Exit Wounds: One Australian's War On Terror

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Melbourne University Publishing, Oct 1, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
´This is my story, but it is also the story of thousands of Australian veterans from Iraq, East Timor, Afghanistan and other conflicts who bare similar emotional scars. This is what becomes of those men and women we send off to war, pay little attention to, then forget once they are home.═ As a country boy from Queensland, John Cantwell signed up to the army as a private and rose to the rank of major general. He was on the front line in 1991 as Coalition forces fitted bulldozer blades to tanks and buried alive Iraqi troops in their trenches. He fought in Baghdad in 2006 and saw what a car bomb does to a marketplace crowded with women and children. In 2010 he commanded the Australian forces in Afghanistan when ten of his soldiers were killed. He returned to Australia in 2011 to be considered for the job of chief of the Australian Army. Instead, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Exit Wounds is the compassionate and deeply human account of one man═s tour of the War on Terror, the moving story of life on a modern battlefield: from the nightmare of cheating death in a minefield, to the poignancy of calling home while under rocket fire in Baghdad, to the utter despair of looking into the face of a dead soldier before sending him home to his mother. He has hidden his post traumatic stress disorder for decades, fearing it will affect his career. Australia has been at war for the past twenty years and yet there has been no stand-out account from these conflicts Exit Wounds is it. Raw, candid and eye-opening, no one who reads this book will be unmoved, nor forget its imagery or words.

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User Review  - Carpe_Librum - LibraryThing

Major General John Cantwell (retired) has written a sobering account of his career with the Australian Army in the first person, with the editing and guidance of Greg Bearup with the result being the ... Read full review

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As close to Iraq and Afghanistan as I ever want to get..
John shows his brilliance, not just in Service/leadership but an incredible talent for writing (communication).
Also amazing courage, from
the dark desert nights to his honesty in the epilogue vs prologue
This book re-affirms why all decent Australians know. They are truly in debt - to the commitment and lifelong sacrifices made by armed forces personnel.
My father gave 38-years of Service too, I read this book to help me understand what role his exit wounds played in his death. What helped was identifying with the entire book (life of an army man) however chapter 32 really hit home as to why he was taken from us.
Thank you John.
A fantastic, electrifying read and insight into the heart of a great man and amazing Australian.

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About the author (2012)

Major General John Cantwell AO, DSC joined the Australian Army as a private in 1974. He served in the first Gulf War with the Coalition forces between 1990 and 1991, and in the second Gulf War in 2006 and 2007, where he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Army. In 2010 he served a twelve-month tour as the commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in the 2012 Australia Day Honours List. Cantwell retired from the Army in 2012 after 38 years of service. Co-writer Greg Bearup has been a feature writer at the Good Weekend for the past ten years and has twice been awarded a Walkley Award for his writing. Prior to this he worked for the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2004/5 he took leave from his job and lived in Pakistan and filed for various newspapers including the Guardian. He also worked for the UN on various elections and lived in Syria, for the vote of Iraqi refugees, and Bamyan, in the remote mountains of Central Afghanistan. In 2009 he published Adventures in Caravanastan about a trip around Australia in a caravan with his partner and their baby. Reviewer Bruce Elder described it as ´a subtle and ambiguous love letter to Australia in all its glory, craziness and diversity═.

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