About the Book

War creates incalculable suffering—not only among those on the front lines, but also among those left behind. For every service member killed or injured on the battlefield, countless others are affected—particularly relatives and friends—often in isolation and silence. Even after a war has ended, its scars extend beyond individual soldiers and their families and cascade into communities, even affecting future generations. As a nation, we must therefore do everything we can to repair the injuries caused by war, whether physical, emotional, or moral, both for those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and for ourselves. Waking Up from War demonstrates, through the words and stories of veterans, their families, and their care providers, how this healing can be accomplished, and explains why attempts to heal sometimes fail. It also argues that the elements that contribute to healing war trauma—community, safety, connection, dialogue, mutual respect, diversity, and compassion—can help us build a stronger nation. But this message comes with a warning—and a challenge—not just for caregivers, veterans service organizations, governmental departments, Congress, and the White House, but for all Americans: until we face the truth of war and its dreadful human costs, we will not provide the best care for our veterans. And only once we as a nation provide the top-quality care our veterans deserve, will we be able to begin to end our reliance on war and truly build a durable peace.

About the Author


ISBN: 9781634310321 (hardcover)

SRP: $25.95

Page count: 248 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: November 2015

Ebook availability: Yes

Audiobook availability: Yes

Foreword by H. H. The 14th Dalai Lama. Introduction. Community Heals and Isolation Kills. Turning Ghosts into Ancestors. Resilience, Trauma, and the Limits of Plasticity. We Are Family. Moral Injuries and Restoring Integrity. All the Way Home. Coda. Three Poems of Love and War. Notes. Acknowledgments. About the Author.


“Dr. Joe Bobrow is a true American hero. He's worked tirelessly to support our community through the hardest times and the toughest spots. He overflows with wisdom and has been a real leader. His dedication, innovative approach, and compassion serve as an example and an inspiration to people worldwide. His words should be a wake-up call for anyone who cares about the future of our country.”

—Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; author, Chasing Ghosts


Joseph Bobrow is a psychoanalyst, Zen master, and author of Zen and Psychotherapy: Partners in Liberation. He is the founding director of Coming Home Project, whose evidence-based programs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, families, and care providers have served thousands nationwide. He teaches extensively, and lives in Santa Barbara.

“Read this book and begin to understand a great deal about how we are neglecting our men and women veterans, about what is wrong today in America, and most vitally, about how to change for the better both situations.”

—Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (retired), US Army, Former Chief of Staff for Gen. Colin Powell

“A candid account of deep pain and great healing, Waking Up From War is something we can all learn from. Profound common-sense wisdom shines through this chronicle of war and recovery. . . . I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to see our human situation more clearly and more compassionately.”

—Sharon Salzberg, author, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Waking Up From War is a 'must read' not only for mental health professionals treating our veterans and their families, but for all of us. Bobrow's emphasis on the need for an accepting and compassionate culture that will truly listen to the moral suffering of our veterans is profoundly important.”

—Judith Broder, M.D., founder, The Soldier's Project

“Joseph Bobrow combines psychology, Zen Buddhism, years of experience as the founder and leader of the Coming Home Project, and a wise and understanding heart, to write what I am sure will become a classic text on how to bring our warriors home and back into community. . . . This book hits home page after page.”

—Karl Marlantes, author, What It Is Like To Go To War and Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War 

“In this poetic guide, Joe Bobrow uniquely combines Western psychoanalysis and Eastern Zen Buddhism to create a practical and holistic approach to helping veterans and their families recover from war-zone trauma. I like Joe's ideas, but I love his heart. His deep compassion for the warrior and respect for the warrior ethos are written on every page.”

—Bill Nash, M.D., former head, US Marine Corps Combat and Operational Stress Control programs

“Joseph Bobrow has captured the soul of the young Americans who go to war to defend our freedoms. His book tells the story of the Coming Home Project as it shepherds our veterans back into their communities and families, and goes beyond usual approaches to support and nourish their deepest experience.”

—Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., Brigadier General (Ret)

“Bravo! Waking Up from War says what needs to be said, and does so with intelligence and compassion. It is both a compelling critique of our nation's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a no-holds-barred exposé of how we've betrayed those we send in harm’s way.”

—John Briere, Ph.D., co-author, Principles of Trauma Therapy, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, USC Medical School

Advance Praise