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The Dead Drink First

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,777 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Like many veterans of his era, Sgt. Steve Maharidge never talked about “the good war.” On the surface, the Maharidges were a normal working-class family in the suburbs of Cleveland. But behind closed doors, even the most mundane moments could trigger Steve’s violent, traumatic episodes, which left his son Dale searching for clues to his past. And yet, there was only one: a ...more
Audible Audio, 4 pages
Published June 6th 2019 by Audible Studios

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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,777 ratings  ·  199 reviews

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Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent story. 18 years of trying to identify and bring home a soldier who died in the Battle of Okinawa culminates in a beautiful ending. Hearing family members and surviving veterans share their stories are touching. Themes of abuse and psychological trauma are central to the story, so be aware if you have triggers to emotional and (some) physical abuse.
Jay DeMoir
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A touching story. glad the author included voices of the people he interviewed. gave the story more depth.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting history and research not only about WWII, but also about PTSD and TBI. Dale Maharidge's telling narration included actual audio footage of interviews from his research and inquiry. While this definitely made the information more authentic, the listening was disjointed as the quality of the recordings varied making them hard to hear at times due to feedback in the equipment or differing volumes. I often felt like I was listening to a documentary that was on TV in another room.
Tom Walsh
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an amazing story of a persistent search for a missing WWII soldier over the course of many years. The most interesting parts to me were not so much the effort to recover Mulligan but the interviews with the surviving soldiers that served with him.

“There’s no such thing as a good war” was the refrain repeated over and over again in the voices of these old soldiers.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Just an amazingly affecting look at the survivors, the victims and the resonances of 'the good war' (no such thing, as the soldiers would tell you). Narrated with respect for the dead and pathos for the living and a triumphant message for the war can ever be won. A message that scum like John Bolton and Trumpites may learn if they had the heart to listen to the veterans and victims of world war II.
Linda Kalies
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
An interesting and poignant story but I didn’t care for the use of the recorded interviews. Hard to hear and understand.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My father was a Korean War veteran, an ex-POW. I’ll never understand what he went through, mostly because he never talked about it. Some of his fellow ex-POWs told me some things, but my father didn’t want to discuss them. Towards the end of his life, he discussed some of what happened to him before and after the war, but nothing directly pertaining to his experiences or the damage done to him, physically or mentally.

I salute Dale Maharidge for honoring the memory of his father, Sgt. Steve Maha
Kimba Tichenor
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
As several others have noted the story is powerful as it demythologizes the soldier’s experience of WWII, but the incorporation of old phone interviews simply does not work because the quality of the audio is so bad that one cannot understand half of what is being said. After a while, this becomes extremely annoying and detracts from the overall presentation.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audies
Excellent read!
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, my-reads
This Audible Original was more of a documentary than a book, but wow. An incredible story about what it means to be human and honor our fallen.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
War is still hell, in case you were wondering.

Did you know roughly two thousand mentally ill American veterans were lobotomized during and after World War II by the US government? Did you know some volunteered?

These were men who returned home from the war, into the arms of their families, haunted by what they had experienced in the Pacific, Europe, or Africa, suffering from PTSD, some with brain damage from explosions or head wounds sustained during combat. They were prone to fits of rage or man
Audio Sequel to Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War (2013)
Review of the Audible Audio audiobook (2019)

Author Dale Maharidge wrote an earlier book which sought to solve the mystery behind what happened to a friend of his father named Herman Mulligan when they had both fought in the U.S. Marines in the Battle of Okinawa in the Second World War where Mulligan had died. Maharidge's father Steve had returned from the war with what was likely Traumatic Brain Injury/Shell Shock and w
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 At times, this is insightful, very poignant - and getting the audio clips recorded from his initial research for the initial book is fantastic. And at other times, it leans heavily into a narrative I just struggled to understand or follow - that what made the household abusive as a child was that father was in a war. That despite never really discussing the war and father's motivation for having a picture up at home, father would now be at peace and all demons gone because we searched for ne ...more
Devonne West
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was one of the free monthly Audible audio books. Listening to The Dead Drink First made me feel for the oft-forgotten soldiers of WWII. It's a journey of a soldier's son to find what he can about a man in a photograph that was ever present in the home growing up. There are no heroes in war, only victims seems to ring true as I heard about mental, physical, and emotional scars of the returning soldiers, their spouses, and their children.
I'm glad Walter Henry Mulligan was finally brought hom
Di Richardson
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the free audible originals I chose this month. Almost didn’t, because I knew it was going to be pretty heavy. And it was. The author, a pulitzer prize winner, grew up in an abusive household. He and his brother never really understood why there father had such anger issues. After his father died, he got curious about a photo of a soldier his dad always kept on display. He decided to find out the story behind that photo, which resulted in former members of his dad’s platoon sharin ...more
Mary Solberg
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My father was a Navy Sea Bee during the battle of Okinawa. He suffered from extreme nightmares, mood swings, and alcoholism. He died at the age of 47. Daharidge's description of his family experience with his father sounded just like that of mine and my brothers. Anything "made in Japan" was forbidden. We never ate rice.

