From The Forgotten Soldiers
“Every American should read [this book], regardless of political persuasion, economic circumstances, race or culture. It's a rare, real and gripping book that will moisten your eyes and enlighten your mind."
—John J. Engles, President Leadership Coaching, Inc. Rochester, New York
“In a word, it is BRILLIANT. I have never read anything quite like it. The way [Dr. Beal combines] factual information (from a multitude of authors and sources), clinical observations, story-telling, personal observations, and reflections is as unique as it is engaging.”
— Robert Koffman, MD, Navy Captain, former Director for Psychological Health to the Navy Surgeon General,
Former Deputy Director of Clinical Operations at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland
“Dr. Beal’s background gives him an unique perspective, having both empathy as a fellow soldier during his service [as a physician during the Vietnam war] as well as professional objectivity as a civilian psychiatrist treating soldiers from the Iraq-Afghanistan war. In this remarkable collection of riveting stories and thought-provoking reflections, Dr. Beal shares his decades of experience observing and counseling the 1% of our population who bear the untold burden of protecting our country. He challenges readers to learn how to ask our veterans about their service, listen to their stories and their ongoing challenges, and become more compassionately aware of the immeasurable cost of war on our military members, their families, and the society surrounding them. This extraordinary book is an emotionally and academically charged call to action for service members and civilians alike!”
— Peter S. Cooke, Major General (Ret.) US Army Reserve; former Director of National Center for Veterans’ Studies;
former Chairman of Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee
“In War Stories From the Forgotten Soldiers, Dr. Edward W. Beal chronicles his treatment of traumatized GIs. Whether it’s killing a young boy who was probably just curious, targeting and killing people daily and endlessly from a TV screen, wanting to take out all your anger and grief on a loved one, or some other episodic absurdity of the detritus of endless, meaningless war, Beal has probed the problems. In all, Beal’s most telling point, among several dozens of searing revelations, is this: ‘Sharing in the soldier’s moral grief is not just a national duty; rather, it is a moral obligation that citizens owe to soldiers who fought in their place.’ Quite needless to say, however, the obligatory ‘Thank you for your service’, rendered daily by countless
Americans, doesn’t pass muster. But Beal tells us repeatedly what does. Few of us are listening though; sadly, far fewer of us could do it even if we were.”
— Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel, US Army (Ret.), Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell (2002–2005),
Special Assistant to Powell when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993), and Deputy Director and
Director of the USMC War College (1993–1997). Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary
“Some 99% of Americans have little contact with the military today. Because very few know anything of the experiences or consequences for those who serve, deploying them becomes even easier. In War Stories Dr. Ted Beal, who has spent years meeting with soldiers and confronting with them the horrors they have faced and the memories they endure, asks us all to confront them. With powerful accounts and candid observations, he tells stories that need to be heard by all citizens, especially by those who send the young to war.”
— James Wright, President Emeritus of Dartmouth College, Historian, former Marine,
Author of Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War.
“Most Americans patronizingly refer to every member of their military as a hero while looking away from the physical and emotional scars of these broken heroes. Dr. Beal forces us to hear and see them.”
— Dennis Laich, Major General (Ret.) US Army, Co-Founder, All-Volunteer Force Forum
“This book captivated me intellectually and emotionally. I could not put it down! Dr. Beal’s detailed accounts of his stunningly candid conversations with returning and deploying soldiers gives us a window into the trauma and hidden-from-plain-view suffering of those who fight in wars. I learned not only about the soldiers, but about myself, my ignorance regarding the costs of modern warfare and my responsibility as a citizen and leader to move beyond polite gratitude when interacting with returning soldiers. Here is a work every American should read, regardless of political persuasion, economic circumstance, race or culture. It’s a rare, real and gripping book that will moisten your eyes and enlighten your mind.”
— John J. Engels, President Leadership Coaching, Inc., Rochester, New York
“The well-intentioned ‘Thank you for your service’ may seem shortsighted after reading this powerful and sobering insight into the trauma of war inflicted on our country’s volunteer warriors who willingly step into unknown physical and mental dangers on behalf of a mostly unaware civilian population. Ted Beal examines this paradox through a prism of five decades of providing psychotherapy, including seven years helping service members and their families face and overcome emotional withdrawal. His series of moving essays about traumatized service members puts into startling context their experiences and the effect on marriages, family bonds and seemingly simple relationships within military and civilian communities. Listening and learning are the keys to understanding how to help these service members. Reading this book is a necessary first step.”
—Captain Timothy J. Gorman, US Navy (Ret.)
“Beal’s book helps us understand the sacrifice of soldiers when we think about using force for ‘national security reasons.’ I recommend it as required reading for anyone who considers war a legitimate policy option to deal with perceived threats to national security.”
