Veterans on Trial


Veterans on Trial

The Coming Court Battles over PTSD

Barry R. Schaller

288 pages


June 2012


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2011


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About the Book

Experts anticipate that more than 350,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will return to civilian life with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Barry R. Schaller, a judge and a bioethicist, chronicles the events leading to what he predicts will be the most challenging PTSD epidemic in U.S. military history. Although combat veterans have experienced similar disorders in previous wars, Schaller explains why these two contemporaneous wars in particular are a breeding ground for the condition.Veterans on Trial deals with the problem of PTSD from the ground up, starting with the issues that returning veterans and their families face. When they leave the battlefield to become civilians again, many soldiers are not prepared, or are unable, to cope successfully with the challenges. Their compounded anxieties often result in serious trouble: divorce, job loss, homelessness, substance abuse, suicide, and even murder. Schaller also explains how PTSD now operates as a means of defense in the criminal court system and how it will affect the courts in the next decade.After unveiling this invisible injury among the walking wounded, Schaller offers far-reaching solutions for returning veterans and their families. He specifies what political and judicial officials, military leaders, legislators, and the mental health communities can do to meet their responsibilities to the men and women who serve our nation.

Author Bio

BARRY R. SCHALLER is a clinical visiting lecturer at the Yale Law School, where he received his law degree, and a visiting lecturer at Trinity College. Since retiring from the Connecticut Supreme Court, he continues his judicial service on the Connecticut Appellate Court. He is the author of A Vision of American Law (Praeger, 1997) and Understanding Bioethics and the Law (Praeger, 2008). He lives in Guilford, Connecticut.


"Barry Schaller’s enlightening narrative will go a long way toward helping to educate members of the military, law enforcement, the courts, and the general public about the unique challenges facing veterans struggling with the ‘invisible’ injuries of war. In this compelling book, Schaller effectively addresses one of the most complex issues facing American society."—Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, USA (Ret.), former vice chief of staff; CEO, One Mind for Research

"Veterans on Trial is sobering, insightful, and enormously timely. Far more than a legal treatise, it is a compelling cultural, political, and national security assessment of the significant and deeply misunderstood psychiatric casualties that accompany any national decision on military intervention. Barry Schaller has written the definitive analysis of the mental health consequences of war."—Lt. Gen. Daniel W. Christman, USA (Ret.), former superintendent, United States Military Academy

"Justice Schaller effectively and simply lays out the framework for understanding PTSD and the negative and far-reaching effects it has on society as a whole. If his suggestions for how to deal more effectively with PTSD were incorporated by our politicians, military leadership, mental health and legal communities, and by the general population, the long-term impact of PTSD could be mitigated, and it would be less costly—monetarily and in quality of life—for so many veterans and their families. This book should be required reading by the legal and psychological communities, as well as by the layman."—Laurie Harkness, PhD, director, Errera Community Care Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and clinical professor in psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

“This book is the clearest, most concise, and evenly argued history and analysis of PTSD and its effect on families and society that I’ve ever read. It should be required reading for anyone in the legal, medical, or mental health fields, because all of them, after ten years of war, are going to be hit with what the author persuasively argues is going to be a national public health issue of grave proportions.”—Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn and What It Is Like to Go to War

"Hundreds of thousands of troops are returning from war with PTSD caused by combat, sexual assault, or both. In his wise and compassionate book, Justice Schaller makes a compelling argument for why we must acknowledge the damage war does to our soldiers before we deploy them. As he so ably demonstrates, we must also learn how to ameliorate it afterward, recognizing the unique circumstances of veterans while also maintaining the right of all citizens to equal protection under the law."—Helen Benedict, author of Sand Queen and The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq

"Schaller’s comprehensive study reminds us that while veterans are returning home in large numbers with an array of grievous physical and mental wounds, it is the nation itself—its political and military leadership, its social service and judicial institutions—that is on trial."—Larry Minear, author of Through Veterans’ Eyes: The Iraq and Afghanistan Experience