Retired Navy SEAL James Hatch was adamant about avoiding macho cliches in a memoir that offers wrenching detail on mental and physical wounds that nearly drove him to suicide.
“Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life’s Wars” uses judicious wartime descriptions, but doesn’t skimp on details about his difficult recovery from a career-ending leg wound.
The title refers to a technique Hatch learned in a mental hospital after his wife encountered him at home with a gun in his mouth. The approach involved writing, over and over, about the night he was wounded.
That written recollection sets the stage for Hatch’s reflections on how commandos fighting abroad cope with returning to civilian life.