Bleeding Spirits is a clear-eyed recounting of a veteran's experience during the deadliest year of armed conflict in Vietnam and a rumination on how PTSD shaped and reshaped his life after his discharge from the Army. Bob began the writings that would eventually become Bleeding Spirits during inpatient treatment for PTSD—a courageous effort to help himself come to terms with how Vietnam changed him. The book is a window into the workings of war and its warriors and an inspirational story of the struggle and beauty involved in the
search for a sense of peace.
“With Bleeding Spirits, Bob has given us an invaluable look into the realities of war and an on-the-ground perspective of what our military soldiers were asked to endure by our country. To list a few: the terror of fatal combat danger (not only witnessing, but also participating in them), survival of physical wounds, and perhaps worst of all, living the rest of his life with extremely brutal memories,” says Tom Gannon—Bob’s neighbor during their childhoods in Great Falls, Mont. and again in Montana City, Mont. over 50 years later. He became a passionate champion for seeing his friend’s memoir published after reading part of an early draft.
“Our country cannot say thanks enough for Robert Jewell’s sacrifice. For his story to remain untold would be a travesty and a further waste of our need to understand and make sense of human conflict. I know that Bob agonized over writing these memories of Vietnam. He put his heart and soul into it and sacrificed even more of his life at the end to finish the editing. A soldier and educator to the time of his death, I think Bob would be gratified to know that his efforts were not in vain.”
While working a summer road crew job in Glacier National Park in 1967, Robert Jewell was handed papers drafting him into the Army. Soon he found himself in Vietnam, carrying an M-16 at the start of the Tet Offensive. Jewell’s 14-month tour exposed him to the horrors and complexities of war. He later struggled to reconcile these experiences with his civilian life as a son, husband, father, and educator. His memoir is an honest, raw, and moving testament to Jewell’s belief that the events of life “are our teachers.”
Says Gannon, “I want this book to honor and reflect the hard work Bob put in reliving and uncovering his memories, and sharing those with the world, as well as the hard work he put in across his lifetime to overcome, learn from and heal."