“Wounded I Am More Awake” is a book written by Prof. Julia Lieblich (Jewish) and Prof. Esad Boskailo (Bosnian Muslim).
“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 relieved 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 deliverately 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 rathe not go, but you will be better for going there.” — Frank Ochberg, MD, founder of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
“Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning After Terror” follows the story of Esad Boskailo, a doctor who survives six concentration camps in Bosnia and emerges with powerful new lessons for healing in an age of genocide. This gripping account raises questions for healers, survivors, and readers striving to understand the reality of war and the aftermath of terror. Is it possible to find meaning after enduring crimes against humanity? Can people heal after trauma?
Human rights journalist Julia Lieblich takes the reader through Boskailo’s early years under Tito to the wars when friends turned on friends. She documents his harrowing experiences in the camps, where the men he once joined for coffee murder his best friend from childhood.
But the story does not end there.
Boskailo moves to the United States and decides to become a psychiatrist so he can guide survivors through the long-term process of restoring hope. Today, inspired by the late psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, Boskailo uses his own experience to help patients mourn their losses and find meaning in the aftermath of terror.
Julia Lieblich is an award-winning human rights journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Time, Life, and Ms. A former religion writer for the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press, she is an assistant professor of journalism at Loyola University Chicago.
Esad Boskailo is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and Associate Director of Psychiatric Residency Training at the Maricopa Integrated Health System. Trained in family medicine in Bosnia, he works with survivors of trauma from domestic abuse to war.
* You may read Julia Lieblich’s latest piece in the Washington Post.