— Robert L. Gallucci, PhD, Former President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Former Deputy Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq, Professor and Former Dean, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; Former Director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress
“‘War and killing, guilt and grief are far too important not to be shared’ writes Dr. Edward Beal. In his War Stories From the Forgotten Soldiers, Beal calls on each of us to listen, feel, care and reach out to the four million veterans who served our country these past twenty years. The stories he heard over the past eight years are gripping, full of trauma and suffering. Our role is clear: engage with the 1 percent who volunteer, extend love and respect, and help each other come together. This book inspires us to heal in every way.”
— Ambassador Frederick D. Barton, Author of Peace Works, first Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations; Lecturer and Co-Director, Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI), Woodrow Wilson School—Princeton University
“There are many books about the wars in this century filled with platitudes. One of the many virtues of this one is that it moves beyond ‘Thank you for your service’ to the complexities of being or treating a Soldier or Marine in the Long War since 9/11.
“Dr Beal treated those with both physical and mental health issues from the Long War at Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center for nearly eight years. Walter Reed has borne the lion’s share on the severely wounded for the last eighteen plus wars.
“As a psychiatrist who served 28 years in the Army, including many years at Walter Reed, I especially liked the section on ‘Recruiting: A Necessary Task’, where Dr Beal comes face to face with the moral and ethical dilemmas of recruiting young men and women to serves in today’s amorphous battlefields. “This is not only required reading for mental health providers
who work with the Veteran and Service Member population; it should be required for all providers.”
— Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH, Colonel, US Army (Ret.); Chair of Psychiatry, Medstar Washington Hospital Center
“Americans now generally know that many service members sustain wounds that are not visible. In the past decade and a half, phrases like ‘traumatic brain injury’ (TBI) and ‘post-traumatic stress syndrome’ (PTSD) have entered the national lexicon. Growing familiarity with these and related conditions encourages the public to think not only about what might be done for those suffering but also about the hidden costs of military conflict. But I suspect that the understanding of many concerned citizens is limited simply because until now no one has published for a general audience detailed descriptions and expert analyses of actual cases. Dr. Edward Beal’s excellent book fills this void. Drawing on his experience in more than 5,000 sessions with
injured service members, Dr. Beal discusses the conditions of more than thirty of the patients he has treated. The clarity and compassion with which he writes will leave an indelible impression on all who read this important book.”
— Judge Gregory E. Maggs, US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (Colonel, US Army, Ret.)
“Read this book to learn to listen to the veteran in your life. Dr. Ted Beal provides a moving personal account on the importance of veterans’ stories as a means of individual healing, insight for those who know and love veterans and inspiration for our nation to embrace the values and valor of those who volunteer to serve our country.”
— Bob Patrick, Colonel, US Army (Ret.); former Director, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress
“Edward Beal has written the book you didn’t know you were missing—about the men and women in uniform that war ruins for peace. It took courage and dedication to listen for seven years to their stories, their lives, the way war crushed their spirit. As Dr. Beal learned, they don’t want to hear ‘thank you for your service.’ They want to be heard. In War Stories they are, loud, clear and heart-breaking.”
—Phyllis Theroux, Author
“. . . War Stories from the Forgotten Soldiers . . . is such a moving and eloquent book, and I am quite in awe of its scope and depth. To me it has two stories that are inseparable: one of the soldiers overwhelmed by their combat experience and seeking help, the other of your own return to meaningful and engaging work after retirement. It begins in the trenches of psychiatric encounter, then zooms out to consider institutional history of the teleprovider unit and ultimately how to reconcile the dual morality of war and peace. The framework of classical literature reminds us that the problem of warriors re-entering the
civil community is a human universal—perpetual intergroup conflict matched with perpetual remorse. I can imagine [Dr. Beal] Skyping an interview with Odysseus after he had come home and massacred half the population of Ithaca for partying with his wife. “I felt the reality of those military personnel as if they were in the room . . . [The] chapter structure with each individual personal contact followed by professional reflection brings a nice balance between interpersonal intensity and urgency, then quiet rumination on what it means. [Dr. Beal] shows the inner agony and bewilderment on the other side of the legendary competence of US military personnel. “The book is coming at the right time, with the word ‘forgotten’ in the title. The whole Trump spectacle has distracted us from the 9/11 wars before we had a chance to understand them. The result is
a forgotten generation of service members in an isolated caste, often forced to call attention to their existence through self-destruction. Here in Maine even with our small population, there were 29 military suicides in 2016, which rose to 48 in 2017, so rather than subsiding, the problem seems to increase as the wars themselves recede from national attention.
“I hope this book gets the wide audience it deserves. It is humane and eloquent and I feel enlightened and changed by reading it. It illuminates the darkness that I was groping [through] in the novel with the light of experience and reason . . .”
