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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
American Airman: A Memoir of a Wounded Veteran by Jonathon Benjamin is a powerful testament to that rarely addressed issue of American soldiers having a difficult time transitioning from military to civilian life. The prelude to this memoir reveals the author’s beginnings, describing his unsettling relationship with his parents whom he addresses as his biologicals, and how they drilled into his head that it was his job to apply for scholarships and finance his own education. After working hard and still not being able to pay for school, he joins the military to live on his own terms and get a good start in life. While on active duty, he sustains a traumatic brain injury from a serious motor vehicle accident. Pushing through the pain, he shifts into civilian life, where, through his artistic inclinations, he tries his best to live in a new world that he struggles to understand.
For many veterans, asking for help often proves to be challenging. With personal responsibility and self-sufficiency as part of the military mindset, too often many veterans don’t know who to turn to for support and become disoriented in navigating civilian life. American Airman is one such story. Hats off to Jonathon Benjamin for sharing his own reality that may help in enlightening families, friends, and the community to curb the tragedy of the suicide epidemic among veterans. Jonathon also thought of killing himself. He reflects a herculean hold over his show of emotions. You feel that he is trying to hold back his tears but he doesn’t need to. The sublime and the sincere in American Airman deserve to be read to end the tragedy that needs to be addressed.