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Memory, War and Trauma


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Many millions of people are affected by the trauma of war. Psychologists have a good understanding of how experiences of war impact on memory, but the significance of external environmental influences is often disregarded. Memory, War and Trauma focuses on our understanding of the psychosocial impact of war in its broadest sense. Nigel C. Hunt argues that, in order to understand war trauma, it is critical to develop an understanding not only of the individual perspective but also of how societal and cultural factors impact on the outcome of an individual's experience. This is a compelling book which helps to demonstrate why some people suffer from post-traumatic stress while other people don't, and how narrative understanding is important to the healing process. Its multidisciplinary perspective will enable a deeper understanding of both individual traumatic stress and the structures of memory.

• Brings together literature from psychology, sociology, literature and history to provide a full explanation of how we respond to traumatic experiences • Examines the psychosocial consequences of war, dealing with traumatic stress and how to understand memory through the example of trauma • Includes a chapter on battlefield tours to help generate a personal understanding of battle


1. Background and purpose; 2. Historical perspective; 3. Methods and ethics; 4. Current theory: post-traumatic stress disorder; 5. Approaches to understanding trauma; 6. Positive outcomes of traumatic experiences; 7. Memory and history; 8. Personal narrative and social discourse; 9. Illustrating narrative as a scientific technique: the role of social support; 10. Ageing, trauma and memory; 11. Literature and trauma; 12. Memorialisation and commemoration; 13. Battlefield tours; 14. Conclusions and future directions.


'An imaginative and highly readable introduction to the study of the lifelong personal consequences of war. The author demonstrates a lively personal engagement with his subject and has the necessary wide range of interests, from the biological and social sciences to the humanities, to do it justice.' Peter G. Coleman, University of Southampton

'Nigel Hunt's Memory, War and Trauma is a must-read for military and other psychologists and mental health workers together with many others, including historians, social scientists and writers, who may have an interest in the topic. The book provides a very readable overview of the area with a particular focus on the roles of personal narrative and social discourse and on the perspective shown from literature.' Jamie Hacker Hughes, Ministry of Defence

'… the author sheds new light on the individual and social narratives relating to this enormous subject.' Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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