— William Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, College of the Atlantic, Author of The Wooden Nickel
“Edward Beal’s book, War Stories From the Forgotten Soldiers, is both riveting and very important. The book clearly delineates the key changes in the US military in a single generation: from a draft Army to a volunteer Army, from many soldiers to one percent of our population protecting us, and the evolution of highly specialized, frequently heart-rending jobs that the modern soldier must perform. This has led us to a virtually complete disassociation between today’s soldier and the civilian world where many/most of us no longer know or relate to recent or current enlisted men and women. “Beal argues that we, as a society, must do more than ‘thank them for their service.’ We should actively engage with soldiers and veterans,
work with them in our jobs, socialize with them after work, and befriend them in all aspects of their and our lives. If we fail to do this, the great schism that has now been created between the American soldier and the American public may become irreconcilable. In fact, that schism may have already occurred.”
— Henry Sondheimer, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics (Cardiology), University of Colorado SOM, Former Associate Dean for Admissions, University of Colorado SOM, Former Senior Director of Medical Education, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
“An authentic narrative meditation on telepsychiatry’s power to enable a shared treatment journey for patient and psychiatrist.
An important education to better understand how telepsychiatry enhances access to care and connects us across distance.”
— Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH, Professor Department of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, and Director of Telemedicine, Helen and Arthur E Johnson Depression Center, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus
“These are compelling, moving and well-written stories from the perspective of a compassionate and seasoned psychiatrist. This book provides a valuable guide for the civilian mental health practitioner who will be working with veterans, soldiers or their families.”
— Steven A. Epstein, MD, Physician Executive Director, MedStar Behavioral Health, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, past President of the
Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.
“Dr. Beal has brought a lifetime of clinical experience to working with US soldiers and veterans. His ability to listen, advocate, and communicate with them and us is a gift. Dr. Beal’s moving prose brings their narratives to light in a way that allows us to better understand their heroic sacrifices and struggles and encourages us to give voice to their need for improved personal and institutional support and resources. It’s a fabulous book. How moving!!!”
— Liza H. Gold, MD, Board-Certified Forensic Psychiatrist, President Elect (Oct 2019) American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine
“Someone who has not served in the military will find in this book a new respect for the courage and fortitude of those who have served. This book, written with the personal goal of being as objective as possible, does not evoke pity as much as it does respect. It does not bring about sympathy as much as it does regard for the character that underlies sacrifice in the line of duty.
“Ted Beal, with the practiced eye of the clinical psychiatrist, reaches beyond the clinical to present real stories of men and women in the military who have experienced considerable pain, suffering, and disability in the line of duty. The impact is enormous in depth, scope, and intensity. These stories inevitably will make a difference to the reader, far beyond other accounts of experiences of war and service.”
— Scotty Hargrove, PhD, ABPP Former Professor of Psychology and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Mississippi, Past President, American Orthopsychiatric Association
“In offering us War Stories From the Forgotten Soldiers, the author invites us to hear various morally and emotionally distorted world views from dedicated patriots whose psychic wounds have them struggling to keep their very souls alive. Author Beal is most compelling in his closing observation that ‘Knowing a soldier personally is perhaps the most powerful intervention of all,’ and in his plea to the reader: ‘America needs you.’ Read this book.”
—J.R. Quirk, Author, Compassionate Warrior—A Memoir
“Based on extensive interviews, Edward W. Beal’s War Stories from Forgotten Soldiers explores with empathy the impact that combat had on his patients. He delineates the stress, trauma, and pain borne by the relatively small number of men and women who have experienced war firsthand. They still grapple with their memories of the harsh reality of combat. This thoughtful, sensitive book is highly recommended.”
— Richard Hunt, Author of Pacification, The American Struggle for Vietnam’s Hearts and Minds,
Former Director of the Oral History Program at the US Army Center of Military History
"This important new book should be recommended reading for (1) all mental health and health care professionals who provide clinical services to veterans; (2) those who employ and supervise combat veterans; (3) all federal, legislative and executive branch leaders who plan, budget, and execute wars; and (4) any citizen who wants to better understand the common personal struggles and triumphs of combat veterans. It should also be required reading for (1) all mental health professional trainees and their supervisors; (2) all military service academy students and faculty members; and (3) all students and faculty at military war colleges, command and general staff schools, and all non-commissioned officer training programs. As each reader is able to better comprehend the salient lessons in this book offered by Dr. Beal and his brave patients, so he or she will be better prepared to join combat veterans in becoming ‘twice a citizen.’”
— Alex Rodriguez, MD, Captain, US Navy (Ret.), and Staff Psychiatrist, Bay Pines VA Health Care System (Florida)
“Service to the country in the military, especially in wartime, is stressful at best, traumatic and devastating at worst. Ted brings the costs of these experiences to the reader in brilliant detail. One is reminded of All Quiet on the Western Front, when the consequences of war are inescapable.”
— Larry Pifer, Army Veteran; Engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
“. . . [These] essays are a hard read—not an easy one, but a meaningful one . . .”
—Craig Dorman, RDML, USN (Ret.) and PhD.
“Wow! What an incredible book . . . I was riveted, and it made me feel compelled, as a citizen, to take the type of action [Dr. Beal advises]. . . . [My] father is a Vietnam veteran, so I understand some of the stories and revelations . . . but I learned a great deal, too.”
—Cheryl Ross, Editor