Catherine Whitney’s brother, Vietnam veteran Jim Schuler, died at just fifty-three years old, while living in a flophouse. It had been sixteen years since, in one of his drunken rages, he had last seen his family. He was one of countless veterans who never recovered from the trauma of war and the stress of returning to live in a country that didn’t care about his pain.

The story of what happened to Whitney’s brother resonates with humanity and has a clear relevance to current national concerns. Soldiers Once puts a very human face on veterans — policies, finding in Whitney’s personal drama a broader significance. It is both an investigation into her brother’s loss and a meditation on the lost dreams of our military brotherhood.

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