Thursday, December 17, 2009

Irony: while we were writing about a comeback hero, he was having a major setback, hospitalized for depression

Irony is never far from us here on planet earth. While we were writing about comeback exemplar Sen. Max Cleland in Extraordinary Comebacks, he was having a crushing meltdown that put him back in Walter Reed Army hospital.

He tells the story in his new book. "Heart of a Patriot - How I Found The Courage To Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed, and Karl Rove," by Max Cleland, with Ben Raines (Simon and Schuster, 2009) ISBN 978-1-4391-2605-9. Promotion excerpt follows:

But during his (2002) reelection campaign he is singled out by Republicans, who smear him as "unpatriotic." He loses his seat and begins another steep tumble. A long-dormant case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, awakened after 9/11 by the invasion of Iraq, pushes Max to the brink. Forty years after Vietnam, having reached -- and fallen from -- a pinnacle of power, Max returns to Walter Reed as a patient, surrounded by veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Among them, Max again finds the faith and endurance to regain control of his life.

In a memoir free of bitterness but frank about the costs of being a soldier, Max Cleland describes with love the ties America's soldiers forge with one another, along with the disillusionment many of them experience when they come home. He spares no one his humiliations and setbacks in this gut-wrenching account of his life in the hope it will keep even one veteran from descending into darkness. Heart of a Patriot is a story about the joy of serving the country you love, no matter the cost -- and how to recover from the deepest wounds of war.

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