Published: 01/11/2012
ISBN: 9781780883182
Format: Paperback



‘This book is quite superb; it has fear, emotion, anger and even tears.’ – Ken M. Wharton, author: A Long Long War: Voices from the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969–98

‘An astounding story, Journey to Peace asks some very pertinent questions about war, and also demonstrates its devastating effects on young minds, both during the conflict and in the years that follow. Often heart-stopping, it is indeed a true story of forgiveness and reconciliation. – Zoe King, author.

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Journey to Peace
A True Story of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
by Adam Joe Lawton

In November 1981, at just 17 years old, and only a few weeks out of his naval training, Adam Joe Lawton was drafted onto HMS Sheffield, a type 42 destroyer. What began as an adventure soon changed into a nightmare when Sheffield, on her way home from protection duties in the Iran/Iraq war, was deployed to the South Atlantic following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentinian forces.

Journey to Peace tells the story of the author’s baptism by fire onboard Sheffield when she was hit by an Exocet missile. Twenty of his shipmates died in appalling circumstances, which for a young man on his first watch was beyond comprehension.

In the months following the war, Adam became what he himself called ‘a nightmare’. Unable to grieve, he was filled with anger, hatred, and aggression. To the despair of his family, one violent episode followed another. Forced by a particularly astute Naval Lieutenant to confront his behaviour, he promised to reform.

Some years later, now living in Australia, Adam found the events of 1982 replaying themselves in his head. Increasingly affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he resolved to return to the Falklands, and then to travel to Argentina to meet the two fighter pilots carrying the Exocets, one of which sank HMS Sheffield.

Only two other sailors on Sheffield were younger than Adam Joe Lawton at the time of the war. One is now in psychiatric care. The other is dead, having taken his own life. In writing this book, the author hopes to refuel the agenda so that those who take the nation’s young men and women into war do so with the knowledge of what it can do to those who survive.

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A sailor's tale - warts an' all. A boy sailor's sudden propulsion from childhood innocence to face the grim reality of war, suffering and loss; his decline into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and subsequent dealings with the demons which over the years came to haunt him. They could so easily have ruined his life as indeed, they have ruined, in some instances, even terminated, the lives of so many others. His story highlights the appalling lack of caring by the government,in respect of those returning from theatres of war, many of whom find it difficult and in some cases impossible, to embrace their former lifestyle and / or relationships. His journey takes him back across the world to stay with the Falkland Islanders and hear, first hand, their horrendous stories of The Occupation and finally to Argentina to meet with the pilots who dispatched the Exocet missile which hit and set fire to HMS Sheffield, killing and injuring many of his shipmates. Meeting, talking with and finally shaking hands with these two men was a significant part of his 'Journey to Peace'. A real story of real people. Warm, heartrending, funny, raw. A great read - do not miss it.

by Judith Ford


Just read your book cover to cover, It has left me speechless and emotionally shattered, finally there is someone with the balls to say how they feel and felt, I was a bit younger than you and have gone through so many of the self destructive things you describe and in someways I am still going through them but it can and will be beaten... Thanks again you have said so much of what I have been unable to say for years, the feeling of what it would do to family friends and work. Thanks again, there appears to be a tiny tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel

by Stuart


Have just read the book, what a brave and honest account of a horrific time for all involved. I am glad you have chased away your demons and that you came out the other side. i am sure this will be an inspiration for all those people who suffer from ptsd.

by mike nightingale


A very good book in which the author recalls his battle with PTSD in regard to the Falklands War.It is very factual and pulls no punches and describes the pain felt by families hurt of both sides of the war.I served with many who were on ships that were sunk or damaged during that war and this book helps me understand that bit better what they went through or are going through today.BZ

by Eli


Emotive, erudite and honest account of a young man's war in the South Atlantic which has relevance for today's generation. This game chaging book shoudl be read by any counsellor dealing with post traumatic stress. Hopefully the authorities who are responsible for sending our service people to war will take note and improve support for all those whose lives are affected long after the guns fall silent.

I am proud to have served with these men who were physically and mentally affected by the Falklands War and it has given me a better understanding into their ongoing sufferings. If this assists them or any other service person who is suffering then the author will have made a remarkable achievment. They deserve our support, admiration and respect. BZ Joe, you are a credit to the service and your family.

by Jig


As a Falklands War veteran, I could recall much of the feelings and emotion, when Sheffield was hit we readied our helicopters to help. When the war was over I also experienced many of the feelings Joe talks about, the welcomes, everyone wanted to know you. Then we slipped back to "Normal" life, no one spoke about PTSD, I did not know where to look for help, Joes book has opened many doors, and alos help to close others. For me, this book has been a great help, I would like to thank Joe for his hard work and being so truthfull.

by Jake H


This is a raw, honest and very personal account of what we all may (certainly in the UK) consider a well known subject but it's approached from a very different and unique perspective. Coupled with the well researched broader story of the Falklands war beyond its central theme; the sinking of the 'Sheffield,' it makes for facinating and compelling reading. Not least because the individual story of the author that connects all these events and their subsequent effects on him and his family is told with such brutal honesty, humour and self awareness.
Thirty years on with the politicians once again rattling sabres other people will have to carry for them they could do worse than read the climax of this book and the authors emotive trip to Argentina so they can being to understand the lingering aftermath of war.

by Mick Dawson


What a story, it's got it all, pain, heroism redemption and humour, give it a read you will never feel the same about veterans again. Well done for getting this all off your chest. Good luck in the future, you deserve it.

by Bill "Bagsy" Baker


 

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