Odysseus in America Documentary Now in Film Production

The acclaimed book of Dr. Jonathan Shay--Odysseus in America--is now in production, according to Charles Berkowitz, a collaborator with Dr. Shay. In his book Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, psychiatrist
Jonathan Shay reflects on the past to show the similarities between soldiers of ancient Greece and of veterans today. He examines Homer's epic poem, the Odyssey-written 2,700 years ago-and shows that combat veterans of modern wars share many of the same difficulties and behaviors as veterans of the Trojan War when they try to reenter civilian society. In the Odyssey, Odysseus, the Greek commander, journeys for ten years after the end of the Trojan War, facing numerous ordeals and dilemmas before he is finally able to come home.

Shay and Berkowitz have been working together on a film docmentary version of Odysseus in America for three
years now. Reaching production is an enormous goal for the overall project. Both researchers, along with various professors and specialists in the fields of classics, psychiatry, and history have attended many conferences and seminars focusing on the profound connection between ancient Greek works and modern day combat. After a long period of research - working to track down numerous veterans from the past six modern wars and leading experts from various fields of focus- the filming stage of the project is finally ready to begin. The documentary is expected to be completed by this time next year.

"By educating the public and examining the psychological effects of war on the lives of human
beings, this documentary can foster an attitude of compassion, understanding, and community for the soldiers who have served this country," states Berkowitz. It can also "explore the devastating psychological ramifications of combat and war," he elaborates, adding, "Many civilians are still in the dark about what is happening overseas in the Middle East and this is a way of examining it - not by making accusations or politically ostracizing the current administration for mistakes made but looking through the time tested eyes of Homer - allowing civilian eyes to see what they have been divorced from: the lives of our soldiers."

For more information about the filming or to contribute funds to the project, visit the documentary's website at the URL http://www.odysseusinamerica.com.

For more information about Dr. Shay or his work on post-traumatic stress in soldiers and parallels with Homeric descriptions of combat stress, see the HCS archives on the Classical World.

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