An Irish Times book of the year 2022
A powerful, probing book about PTSD.
As a journalist Keane has covered conflict and brutality across the world for more than thirty years, from Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and many more. Driven by an irresistible compulsion to be where the night is darkest, he made a name for reporting with humanity and empathy from places where death and serious injury were not abstractions, and tragedy often just a moment’s bad luck away.
But all this time he struggled not to be overwhelmed by another story, his acute ‘complex post-traumatic stress disorder’, a condition arising from exposure to multiple instances of trauma experienced over a long period. This condition has caused him to suffer a number of mental breakdowns and hospitalisations. Despite this, and countless promises to do otherwise, he has gone back to the wars again and again.
In this powerful and intensely personal book, Keane interrogates what it is that draws him to the wars, what keeps him there and offers a reckoning of the damage done.
PTSD affects people from all walks of life. Trauma can be found in many places, not just war. Keane’s book speaks to the struggle of all who are trying to recover from injury, addiction and mental breakdown. It is a survivor’s story drawn from lived experience, told with honesty, courage and an open heart.