May 27, 2009

SOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and PTSD

SOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq - and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

CLINT VAN WINKLE served for eight years in the United States Marine Corps, earning the rank of sergeant. While in Iraq he served as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle section leader, attached to Lima Company 3rd BN 1st Marines, and commanded eighteen other Marines. After two tours of duty, he returned to earn a BA in English from Arizona State University, then a MA in Creative Writing and Media from the University of Wales-Swansea, and began to publish pieces of this book in literary magazines.

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.

But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.

From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed AmericaSOFT SPOTS: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, went on-sale March 3.


  1. I am hopeful that Soft Spots will bring healing to all those who read it. I can only begin to imagine what a labor of love it was to write, edit and re-live the contents during its creation.

  2. Thank you for writing this many of us do care and it kills me that any soldier or vet would feel so alone.

    The man who has my heart struggles with combat PTSD and every little piece like this book helps more than you know.



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