure. It's not what was done to them so much as living with themselves after what they did, knowing that they violated their own standards of right and wrong, that drives their despair.

Only at the very end of the book do we learn about efforts to heal
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, must-read
I really hope that David Wood was able to send copies of this book to every senator, representative, and other officials that are so eager to constantly send our military to war. I think they should open their eyes to the reality of what they are doing to these men and women that have to come back and suffer because there is not enough widespread care and treatments for their mental ailments.

When I saw this book, I was intriqued about what it would entail because I am against the wars that seem
Zach Church
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A compelling, but incomplete theory on moral injury. The concept intuitively makes sense and the author's extensive experience in war zones makes him an authority. But the science on this incomplete. At its best, the book makes a good argument for more investment and research on the subject. But at the end, the author takes a strange turn that boils down to "The government/military is never going to take this seriously, so it's up to us as individuals." A crisis of the breadth the author is sugg ...more
Michael Zacchea
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iraq
For me, this book now ranks in my canon of seminal works about the combat experience, and the experience of veteran homecoming. I consider this to rank with Odysseus in America, War and the Soul, and Stoic Warriors. Building on his Pulitzer-prize winning series about moral injury, this book is the most comprehensive and profound exploration of the 21st century recognition of an ancient phenomenon. Thank goodness that David Wood, a long time combat correspondent, based on a career of seeing soldi ...more
Sim Kern
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book, because as Wood explains, everyone in America shares in the moral injuries cause by our longest wars. As a wife of a combat veteran. I can't say how helpful this book was in understanding the moral injury my husband carries. Moral injury is this giant missing piece of the puzzle to understanding the struggles of our veterans. After reading this book, it becomes clear how narrow, how insufficient and insulting PTSD diagnosis and treatment are to the full picture of ...more
Mindi Welton-Mitchell
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read.

Because the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are our responsibility. What has happened to our soldiers, and what they have done, is our responsibility.

I became interested in the concept of moral injury a while ago, but it was after reading Sandhya Jha's Transforming Communities and seeing this as a reference that I found this book.

I read this as a reference for the military sci-fi that I like to read and write, but also as a pastor who has counseled soldiers before deployment (a
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful. Glad it was nominated and won a Dayton Literary Peace Prize Award. Before finishing this, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of moral harm. Very insightful and eye opening. The narration provided a very easy Audible listening experience. We have got to come together as a country and be more supportive and helpful to those that serve our country.
David Eisler
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book does an incredible job explaining the emotions and challenges that come with moral injury. Wood also does a great service by showing how moral injury differs from post-traumatic stress, and how the feelings of moral injury can be much more complicated to deal with. Highly recommended for anyone seriously interested in understanding what has been asked of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
David Wood presents an excellent introduction to Moral Injury and its effect on the participants of today's armed conflicts. Spoiler alert - there is no silver bullet. Wood presents some excellent examples to illustrate how armed conflict affects the people who live through it and the challenges they face when they return home to a society that is largely indifferent to their experiences. It is a well-researched and thought-provoking read that challenges some widely-held assumptions. I strongly ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
An eye-opening account telling what happens to those who serve and come home. What we know as the Rules of Engagement does not apply in other cultures. While we are raised with the belief that to kill, for any reason, is wrong, we train soldiers to do just that in "defense of God and country." Islamic extremists are raised from childhood to "kill all non-believers." Our troops fight for perceived freedom, while extremists are "cleansing the earth" of perceived infidels. The concept of human righ ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
A tough read in that the topics covered were emotionally draining. While I've not been a war monger, this book and my own service experience have shifted my views. I now want our politicians to have an exit plan and a care plan, one that addresses all wounded warriors. Our costs are not only dead, physically wounded, money and the like, but as well decades of care for our Soldiers and the predictable effects on those we attack and kill. We need our leaders to ask the questions, Why do they hate ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book should be required reading for anyone considering a career in the armed forces and also for anyone who plans on becoming a politician. The author shares his experiences of moral injury in combat veterans and tells of the lack of support we give returning veterans. I was unable to stop reading this once I got into it. The narrative is very engaging and crisp. A very good read.
David Solis
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An eye-opening book with examples and glimpses of what war does to veterans. There is an undeniable harm done to so many men and women who are deployed for war and come back home to insufficient resources and training on how to heal what David Wood so frequently referred to as ‘moral injuries’. Soldiers come home and are told to be civilians again; allthewhile forever carrying the emotions and stories they endured as soldiers where they were trained to put their individual moralities on hold in ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
To say I really liked it (4-star) or was amazing (5 star) does not give justice or solutions to the dilemma. I have treated it as an awareness book. Read it or read about the results of war and listen.
Leaving it unrated is not good either. The solutions to the problem?
The author says that there are many nongovernmental projects underway for civilians to get together with veterans.
Stacy, a combat camera, who has worked two tours in Afghanistan says society dances around the cancer.
David Wood def
peter m. dubinin
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent introduction to the reality of moral injury in simple straightforward language.

