|About the Book|
UNKNOWN SOLDIER follows the life of combat veteran Sam Collister, who served as a rifle-platoon sergeant during WW II battles at places like Caen and Falaise. About to turn 60, Collister still has not come to terms with peacetime - the materialisticMoreUNKNOWN SOLDIER follows the life of combat veteran Sam Collister, who served as a rifle-platoon sergeant during WW II battles at places like Caen and Falaise. About to turn 60, Collister still has not come to terms with peacetime - the materialistic and seemingly banal civilian society he fought to preserve in warfare which cost the lives of many of the men he was responsible for keeping alive so they could kill men of the other side. He has become an embittered and often violent pacifist, besieged by nightmarish memories and on the cusp of losing his battle with alcoholism. And yet Sam is both a good man and a strong man. A drunken-hearted man. Unknown Soldier presents the story of his attempt to find the way up in the way down, to find again the qualities of leadership, compassion and determination which made him a good soldier so long ago. If he were a veteran of Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, he would be considered a victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but the kindest term available in his time would have been battle fatigue. First published in 1987 and long out of print, this book is poignantly appropriate now, when World War II lies 65 years in the past and this country receives its veterans home from places like Kandahar and the forbidden ridges of Pakistan - better prepared to treat them as walking wounded, but still not well able to comprehend what it is like for them to have survived, what it is like for them to re-enter a civilian society to which they have become alien. To comprehend how utterly changed they are.