Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle
A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Synopsis

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

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 America.


 

About Clint Van Winkle

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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. He lives with his wife in Chesapeake, Virginia.
 
Published March 3, 2009 by St. Martin's Press. 222 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Fortunately, when he focuses on his emotions, confronting his doubts about the war and his guilt for doubting it while Marines are still fighting and dying in it, he earns the hard-boiled edge of his prose.

Dec 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir...

Publishers Weekly

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in creative writing after returning from Iraq) emphasizes that every marine’s desire was not to spread freedom but to come home alive, and while the book describes some firefights, there are even more incidents of Van Winkle and his comrades blazing away at vehicles or distant figures only to dis...

Dec 15 2008 | Read Full Review of Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir...

Bookmarks Magazine

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 t...

Feb 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir...

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