Book by: David Finkel
Review by: Jennifer Carlsson
Harbert College of Business
Auburn University


This book is a must read for academic advisors especially for advisors or counselors who work with VA students on a larger scale. This book is a true account of how not only military personnel, but also their families deal with war and its after effects. The book follows a couple different veterans and their families as they deal with life after the war. This book tells of the trials and tribulations that veterans and their families go through on a daily basis. Advisors only see a small glimpse into our VA students’ lives, normally just the brief period of time they are in the office. However, David Finkel has used true stories of brave veterans, their families, and the important people who are working with them to help to understand just how deep the impact can be on their lives.  Advisors who read this book will gain a better understanding of how they can help veterans and their families.

The greatest strength of this book, is that this is not one-sided. The stories in this book are told through the voices of numerous individuals. This book even follows a widow and looks into how hard it is to put one’s life back together after losing a loved one. The men in these stories all suffer from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in different and varying degrees. For the most part, PTSD is an invisible disease and advisors may not readily know that the student or their families are suffering from this condition. The stories in this book give us a real account of PTSD, the people it effects, and how deeply it can impact everyone involved. Another strength of this book is that it is realistic and the people who were brave enough to tell their stories were open and honest in their portrayal of what was going on in their lives at the time.

David Finkel does an excellent job in this book at giving people a glimpse into the lives of the military, their families, and the support personnel who work with the veterans and their families. Most advisors are not trained in dealing with psychological conditions such as PTSD or even in helping individuals fully grieve after a lost. However, by reading this book, advisors can begin to see the depth of how serious PTSD can be for all involved. By understanding what military personnel and their families go through; advisors are more adept at seeing the symptoms and can begin to put an action plan in place to help them. The book is an easy and interesting read, and is a practical book for helping advisors understand VA students and families.

Thank You for Your Service. (2013). Book by David Finkel. Review by Jennifer Carlsson. New York, NY: Picador. 256 pp., $16.00, (Paperback), ISBN 978-1-25-05602-3,

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