Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars

Hatch, James & . Knopf. May 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780451494689. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451494696. BIOG
OrangeReviewStarHatch spent nearly 25 years in the military, mostly with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or SEAL Team Six. This work, coauthored with documentary filmmaker and writer D'Andrea, begins with Hatch describing a horrific injury in Afghanistan and the immediate aftermath as his comrades saved his life. While in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hatch learned to appreciate the dedication of his unit's canines. Note that several of the author's most memorable stories involve the death of dogs in combat. Later, Hatch had to deal with his guilt, pain, and the emotional damage from years of fighting. He refers to cognitive behavioral therapy as "Touching the Dragon"; a reminder that he would not get burned by reliving the brutal memories. Using that tool and others has helped him heal, and he's since created a nonprofit benefiting combat animals in the name of his dog, Spike.
VERDICT In the vein of many recent memoirs about survival after combat, such as Matt Young's Eat the Apple and Thomas J. Brennan and Finbarr O'Reilly's Shooting Ghosts, this important account will touch readers and likely help other veterans learn how to live after war.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month