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"War's Over, Come Home" by Patrick Smithwick

Patrick Smithwick's wonderful books have always started from home — the beautiful terrain around Monkton, Maryland. He grew up the son and nephew of the steeplechasing Smithwick brothers, A. P. ("Paddy") and Michael, and rode in the great Maryland Hunt Cup himself.

In "War's Over, Come Home," Smithwick focuses on a family tragedy, the effect of two tours of duty in the Iraq War on his son Andrew, who returned with severe symptoms of PTSD and has lived as a wandering homeless man for most of the years since. The narrative of the family's searches for Andrew has the intensity and suspense of a thriller. As Andrew's troubles, distant as they are, gnaw at the family fabric, Smithwick handles the agreements and disagreements, the quarrels, his own and others' occasional pettiness, with just the right level of clear-eyed depth. He is equally fair with the laws of privacy that sometimes prevent the family from finding out what they want to know, and the balance between their rights and Andrew's is a central problem. No one who cares about the plight of today's veterans should miss this splendid book.

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