Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pathway to Hell by Dennis W. Brandt

Surgeons examining Andersonville prison survivor--the physical damage was only part of the story
I have just finished reading Pathway to Hell: A Tragedy of the American Civil War by Dennis W. Brandt.  It is the story of one Civil War soldier, Angelo Crapsey, who might have suffered from what we today call PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), what then was termed nostalgia, soldier's heart, or a variety of other terms, if it was identified at all.  Private Crapsey, who committed suicide after the war, left a series of letters that along with other historical documents and records, were psychologically analyzed by author Brandt, looking for evidence that this soldier exhibited PTSD. I read this book in hopes of getting insights into what my ancestor may have faced as a result of his war and prison ordeals.  Few books have dealt with this topic for Civil War soldiers and I found the information very helpful in understanding what Private Terman and his family might have faced after the Civil War, the basis for my sequel.

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