David Wood provides a valuable resource to introduce the subject of moral injury. Every American would benefit greatly in knowing how to effectively respond to our combat veterans by reading this book. This book should sound a clear call to action for our faith communities to intentionally engage the work of spiritual healing for our combat veterans. Excellent introduction and treatment of a potentially debi
Mary Tuttle
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is an important book for all those who love a veteran, attempt to understand a veteran, or counsel a veteran. The term PTSD has been overused and misused in the treatment of those veterans who are actually suffering from moral injury. Treatments are being developed to help with moral injury, but they are slow to be embraced by the military. I find it hopeful that progress is being made in this respect. But when will we learn that sending our sons and daughters to war is sin? We are all so c ...more
Eric James
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riveting, powerful, and horrific. The book's main takeaway is that moral healing can only come from a civilian-military discourse. But the painful reality is that the Iraq War has faded from memory and the sacrifices made are past public concern. We will never have a public catharsis, or if so, decades down the road when our millennial veterans, the ones who live long enough, will be old men. We will have speeches one day and wax and wane about how we were wrong. But we know *now* that we can he ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal book! As a veteran and advocate in the community, it’s a powerful reminder of the injuries combat veterans, police officers and many others experience when they harm another human being or take a life. This comes at a higher price than we ever anticipated. David Wood, who also spoke on a panel with me in Boulder, CO really dives deep into the experience of many service members and tells the truth about the betrayal, harm and undeniable trauma our government, military and wars wage on ...more
James Hollich
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you know a veteran that never wanted to speak of their experience at war or was visibly suffering from their experience this book will shed light on the reasons why. Beside being a war correspondent, the author David Wood has interviewed soldiers and psychologists extensively on their experience with the moral hurt war produces in our young men and women. The book sheds light on a subject that noncombatants can't hope to totally understand.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, nonfiction, 2017
Thought-provoking and challenging read about the hidden moral injuries sustained by our soldiers fighting modern wars that don't play by the traditional rules. This book highlights the disconnect between the people choosing the wars, and their ideas of how to "heal" their soldiers, and the people doing the fighting, and those men and women actively involved with helping those soldiers heal. I think this is an important read, and I'd hope it receives wide readership.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written synthesis of the truths Wood has learned in nearly four decades of writing about warriors. If you are a civilian, be forewarned: It will hand you a new set of obligations -- to engage with the nation's newest generation of veterans, to listen quietly and without judgment to their stories. This is a brave and important book.
Loren Shultz
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sobering account of how the Federal government continues its failure to properly care for the citizens who serve in America's so-called wars. Great insight into how the Iraq/Afghanistan actions are different from previous conflicts and the effects on our military personnel. A "must read" for all Americans.
Brittany Wooten
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows someone back from war who is now labeled “different” will learn from this book. The book is full of resources and expansive ideas about moral injury. It was easy reading and full of Service Member stories that help illustrate his point.
Virginia Lehr
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening review of what our veterans are dealing with, and how we as a country have a lot of room to grow. We need to start by offering them the necessary clinical tools and support for processing through their experiences.
Mike Cross
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Very easy read and unfortunately the author explored the subject from almost entirely a single angle, soldier's stories. I wish he would have gone deeper into the historical and scientific aspects of moral injury, which I am certain are fascinating. Overall, a good read that is one-dimensional.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Must read for any American especially those of us who have never been in the military.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Great book on moral injury and the psychological implications of war.
Samuel Mueller
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such an impactful read. The stories that are in this are heart wrenching. We as a population need to listen to veterans and show that we are here for them. Amazing book.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Letters From An Astrophysicist
  • Pym
  • Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
  • Camino Winds (Camino Island #2)
  • Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
  • The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border
  • The Big Heat
  • An Unorthodox Match
  • Bee Season
  • Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century
  • How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon
  • I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir
  • Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir
  • The Last Trial  (Kindle County Legal Thriller #11)
  • Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
  • Cold Blooded
  • Davita's Harp
  • The Gift of Asher Lev
See similar books…
David Wood, a veteran war reporter, is a staff correspondent for the Huffington Post, where he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on severely wounded warriors. A birthright Quaker and raised as a pacifist, Wood has spent more than thirty years covering the US military and conflicts around the world, most recently in extended deployments embedded with American troops in Iraq and Afg ...more

News & Interviews

Space operas, magic, destiny, dystopia, aliens: There's a bit of something for everyone in 2020's latest offerings in science fiction and fantasy...
47 likes · 4 comments
“We understand at some level why combat veterans shrink from sharing their stories: we don’t want to know them. In our sometimes-frenzied veneration of war heroes, we are too eager to rush past the shadowed doorway where lurks what the poet Peter Marin calls “the terrible and demanding wisdom” of war.” 0 likes
More quotes…