Soldiers Don't Go Mad

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Pub Date 23 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 22 Nov 2023

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A brilliant and poignant history of the friendship between two great war poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, alongside a narrative investigation of the origins of PTSD and the literary response to World War I

Second Lieutenant Wilfred Owen was twenty-four years old when he was admitted to the newly established Craiglockhart War Hospital for treatment of shell shock. A bourgeoning poet, trying to make sense of the terror he had witnessed, he read a collection of poems from a fellow officer, Siegfried Sassoon, and was impressed by his portrayal of the soldier’s plight. One month later, Sassoon himself arrived at Craiglockhart, having refused to return to the front after being wounded during battle.

As their friendship evolved over their months as patients at Craiglockhart, each encouraged the other in their work, in their personal reckonings with the morality of war, as well as in their treatment. Therapy provided Owen, Sassoon, and fellow patients with insights that allowed them express themselves better, and for the 28 months that Craiglockhart was in operation, it notably incubated the era’s most significant developments in both psychiatry and poetry.

Drawing on rich source materials, as well as Glass’s own deep understanding of trauma and war, Soldiers Don’t Go Mad tells for the first time the story of the soldiers and doctors who struggled with the effects of industrial warfare on the human psyche. As he investigates the roots of what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder, Glass brings historical bearing to how we must consider war’s ravaging effects on mental health, and the ways in which creative work helps us come to terms with even the darkest of times.

A brilliant and poignant history of the friendship between two great war poets, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, alongside a narrative investigation of the origins of PTSD and the literary...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781835010150
PRICE £22.00 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Prior to reading this book, the extent of my experience with Craiglockhart was a passing mention in my GCSE English class when we were studying the poems of Wilfrid Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Nevertheless, I have been interested in the topic ever since, and this book only served to deepen my interest in a way that was both very brutal, and very realising.

The way in which Charles Glass writes was very captivating. I never really found myself feeling bored whilst reading this book, and I often found myself reading well into the night when I perhaps should've gone to sleep! It is perhaps one of my favourite non-fiction books that I have read, and I definitely intend to buy a physical copy because I can imagine myself reading this over and over again.

I didn't know much about Craiglockhart and the history of treatment of 'shellshock' (now referred to as PTSD), and I feel as though this book gives me very well rounded history, beginning from the founding of Craiglockhart and the earlier lives of its' first doctors, to its' very end. It was a very interesting read, but I will admit, it has left me reeling somewhat. I would 100% recommend this book,

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