Tim O’Brien has been hailed as “the best American writer of his generation” (San Francisco Examiner). A Vietnam veteran, he is the author of eight books. He received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel Going After Cacciato. In 2005 The Things They Carried was named by The New York Times as one of the twenty best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of The Things They Carried received the prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, and the title story was selected by John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In the Lake of the Woods, published in 1994, was chosen by Time magazine as the best novel of that year. The book also received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. Tim O’Brien’s other works include If I Die in a Combat Zone, Northern Lights, Tomcat in Love and July, July. His short fiction, which received the National Magazine Award, has appeared in numerous journals, including The New Yorker, Atlantic, Esquire, Playboy, and Harper’s.
Kate Braestrup is a Unitarian-Universalist chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Here If You Need Me, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for nonfiction. Her magazine articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD is a clinical psychiatrist whose treatment of combat trauma suffered by Vietnam veterans combined with his critical and imaginative interpretations of the ancient accounts of battle described in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are deepening our understanding of the effects of warfare on the individual. His book, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994), draws parallels between the depiction of the epic warrior-hero Achilles and the experiences of individual veterans whom he treated at a Boston-area Veterans Affairs’ Outpatient Clinic. In Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002), using Odysseus as metaphor, Shay focuses on the veteran’s experience upon returning from war and highlights the role of military policy in promoting the mental and physical safety of soldiers. A passionate advocate for veterans and committed to minimizing future psychological trauma, Shay strives for structural reform of the ways the U.S. armed forces are organized, trained, and counseled.
Respected by humanists and military leaders alike, Shay brings into stark relief the emotional problems faced by military combatants and veterans, ancient and modern. In 2007, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for his work with veterans.
Please be aware that the content in these audio files does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Maine Humanities Council or any organization with which the Maine Humanities Council is affiliated. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.