Praise for War and Moral Injury


Poets & Novelists

War and Moral Injury is a profound and courageous reader that gathers the voices of warriors, chaplains, reporters, poets, and scholars to open an honest place for our generation to deepen the timeless conversation about what constitutes Moral Jnjury and how we might restore our humanity by repairing and atoning for what violence has done to all of us. In a world increasingly numb to what we do to each other, it is clear that unless the wounds of war are forthrightly addressed, the violence will keep permeating the societies we live in. This book and the integral voices it carries helps to stop the cycle of violence and to begin to heal the trespass.
— Mark Nepo, author of More Together Than Alone and Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Warriors & National Security Professionals

Moral Injury, an ancient idea with a new name, is not PTSD. But, like PTSD, it deserves in-depth exploration. Meagher and Pryer compiled such an exploration with disparate viewpoints from poets to professors, and from warriors to chaplains. Moral Injury’s guilt and shame festers in darkness. War and Moral Injury: A Reader brilliantly sheds a much-needed, antiseptic light on this terrible wound.
— Colonel Clark C. Barrett, Ph.D., Iraq War veteran, infantry officer, and military ethicist
As a field battalion surgeon in Vietnam, I am a witness to the moral and physical injury inflicted by war. Thanks to the contributors for the healing made possible by the compassion and wisdom that is woven into every page of this magnificent volume.
— Larry Dossey, MD, author of Recovering the Soul and Healing Word
This compilation of essays and poetry is a large and important step in our understanding of the tremendous psychic wounds that typically result from participation in war. No one is immune. In my military career I witnessed many - including career special operations soldiers — who found their lives undone by this wounding. This book offers varied insights into the phenomenon of moral injury and sends a clear message to those afflicted - you are not alone and there is a way out of the hell you have found yourself in. For therapists, counselors, and healers, it provides understanding and effective methods for bringing our warriors home and, in the process, healing the society. An important work.
— Paul L. Henderson, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), US Amy Special Forces
Dutifully edited by two of the top scholars and military experts in the field, War and Moral Injury is invaluable not only for our returning veterans, but also for non-military readers. It should be read by anyone concerned about sustaining and strengthening the health of our nation’s military and its veterans into and beyond the 21st century.
— Lionel Beehner, Ph.D., West Point Modern War Institute Director of Research
War and Moral Injury presents compelling perspectives on the emerging science of Moral Injury, the existential trauma that can accompany even such legally justifiable combat actions as the taking of human life. This volume’s diverse views will help those who suffer the unseen wounds of moral trauma and serve a heuristic value in generating future scientific study.
— Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D., West Point Professor of Engineering Psychology and Author of Head Strong: How Psychology is Revolutionizing War


Honoring our military veterans is right and necessary. However, it too often leads to glorifying war itself. The stories in this collection are a powerful antidote to that false logic. They tell us that while respecting veterans’ bravery and sacrifice we must not forget the true nature of war: when unnecessary, a crime, and even when necessary, something to grieve, not celebrate.
— Arnold R. Isaacs, former Vietnam war correspondent, author of Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia and Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy


As William Tecumseh Sherman remarked, “War is hell.” This book explores that truism and offers a way to find the journey out of hell. In the opening pages, you will find a reason for the descent into hell: “no matter what crackling pain and anger you carry in your fists, my friend, it should break your heart to kill.”
— Robert G. Certain, Chaplain, Col, US Air Force (Retired), Military Chaplains Association past president

Scholars & Mental Health Professionals

This wide-ranging collection of different intellectual disciplines, professions, and voices provides many doorways into one common room—a deeper appreciation of war’s costs on both individual humans and our common humanity. This excellent volume adds to our growing understanding of Moral Injury—one of the signature wounds of the post-9/11 era—and what is required to heal it.
— Elizabeth A. Stanley, Ph.D., former U.S. Army intelligence officer, associate professor of security studies, Georgetown University, author of Paths to Peace
By bringing together multiple voices—warriors and poets, scholars, journalists, and chaplains—this book is a rich, nuanced approach to the complex issue of Moral Injury, which can and does arise in all manner of conflict situations, not just war. It will work on readers like a haunting portrait, lingering in heart and mind long after the last page is read.
— Elizabeth Eowyn Nelson, Ph.D, Pacifica Graduate Institute
This wonderful collection of writings goes to the moral and spiritual heart of the psychological wounds of war, so poorly understood through the general and somewhat misguided term, posttraumatic stress disorder. It should be essential reading for all those working with veterans and their loved ones, and I hope that many isolated veterans will find in these pages words that can help them find their way home.
— Roger Brooke, Professor of Psychology and Director, Military Psychological Services, Duquesne University
Recent decades have brought increased attention to PTSD as a cost of war. The post-911 conflicts have added traumatic brain injury. But soldiers have always known that the dangers are deeper, threatening their very moral foundations. This brilliant book gathers an amazing collection of material, from poetry through social science to philosophy, that illuminates the dark forces that war can unleash.
— Stephen Soldz, Director, Social Justice and Human Rights Program, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
If you are a non-combatant interested in a life with depth, with real humanity, then allow yourself to be guided into the inner darkness of war, and beyond, by the courageous, no bull-shit, truth-bearing veterans in this volume. While the focus is on the consequences for conscience and soul when the blood of war is visible on your hands, in the process a precious window is opened for all of us to grapple more honestly, more humbly and more hopefully with accepting our share of responsibility for violent conflicts, with transforming the profoundly dehumanizing legacy of war, whether justified or not.
— Wilhelm Verwoerd, Ph.D. Philosopher and International Peace and Reconciliation Worker, Director of the International “Beyond Dehumanization Project,” author of My Winds of Change (Foreword by Nelson Mandela)