icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning After Terror



"Wounded I Am More Awake is a clear-eyed gem of a memoir with a message far beyond one man's experience. It tells Boskailo's story artfully. Above all, Boskailo's courage and empathy help us imagine how it is possible to transcend the worst sufferings one human can impose on another." -- Jane Ciabattari, past president of the National Book Critics Circle Award, in a review in the Chicago Tribune


"It seems wrong to say that a book about genocide is beautiful, and yet there is so much beauty in Wounded I am More Awake ... [This] volume is about so much more than suffering. Here there is poetry." Jina Moore in a review in Guernica


"Wounded I Am More Awake is, first of all, the story of how Boškailo, as a young Bosnian physician in the early 1990s, endured a year in six Croatian concentration camps, subject to extreme random violence and increasingly dehumanizing conditions, often at the hands of former neighbors and even friends. The narrative remains emotionally jarring as it proceeds to relate how Boškailo, post war, managed to move with his wife and children to the United States to explore the frightening dimensions of his own trauma with a therapist whom he had to struggle to trust, and then to train in psychiatry in order to treat other trauma victims. ... In the second half of the book, several of these cases are detailed, and the portraits of slow, imperfect healing ... are deeply moving ... [We] as readers might be able to share in this extraordinary book's lessons, to some worthy effect." Will Joyner, former editor at The New York Times Magazine in a review in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin


"This lucid and deeply engaging book provides rich insight into what it is to survive extreme violence and recreate life in the aftermath ... The authors skillfully and sensitively weave the human experience of terror with selected literature on psychology and trauma ... A compelling read, the book's strength lies in its accessibility to a wide audience and ability to intimately engage with the reader at a 'human level.' The book is emotionally challenging at points, but this only adds to its value and importance.-- Dhana Hughes in Human Rights Quarterly


"A talented journalist and an exceptional psychiatrist team up to write a slim but engrossing volume about the experience of the Bosnian war and the possibility of healing from torture and other trauma. The story is mostly the psychiatrist's: he is a Bosnian native who was interned in six concentration camps in 1992 and 1993, alongside thousands of other Muslims in one of the worst human rights atrocities of the late 20th century. The first half of the book describes Boskailo's life before and during the war; the second half focuses on his recovery in the United States and his calling to help others as a psychiatrist in Chicago and later, Phoenix specializing in trauma recovery. Lieblich's prose is supple and straightforward. The book does not delve into the social and political forces that led ostensible neighbors to turn so viciously on one another. Instead it offers a compendium of best practices for treating wounded souls, relying heavily on the work of Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. Mental health professionals, as well as human rights activists working for healing and reconciliation in trouble spots across the globe, will appreciate this guide."
--Publishers Weekly


"Wounded I Am More Awake is a meditative, jarring and ultimately optimistic triumph of human rights journalism that should be read by everyone." --The Faster Times


"I have just turned the last page. I feel drained, enraged, despairing for humanity--but also enriched, confirmed, and, in a way, elated. This unlikely couple, a journalist who wrote the story and a psychiatrist who lived the story, have accomplished something that is remarkable and necessary. They relived and recorded one man's survival of genocide in a narrative that conveys such well-chosen detail that you smell the stench and sweat of bodies in a concentration camp, but you have just enough air to breathe and distance to carry you through the darkness. We must acknowledge the extremes of human evil, and face the history of collective atrocity. We must understand the impact of cruelty and loss on those who escape and endure. And the only way to learn the hardest lessons of inhumanity is for the tale to be told so well that we permit ourselves to take it in, to appreciate the dignity of those who have been deliberately debased, but who act in small, decent ways. They share bread. They restrain anger that could damage a fellow prisoner. They testify and risk the reprisal of others and, even worse, the reprisal of unforgiving memory. This is my world, the world of those who witness trauma and terror and loss. These are my people, the victims who prevail, the therapists who listen, the journalists who witness, perceive, and relate. Read this book. It will take you where you would rather not go, but you will be better for going there." --Frank Ochberg, MD, founder of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma