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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

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3.8  ·  Rating details ·  157 Ratings  ·  37 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, followed
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published March 3rd 2009)
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Jankreidler
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
April Klasen
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-challenge
Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle has silenced me. Every argument for and against war that I’ve ever uttered in my life has been stupid and based on the opinions of what the media has fed me from when I was a child when the Twin Towers came down (the first time I became aware of war) to recent times.
This is a memoir of his experience on the battle field and how it affected his civilian life when he left.
This should be mandatory reading for everybody, force the teens in the classroom to study this i
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Angie
Jan 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Candy Sparks
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
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
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Rage
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Trish Doller
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Renee
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very touching and brutally honest journey
Estrelya Spica
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult thing to read. But we should read it.
So we will realize more and learn more about our soldiers who's protecting us from wars
They should be honored more.
They are all risking everything and suffering more than we could imagine.

It's not easy to be in a combat,
It's not easy to kill people,
They are still humans after all.
That's why being in the war is also a traumatic event for them

They are suffering not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually
We shoul
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Greg Hickey
An illuminating first-person account of the Iraq War and PTSD. Van Winkle successfully merges experiences from his post-war life with memories of the war. The resulting scenes can be disorienting at times, but that is likely the point. Unfortunately, Van Winkle's personal progression with the disorder is spotty at times. For example, in the second chapter, Van Winkle depicts a scene in which he verbally abused his then-girlfriend, an event that seems to signal a major strain in their relationshi ...more
Katelyn (Lost as Alice, Mad as the Hatter)
Sometimes poingnant, sometimes gritty, sometimes hard to follow, and sometimes just a plain scream inside the head, Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the confusing mess that comes home with the men and women who are trained for war but not trained to survive coming home from it.

"Sometimes I shot when I shouldn’t have; other times I didn’t shoot when I should have. There was no way to explain why I did either. Everything happened so fast. Decisions ha
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Jeff Lacy
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kenna
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tammielyn
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I know will stay with me for a long time, not only because of what the author experienced in war, but also by what members of the service had/still have to endure after they come home.
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
Tori
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
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Colleen
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction
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
Rachel
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lindsey Dober
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alyssa Nelson
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.
Sam Herbert
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steven yamazaki
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 well.it'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
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tiffany Meadows
Aug 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Donna
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, trauma
A personal and very brave memoir of a soldier's experience in war and afterwards. It is an important contribution to this growing body of literature. It is not a feel good book and does not have a sweet happy ending, but it is an important testament to what so many of our soldiers experience.
shay
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joy
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Allison
Very enightening for anyone who has a loved one that has been to war.
Valerie
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joyce
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Library copy.
U.S. Marine -- Iraq -- PTSD

Excellent.
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“Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.” 8 likes
“War becomes a part of you. It is a feeling just as much as an experience. If you can’t feel it, you weren’t paying attention. And if you weren’t paying attention, you are probably dead anyway.” 5 likes
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