At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace

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Shambhala Publications, Jan 10, 2006 - Religion - 184 pages
In this raw and moving memoir, Claude Thomas describes his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and his remarkable journey toward healing. At Hell's Gate is not only a gripping coming-of-age story but a spiritual travelogue from the horrors of combat to the discovery of inner peace—a journey that inspired Thomas to become a Zen monk and peace activist who travels to war-scarred regions around the world. "Everyone has their Vietnam," Thomas writes. "Everyone has their own experience of violence, calamity, or trauma." With simplicity and power, this book offers timeless teachings on how we can all find healing, and it presents practical guidance on how mindfulness and compassion can transform our lives.

This expanded edition features:

   •  Discussion questions for reading groups
   •  A new afterword by the author reflecting on how the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are affecting soldiers—and offering advice on how to help returning soldiers to cope with their combat experiences

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User Review  - AbigailAdams26 - LibraryThing

I read this when it was first released, and remember being quite struck, both by Thomas's story, and by some of the facts and figures about Vietnam veterans that he includes. The profound dysfunction ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chihuahua - LibraryThing

This is a very personal and moving account of one man's journey from soldier to Zen monk. The author describes the anguish and guilt her felt over Viet Nam and how he learned to deal with it through mindfulness and meditation. Read full review



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About the author (2006)

Claude Anshin Thomas went to Vietnam at the age of eighteen, where he received numerous awards and decorations, including twenty-seven Air Medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart. Today he is a monk in the Soto Zen tradition and an active speaker and Zen teacher in the United States and Europe. He is also the founder of the Zaltho Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes peace and nonviolence ( This is his first book.

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