Title: The War Inside His Mind: A Soldier's Battle to Erase the Emotional Damage of Combat
Author: Y.M. Masson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Drafted into the French-Algerian war of the late 1950s, Alain takes over command of an infantry platoon in the mountains of North Africa, where he learns the reality of combat and gains the experience he needs to survive and to lead his men. The shock of the casualties his platoon suffers turns him into the ruthless warrior he never thought he would become. His blood boils when the dissidents he is fighting use the civilians he is assigned to protect as instruments of war: a rancher’s family, slaughtered with knives; an innocent little girl, sent to hand him a live grenade that almost kills them both. He befriends another little girl, five-year old Aisha, and rescues her after attacks on her father’s farm. The toll on him is high, but the beauty of the Atlas Mountains and the mesmerizing emptiness and colors of the Sahara nurture his soul and offset some of the traumatic effects of the relentless war. Alain accumulates a heavy baggage he will have to take to civilian life, if he makes it. Yet he has no choice but to go on.
After surviving World War II in Paris, Alain is drafted into the French-Algerian war in the late 1950s. He takes command of an infantry platoon in North Africa and soon learns war is hell. Combat brings out the best and worst in men but for Alain, he becomes a ruthless leader of men. What he witnesses will tear him apart. If he survives this war, he'll need to come to grips with the war inside his mind.
The War Inside His Mind takes the reader inside the French-Algerian War with compelling storytelling I couldn't turn away from. Y.M. Masson continues the story of Alain and sheds new light on how war can change men, women, and children. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the conflict Alain deals with, becoming the one thing he never thought he'd become. The gripping descriptive narration propels the plot. There are no filters here and Massson describes a country at war and the wicked acts which arise. Historically accurate, The War Inside His Mind will change your view on combat and war. Brilliantly written, this is a must-read!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Born in Paris, as a young boy Yves Masson experienced the hardships of German occupation. Not yet five years old when he is strafed by German dive bombers, Alain learn about war, the random checkpoints and round-ups manned by the occupying army, the lines for food and the increasing scarcity of basic nutrition needs, the horrors of friends taken away, and the nightly fear of being buried in bombing raids. With his friends, Alain survives although being almost shot more than once. Never giving up hope, he welcomes the Allies who liberate Paris and thanks the GIs who freed him from oppression and gave him some of their food. After serving in the French army during the Algerian war, 15 years late, he left France for New York City in 1965 and became a United States citizen in the early seventies. He lived in New York, Georgia, and California, and has made Florida his home state since 2011. After working as a marketing executive in Corporate America and running his own consulting firm, Yves turned to the arts. He is an accomplished portrait artist, but he feels it is more important to share his life experiences with his readers. Yves knows what war does to people and especially to children. His ability to describe the daily fears, the devastating hunger pains, and the despair of deprivation and coercion draws his audience into the struggle for survival of his young characters.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N