Marteen Reade Irish born, the nation’s most decorated soldier, is interred in a prison cemetery, neglected, forgotten. But he comes alive again to haunt and to comfort those he fought for in his long, troubled life. His story will be told. The Bronze Star Women will have their say. Reade’s life and times are connected to these tragic women, the close relatives of the shell-shocked soldiers of World Wars I and II who never left the mental hospitals.
Reade’s soldiering experiences like many other Irishmen took him to far-flung wars, including the Boer War, the Indian Frontier, and the Western Front in the Great War. He was a lowly medic and clerk, but his work connected him to the larger elements and dynamics of these wars. In him we see the carnage, the contradictions and futility of all wars — and the common soldier’s opposition to it all, in his quest for peace, decency and even utopia.
Before the dawn of the Second World War, Marteen Reade’s ultimate clash with the war machine and the officer caste of the British Commonwealth world will cost him his freedom. Dooley weaves a bloody and passionate tale of his struggles.
Modern wars still produce legions of the traumatized. This is recognized, and treatment is offered. It is in such a treatment group that the worlds of the modern regiment and Marteen Reade meet.