Vietnam & Beyond
by Jenny La Sala & Jim Markson
Trafford Publishing

"War changes a soldier. It changes his family too. The battle does not end when the troops come home."

The Vietnam War is a war that haunts American history. Today, we are still learning and trying to understand the damaging effects of war on those who serve, most notably the serious condition we know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Markson and La Sala provide a collection of letters that Jim wrote home during his service in Vietnam. Coupled with Jim's reflections as he looks back at what he wrote, the letters offer a poignant view of one soldier's innermost thoughts and feelings. At the time, Jim was simply a young man who found himself immersed in a large scale war that would forever change and shape his life and his family. It has also scarred countless numbers of other veterans and the need to share their experience is what compels so many to write their personal stories.

War affects the soldiers, but it affects their loved ones, too. During the fourteen years that Jenny was married to Jim, his PTSD affected them in ways they did not realize at the time and they eventually divorced. Through this book, Jenny also shares her reflections of how the war changed Jim as a husband and father, and of how it affected their marriage and their family. Jenny and Jim continue to work together to understand what happened to him, and this book is a part of that process.

The book doesn't just highlight Jim's experience as it includes reflections from other Vietnam War Veterans and those who served during World War II, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as shared memories of Jenny and Jim's parents. Vietnam & Beyond is another reminder of the importance in understanding the damages caused by war and how we all can work together to try to help our veterans. It may inspire others to finally speak out and lift the burdens of war and finally heal.

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