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Soldiers Don't Go Mad: A Story of Brotherhood, Poetry and Mental Illness

Charles Glass


ISBN: 9781835010150
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Second Lieutenant Wilfred Owen was twenty-four years old when he was admitted to the newly established Craiglockhart War Hospital for treatment of shell shock. A nascent poet, trying to make sense of the terror he had witnessed, he read a collection of poems from a fellow officer, Siegfried Sassoon, and was impressed by his portrayal of the soldier's plight. One month later, Sassoon himself arrived at Craiglockhart, having refused to return to the front after being wounded during battle.

Over their months at Craiglockhart, each encouraged the other in their work, their personal reckonings with the morality of war, and their treatment. Therapy provided Owen, Sassoon, and their wardmates with insights that allowed them to express themselves better, and for the 28 months that Craiglockhart was in operation, it notably incubated the era's most significant developments in both psychiatry and poetry. Soldiers Don't Go Mad tells for the first time the story of the soldiers and doctors who struggled with the effects of industrial warfare on the psyche.

As he investigates the roots of what we now know as PTSD, Glass brings historical bearing to how we must consider war's ravaging effects on mental health, and the ways in which creative work helps us come to terms with even the darkest of times.