Black Agency
Published by
Crown (2014-10-07)
Current material
MS: Complete Edited
Original language


Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War

by Dreazen, Yochi

The unforgettable story of a military family that lost two sons—one to suicide and one in combat—and channeled their grief into fighting the armed forces’ suicide epidemic.

Major General Mark Graham was a decorated two-star officer whose integrity and patriotism inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. His wife Carol was a teacher who held the family together while Mark's career took them to bases around the world. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other—Kevin commits suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq—Mark and Carol are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons’ deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin’s death is met with silence, evidence of the terrible stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Mark and Carol commit themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their lives.

The Invisible Front is the story of how one family tries to set aside their grief and find purpose in almost unimaginable loss. The Grahams work to change how the Army treats those with PTSD and to erase the stigma that prevents suicidal troops from getting the help they need before making the darkest of choices. Their fight offers a window into the military’s institutional shortcomings and its resistance to change – failures that have allowed more than 2,000 troops to take their own lives since 2001. Yochi Dreazen, an award-winning journalist who has covered the military since 2003, has been granted remarkable access to the Graham family and tells their story in the full context of two of America’s longest wars. Dreazen places Mark and Carol’s personal journey, which begins when they fall in love in college and continues through the end of Mark's thirty-four year career in the Army, against the backdrop of the military’s ongoing suicide spike, which shows no signs of slowing. With great sympathy and profound insight, The Invisible Front details America's problematic treatment of the troops who return from war far different than when they'd left and uses the Graham family’s work as a new way of understanding the human cost of war and its lingering effects off the battlefield.

YOCHI DREAZEN, the managing editor of Foreign Policy, is one of the most respected military journalists in the country. He covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for The Wall Street Journal and has reported from more than 30 countries. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and other publications. The Invisible Front is his first book and was a finalist for the 2014 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Powerful, moving and a life changer! The Invisible Front by Yochi Dreazen delivers the story of General Mark and Carol Graham who lost both of their sons while in the US Army. Dreazen documents the determination of the Grahams as they wage a personal war against suicide in the military. This is a tale of daily heroism as the Grahams fight to save the lives of the soldiers who have served us.

Quote: Kevin Hines

In his superb new book, The Invisible Front, Yochi Dreazen paints a deeply disturbing portrait of the overstretched United States Army, downsizing in Afghanistan while deploying against the latest threats of the Islamic State and Ebola.

Quote: Washington Times

What a moving book about a remarkable family’s heartbreak and courage. The Invisible Front blends compassion and hard-nosed reporting to tell an important story in need of all of the visibility it can get.

Quote: David Finkel

J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award Finalist

Quote: Black

This book begins fast and accelerates, telling an astonishing tale of contemporary America. When you read this book, you will likely come away feeling that General Graham and his wife Carol are American heroes—different types than we normally are told about, but true heroes still.

Quote: Thomas E. Ricks

We are all touched by mental illness, tragedy, or grief during our lives, either personally or through our family members or friends. Yet, the tendency is to bear these sorrows as if we are alone. By courageously sharing their story, Major General (Ret) Mark, Carol, and Melanie Graham Quinn invite us to join together in removing pervasive barriers of stigma, guilt, and shame that lead to isolation at the very moments we most need each other’s support.

Quote: Charles Hoge, MD

One of The New York Times's 100 Notable Books of 2014 Named one of the Best Books of 2014 by Amazon

Quote: Black

Yochi Dreazen has always been a first-rate reporter, and now with The Invisible Front he has delivered a compelling narrative which will haunt and inspire you. This is a treasure.

Quote: James Andrew Miller

A journalistic tale that shines a revealing—and a disturbing—light on the ongoing emotional legacy of America’s two most recent wars.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Yochi Dreazen recounts the family’s story with great humanity. The Grahams’ compassion and wisdom as they turned their sorrow into a mission of suicide prevention moved me to tears… [Dreazen] writes wonderfully.

Review: Washington Post

Harrowing, a courageous effort…This vital book is a stirring call for action to better aid American soldiers who struggle alone with depression—and civilians who suffer from our most stigmatized disease as well.

Review: New York Times Book Review

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