Wounded I Am More Awake
Finding Meaning after Terror
Author(s): Julia Lieblich, Esad Boskailo
A psychiatrist and a journalist join together to tell a story of genocide and healing
Wounded I Am More Awake follows the story of Esad Boskailo, a doctor who survives six concentration camps in Bosnia and emerges with powerful new lessons for healing in an age of genocide.
This gripping account raises questions for healers, survivors, and readers striving to understand the reality of war and the aftermath of terror. Is it possible to find meaning after enduring crimes against humanity? Can people heal after trauma?
Human rights journalist Julia Lieblich takes the reader through Boskailo's early years under Tito to the wars when friends turned on friends. She documents his harrowing experiences in the camps, where the men he once joined for coffee murder his best friend from childhood.
But the story does not end there. Boskailo moves to the United States and decides to become a psychiatrist so he can guide survivors through the long-term process of restoring hope. Today, inspired by the late psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, Boskailo uses his own experience to help patients mourn their losses and find meaning in the aftermath of terror.
Biography of Author(s)Julia Lieblich is an award-winning human rights journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Time, Life, and Ms. A former religion writer for the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press, she is an assistant professor of journalism at Loyola University Chicago.
Esad Boskailo is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix and Associate Director of Psychiatric Residency Training at the Maricopa Integrated Health System. Trained in family medicine in Bosnia, he works with survivors of trauma from domestic abuse to war.
- "Wounded I Am More Awake is a meditative, jarring and untimately optimistic triumph of human rights journalism that should be read by everyone"
--The Faster Times
- "I have just turned the last page. I feel drained, enraged, despairing for humanity--but also enriched, confirmed, and, in a way, elated. This unlikely couple, a journalist who wrote the story and a psychiatrist who lived the story, have accomplished something that is remarkable and necessary. They relived and recorded one man's survival of genocide in a narrative that conveys such well-chosen detail that you smell the stench and sweat of bodies in a concentration camp, but you have just enough air to breathe and distance to carry you through the darkness.
"We must acknowledge the extremes of human evil, and face the history of collective atrocity. We must understand the impact of cruelty and loss on those who escape and endure. And the only way to learn the hardest lessons of inhumanity is for the tale to be told so well that we permit ourselves to take it in, to appreciate the dignity of those who have been deliberately debased, but who act in small, decent ways. They share bread. They restrain anger that could damage a fellow prisoner. They testify and risk the reprisal of others and, even worse, the reprisal of unforgiving memory. This is my world, the world of those who witness trauma and terror and loss. These are my people, the victims who prevail, the therapists who listen, the journalists who witness, perceive, and relate.
"Read this book. It will take you where you would rather not go, but you will be better for going there."
--Frank Ochberg, MD, founder of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
- "Employing a human-rights framework rather than a theological one, this book illustrates how storytelling can be healing--a timely lesson for congregants, churches, and clergy as they grapple with the problem of evil in an age of terror."
- "Wounded I Am More Awake is a clear-eyed gem of a memoir with a message far beyond one man's experience. It tells Boskailo's story artfully. Above all, Boskailo's courage and empathy help us imagine how it is possible to transcend the worst sufferings one human can impose on another."
--The Chicago Tribune
- "A talented journalist and an exceptional psychiatrist team up to write a slim but engrossing volume about the experience of the Bosnian war and the possibility of healing from torture and other trauma. The story is mostly the psychiatrist's: he is a Bosnian native who was interned in six concentration camps in 1992 and 1993, alongside thousands of other Muslims in one of the worst human rights atrocities of the late 20th century. The first half of the book describes Boskailo's life before and during the war; the second half focuses on his recovery in the United States and his calling to help others as a psychiatrist in Chicago and, later, Phoenix specializing in trauma recovery. Lieblich's prose is supple and straightforward. The book does not delve into the social and political forces that led ostensible neighbors to turn so viciously on one another. Instead it offers a compendium of best practices for treating wounded souls, relying heavily on the work of Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. Mental health professionals, as well as human rights activists working for healing and reconciliation in trouble spots across the globe, will appreciate this guide."
- "Wounded I Am More Awake is for readers willing to contemplate what is unearthed about the human race, its conditions and capacities, for better or worse."