The Impact of the Vietnam War on American Religion and Culture

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One of the central ideas of Jonathan Shay’s book Achilles in Vietnam is the idea of how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or what he calls “combat trauma” undoes character. Jim Nolan also used this term to describe his experiences in Vietnam. Discuss this idea which is so important that he subtitles his book Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character in a well-organized and well-written essay. What are the main elements of the trauma that undoes character according to Shay? Discuss two examples of the “undoing of character” in the narratives of two different speakers in our class. However, you may not use Jim Nolan’s account, but only two others.

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