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  • The Madness

  • A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD
  • By: Fergal Keane
  • Narrated by: Fergal Keane
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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The Madness cover art

The Madness

By: Fergal Keane
Narrated by: Fergal Keane
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Summary

A powerful, probing book about PTSD.

As a journalist Keane has covered conflict and brutality across the world for more than thirty years, from Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and many more. Driven by an irresistible compulsion to be where the night is darkest, he made a name for reporting with humanity and empathy from places where death and serious injury were not abstractions, and tragedy often just a moment’s bad luck away.

But all this time he struggled not to be overwhelmed by another story, his acute ‘complex post-traumatic stress disorder’, a condition arising from exposure to multiple instances of trauma experienced over a long period. This condition has caused him to suffer a number of mental breakdowns and hospitalisations. Despite this, and countless promises to do otherwise, he has gone back to the wars again and again.

Why?

In this powerful and intensely personal book, Keane interrogates what it is that draws him to the wars, what keeps him there and offers a reckoning of the damage done.

PTSD affects people from all walks of life. Trauma can be found in many places, not just war. Keane’s book speaks to the struggle of all who are trying to recover from injury, addiction and mental breakdown. It is a survivor’s story drawn from lived experience, told with honesty, courage and an open heart.

©2022 Fergal Keane (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Keane’s real distinction was in his reporting talents, which as this book shows, are considerable." (Evening Standard)

"His book is a memoir but it is so much more than that…a volume of the most exquisitely written and moving truth and honesty." (TLS)

"A completely honest account of reporting conflict." (Independent)

What listeners say about The Madness

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A must listen

I would rather read a book than listen to one. But needs must and so hence an audible account.Eevery now and again a book comes along which is improved by hearing it direct from the authors mouth. This is one. Left me a little bit wiser about myself and in tears.

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Honest and Moving

An honest and moving personal account of this great journalist’s struggle lifelong struggle with addiction and PSD set against rich description of some the most important conflicts in recent history.

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The pity of war

What can I say about this truly terrible and shattering personal memoir?

The suffering is heart breaking beyond imagining and is two-fold. There is t first he sickening brutality of man-made conflict from the Irish famine of Keane’s ancestors, the Troubles of his adolescence and from then on decade after decade of inhuman barbarity meted out in hostilities across the globe right up to the present tragedy in Ukraine. It is to these hostile killing fields that Keane has been addicted since he began as a war correspondent, bringing a succession of fearful events into our horrified conscious minds which we cannot now un-know.

The other part is Keane’s own personal suffering. He understands how his childhood with an alcoholic and sometimes violent father drove him along his own path of destructive addiction – to alcohol (which he finally conquered) and to zones of extreme terror, horror and danger. Well aware that his pursuit of these experiences is madness, and destructive of his fragile mental health (and I’d have thought his family life) , he cannot stop himself from jumping on the next plane to whichever part of the world where ferocious violence has suddenly erupted.

Gentle, loving, keenly perceptive about himself and those around him, Keane is a truly tragic figure cursed with this inescapable ‘madness’ which like some kind of shirt of Nessus drives him into such suffering. His own reading of the book with his soft voice is comfortingly in tune with his lyrical prose.

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A must read for everyone

Such an amazing story from Fergal Keane which provides an insight into a life of trauma, to addiction and then to a place of hope. This book is read by the author himself which makes it all the more impactful! Have listened to it three times in a row. Cannot recommend highly enough.

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A harrowing listen

And so it should be. Keane sacrifices himself time and again so we don't have to. The cost though is too high.

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Honest, Open and Touching

An Open and Honest account of the effects that Trauma and Combat can have on Some of the often forgotten Front Line Non-Combatants.
A worthy Listen - Thank You.