Exit Wounds - One Australian's War on Terror
Author: Major General John Cantwell with Greg Bearup
First published: 2012 This edition: 2015
Format: Paperback 398 pages
John Cantwell, Queensland country boy, enlisted in the army as a private and rose to the rank of major general. He was on the front line in 1991 as Coalition forces fitted bulldozer blades to tanks and buried Iraqi troops alive. He served in Baghdad in 2006 and saw what a car bomb does to a crowded marketplace. He was commander of Australian forces in Afghanistan in 2010 when ten of his soldiers were killed. He came home in 2011 to be considered for the job of chief of the Australian Army. Instead, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital.
Exit Wounds is the deeply human account of one man's tour of the War on Terror, the moving story of life on a modern battlefield- from the nightmare of cheating death in a field strewn with mines, to the utter despair of looking into the face of a dead soldier before sending his body home to his mother. Cantwell hid his post-traumatic stress disorder for decades, fearing it would affect his career.
Australia has been at war for the past twenty years and yet there has been no stand-out account from these conflicts - Exit Wounds is it. Raw, candid and eye-opening, no one who reads this book will be unmoved.