After my mother died, I was going through a box of family photos and found many from my father's time in the navy. There was one that showed a photo of a what looked like a corp
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’d give it six stars if I could.

This review is for the Audible exclusive audiobook version, which I highly recommend as you get to hear interviewees in their own voices, which is powerful.

A story about the author and his journey to reconcile his childhood with a father who he thought was simply crazy, but he now realizes had traumatic injuries, both physical and emotional, during WWII in Okinawa. Part of this journey, a large and important part, was the author seeking to bring home the remains
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was a depressing, yet informative audio book. I chose this because it was one of the monthly free choices from Audible, and the pickings were pretty slim that day.

I've long been aware of the atrocities committed during the Vietnam war, and the long-reaching after effects. I hadn't thought much about WWII. I guess every war is like that.

Sometimes the background sound effects or the poor quality of the voice recordings interfered with the listening.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible story of the effects of PTSD, of the soldiers that did and did not come from WWII, and the impacts on their families. I think many of us forget that things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder existed before it got a fancy name. It was not invented as a result of recent wars but impacted the lives of soldiers and their families throughout history. This story talks about the author's father and the effects the war had on him and also a son's search for those left behind.
Jenny Spear
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Racha Gh
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
No one wins a war. Everyone loses.
Crystal Gagne
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an inspiration and raw listen. I have the utmost respect for our veterans, especially WW2 vets. They TRULY are the Greatest Generation.
Clare Grové
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, audiobooks-2019
Lest we forget.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A true story diving in to the real lives of survivors of World War II and their families, along with those left questioning what happened to their love ones who were missing in combat.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and wonderful story. A hard listen at times, but very much worth listening to.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a really interesting story about the author's efforts to bring home the body of his father's friend. It talks about how the soldiers suffered from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. It was full of stories from soldiers of what it was like to fight on Okinawa during World War II. He got to hear these stories as he researched what happened to the body of H.W. Mulligan, his father's friend. I found it compelling.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Listened via Audible. Reminded me of listening to my Grandpa telling stories on Sunday afternoons.
Michelle Mullens
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just Wow. With all the anniversary commemorations for various milestones of WW2, this is a must listen to. I learned so much about the Pacific theatre, Okinawa, missing soldiers, and blast trauma. And that a veterans bad experiences & injuries & PTSD not effect them, but their children. And this war had no precedence for even having a name for concussions : battle fatigue was noted on the medical forms. And so many of those returning from the war stayed silent. Its a 3 hour listen...plea ...more
Tanner Nelson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audiobook, and I’m pretty sure it’s only available in that medium. It is almost like a podcast, and I loved that about it. It was a very moving piece of art that changed the way I looked at World War II and war in general. It was sobering listening to it. I recommend it to all interested in war, PTSD, the missing, and other similar topics.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you have Audible, this one is worth a listen. Moving story about how war can affect future generations in substantial emotional ways. The dedication of the author in his search for the family, records and eventual remains of a lost soldier was incredible. The recording was even more effective because the voices of the interviewees were used as a part of the production. Short story that will remain with you. I recommend it.
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I'm a professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. I've published ten books, including And Their Children After Them, which won the 1990 non-fiction Pulitzer Prize. The most recent is Bringing Mulligan Home/The Other Side of the Good War (PublicAffairs). Before that I released the paperback edition of Someplace Like America/ Tales from the New Great Depression(University of Ca ...more