Published: 1 October 2015
Hardback, Royal HB
156x234mm, 336 pages
The Untold Story of Surviving Peace
Over the last decade, we have sent thousands of people to fight on our behalf. But what happens when these soldiers come back home, having lost their friends and killed their enemies, having seen and done things that have no place in civilian life? In Aftershock, Matthew Green tells the story of our veterans' journey from the frontline of combat to the reality of return.
Through wide-ranging interviews with former combatants - including a Royal Marine sniper and a veteran operator in the SAS - as well as serving personnel and their families, physicians, therapists and psychiatrists, Aftershock looks beyond the labels of shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to get to the heart of today's post-conflict experience. It pursues the question that the military are so reluctant to ask: why do people who are trained to thrive within the theatre of war so often find themselves ill-prepared for peace?
As a new generation of battle-scarred troops begins to lay their weapons down, Aftershock offers an empathetic yet hard-hitting account of the hidden cost of conflict. And its message is one that has profound implications, not just for the military, but for anyone with an interest in how we experience trauma and survive.
‘An urgent manifesto... [Green's] book sharply exposes the faults in the current system... The stories Green has collected are so powerful because they are some of the only means we have of measuring the true scale of PTSD in Britain’ Joe Shute
‘Compelling and instructive... [This is] a work of integrity and substance, and as so much of it touches on interdepartmental matters it ought to be read by every minister’ Allan Mallinson
‘Compelling, humbling and hugely inspiring accounts from the real heroes of our era. We have a duty to understand what these men have given on our behalf’ Bear Grylls
‘Green has documented the hidden cost of modern war in a way no other author has ever even attempted. Intelligent, sensitive, courageous and tenacious, he has spent two years listening to the harrowing stories of former soldiers struggling to cope with PTSD - and hearing how the military and medical establishment have, for the most part, failed them. The MoD should hang their heads in shame if this book does not become required reading at every staff college. Aftershock hasn't come a moment too soon’ James Fergusson, author
‘Green tells the uncomfortable story of our veterans' journey from the frontline of combat to the reality of return brilliantly via first-person accounts and interviews with former combatants and their families, military experts, physicians and psychologists’
‘If we expect our lives and freedoms to be protected we have a duty to those who do this. As a society, as people, surely we must take responsibility for the bodies, minds, and indeed souls of those who fight for us? Aftershock makes this point again and again, powerfully and compellingly’ Justine Hardy, trauma therapist, author
‘This is a most compelling book which tells the story of those who have suffered so much in the conduct of operation to protect our security. Mental health pressures need to move centre stage in our priorities - now!’ Sir Richard Dannatt, former General Chief of Staff