Journey to Peace - Adam Joe Lawton

Adam Joe Lawton tells an incredible story in his book Journey to Peace. The book examines the disturbing effects that war has on young minds, both during conflict and the foreseeable aftermath. This is a tense, heart-stopping read and a true story of reconciliation and forgiveness.



Military Speaker Colonel Stuart Tootal DSO OBE gave a talk at the Royal Geographical Society a couple of years ago where spoke of the 'tsunami of PTSD' likely to emerge from Afghanistan. We are on the nursery slopes of understanding the potentially horrific impact this condition can take and the devastation it can wreak. Some men and women carry the pain for years before it becomes too much. It also can take hold from brief exposure to extreme trauma but the effects can be equally damaging.

Adam Joe Lawton was the third youngest sailor on HMS Sheffield when she was hit by an Exocet missile in May 1982. The run up to the Falklands War had been frenetic, the involvement almost fleeting, but that day was to haunt him for the following two decades. Twenty of his shipmates were killed in awful circumstances and he trod a tortuous path to recovery. Upon return from the South Atlantic, drinking and aggression increased in his life which threatened to unhinge what was a promising start to his career.

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It's not often a book rockets me through emotions but this is a searing tale of Adam's experiences and their impact. I read this book cover to cover in less than two days and was wrung out because of the admiration I had for him. Not only did he come back from the brink of mental torment but he felt driven to publish the fully warted version for others to experience. 

An excellent writer, he captures so much of the emotions, bonds, humour, brutality and privations of military life.

He found his peace twenty years later, back in the harsh landscapes that so many fought over, the fields of carnage where courage and tragedy were constant companions. He returned to the Falklands, determined to see the islands that had dominated him for so long. His ship was the resting place for his colleagues, interred beneath the waves, but the slopes of battle were walked as he retraced others' footsteps from the war.

I met Adam some 8 years ago on a course in Jordan. We have stayed in touch over the years and met up for a drink last year as we both live in Australia. I knew he was an ex-matelot but had no idea of what he had been through. He is a gentle, kind man and a generous soul to boot. What I didn't know was the bravery he has, displayed throughout this book. You might feel I'm biased but then 12 others have given it 5 stars on Amazon to date.

If you have any interest in PTSD, read this book. If you have any interest in the Falklands, read this book for one man's aftermath. If you want to find out about the possible coruscation of the soul that warfare can bring, read this book.

One of the finest pieces of writing I am lucky enough to have read.


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