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Books, Journals, New Media
May 6, 1998

War TraumaShook Over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 1998;279(17):1406-1408. doi:10.1001/jama.279.17.1406-JBK0506-3-1

In his perceptive and challenging book, Eric T. Dean, Jr, an attorney and recent PhD graduate in history from Yale University writes, "The Civil War was devastating in its impact. Over 600000 soldiers died in a four-year period at a time when the total population of the United States was 35 million; by comparison, the Vietnam War claimed 58000 lives over a ten-year period when the population of the United States exceeded 200 million." Thus, Dean begins his book with a deceptively simple premise: although Vietnam veterans clearly suffered postwar mental and readjustment problems, theirs were no more severe than problems experienced by veterans of other wars and, in particular, the Civil War.

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