(A tale of the Southern African Bush War)
“ A journey into the soul of an accidental warrior.” A. Hoon
“It’s like Asterix meets Shakespearean Tragedy” B.v.L.
This powerful point-of-view book recounts Adam Black’s life-changing experiences during the Angolan Border War as a teenage conscript. Adam Black is a young boy/man on two epic juxtaposed and simultaneous journeys. War and first-hand battle experiences induce extreme stresses on its participants. Adam Black is a sensitive and reluctant soldier who is not immune to these extreme stresses. He finds himself not only at the epicentre of the battle but also wages a war between his head and heart, a conflict in which he is bound to be the loser.
Adam shares his feelings regarding this war, some battles, and thoughts around the issues of an armed conflict. This is set in the rich context of the experiences of a child who left a Free State farm naively to fight the evils of Communism in the 1980’s. His understanding (and lack thereof) regarding the motives of battles and challenges in Angola and the subsequent outcomes are told in a series of first-person experiences, flashbacks, flash-forwards to the present and dream sequences. In stark contrast are the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder episodes, detailed fearlessly by the adult Adam. They recount the harrowing cost to the psyche of the man, trying to make sense of his world.
Where the action episodes read like a Tom Clancy novel at times, the PTSD treatment episodes are recounted in halting fashion; as if the adult Adam struggles to even find the words to describe the struggles in his soul between the demons of memory and the angels of hope.
This book covers certain incidents that took place, lived through the eyes of a young soldier in extreme guerrilla warfare situations. It is not merely war-storytelling, but also a journey of how Adam’s values are affected, his slide down the slippery slope of morality, sanity and then Adam’s quest for quintessential reasons to grasp what people had to die for. And what is then left to live for. The telling of absurd incidents and the eccentric characters in Adam’s life serve as a humorous foil to the incessant dangers of his existence.
The South African Border War might have ended on a physical note for the tens of thousands of National Servicemen who went ‘to the border’. However, the mental effects of lives taken and lives lost and the serious psychological consequences to men like Adam are shown in rare and shocking detail.
Adam feels that there was no decisive victor in spite of the conflicts and war lasting a quarter of a century. This frustration in itself is typical of these years and the uncertainties along with the challenges of a New South Africa. The lack of closure that contributes to the stress even pushes the PTSD to an exponential level.
Many veterans of any war and their families, but also people from all walks of life may strongly identify with the story content. Adam’s slide into alcoholism, rehab, recovery and addiction to prescription medication are shared candidly.
Adam’s battle continues – in the acceptance of Depression, Bipolar mood disorder, Affective Disorder, Borderline Disorder, Epilepsy and PTSD episodes. These are typically labelled and sometimes led to him being institutionalized and placed in recovery therapy, such as heavy medication and therapy sessions. How Adam presently copes with the fallout of PTSD and other mental afflictions due to the war is depicted in contrast to the actual battles contents.
Reluctantly Kicking Kittens is published by Reniermedia.com