Fergal Keane The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD


Code 9780008420437
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A powerful, probing book about PTSD.

As a journalist Keane has covered conflict and brutality across the world for more than thirty years, from Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and many more. Driven by an irresistible compulsion to be where the night is darkest, he made a name for reporting with humanity and empathy from places where death and serious injury were not abstractions, and tragedy often just a moment's bad luck away.

But all this time he struggled not to be overwhelmed by another story, his acute 'complex post-traumatic stress disorder', a condition arising from exposure to multiple instances of trauma experienced over a long period. This condition has caused him to suffer a number of mental breakdowns and hospitalisations. Despite this, and countless promises to do otherwise, he has gone back to the wars again and again.


In this powerful and intensely personal book, Keane interrogates what it is that draws him to the wars, what keeps him there and offers a reckoning of the damage done.

PTSD affects approximately six per cent of the adult population from all walks of life. Trauma can be found in many places, not just war. Keane's book speaks to the struggle of all who are trying to recover from injury, addiction and mental breakdown. It is a survivor's story drawn from lived experience, told with honesty, courage and an open heart.

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'The Madness is a powerful account of the brutality of conflict and the horrors of war - both across the world and inside the self. In sharp prose, Keane writes compellingly about where his thirst for truth comes from, and takes him to the frontline of the some of the most infamous violence of our times. Unsettled ghosts rise from the bogs of Kerry; unmarked graves in Northern Ireland; Rwandan soil; a cellar in Palestine - what's clear is man's inhumanity to man is relentless and haunts the writer, driving him to understand our most base motivations, to rationalise terror, to witness and report conflict at close range and ultimately, to do no harm. The Madness is an extraordinary, captivating account of one man's journey in search of truth, as he excavates the human story from chaos.'
- Elaine Feeney

'Fergal Keane's unflinching account of the effects of trauma on his own life is the source of his book's profound capacity to move its reader. With radical honesty and openness, and a vulnerability that I suspect required no small amount of courage, he more than fulfils the aim he sets out for himself in the prologue: to let others who bear similar burdens know they are not alone.'
- Kevin Powers, bestselling and prize-winning author of The Yellow Birds

'A completely honest account of reporting conflict.'
- Independent

'An empowering story of triumph over adversity.'
- Irish Times

'Profoundly honest.'
- Observer

'His book is a memoir but it is so much more than that...a volume of the most exquisitely written and moving truth and honesty.'

'Keane catches both shrinking revulsion and astounding courage to brilliant effect...I found myself, on one or two pages towards the close, caught in a choking emotion.'
- The Guardian


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