Guide The Last Leaf: Voices of Historys Last-Known Survivors

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This unique oral history book records the stories told to the author personally by people who witnessed many of history's most famous events. Among many others, the author interviewed: the final three Civil War widows one Union and two Confederate , the final pitcher to surrender a home run to Babe Ruth, the last suffragette, the last living person to fly with Amelia Earhart, the final American World War I soldier, and the last surviving employees of Thomas Edison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Harry Houdini. Inscribed by Lutz on the title page. Light wear to the corners and tips; else fine in a fine dust jacket.

Search the catalogue for collection items held by the National Library of Australia. Lutz, Stuart. The last leaf : voices of history's last-known survivors. Amherst, N. When we read about famous historical events, we may wonder about the firsthand experiences of the people directly involved.

What insights could be gained if we could talk to someone who remembered the Civil War, or the battle to win the vote for women, or Thomas Edison's struggles to create the first electric light bulb? Amazingly, many of these experiences are still preserved in living memory by the final survivors of important, world-changing events. Historic document specialist Stuart Lutz records the stories told to him personally by people who witnessed many of history's most famous events. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card.

To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video. You can view this on the NLA website. Part of the definition of trauma is that the individual responds with intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Beyond that, in both the short term and the long term, trauma comprises a range of reactions from normal e. Most people who experience trauma have no long-lasting disabling effects; their coping skills and the support of those around them are sufficient to help them overcome their difficulties, and their ability to function on a daily basis over time is unimpaired.

For others, though, the symptoms of trauma are more severe and last longer. The most common diagnoses associated with trauma are PTSD and ASD, but trauma is also associated with the onset of other mental disorders—particularly substance use disorders, mood disorders, various anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. Trauma also typically exacerbates symptoms of preexisting disorders, and, for people who are predisposed to a mental disorder, trauma can precipitate its onset. Mental disorders can occur almost simultaneously with trauma exposure or manifest sometime thereafter. ASD represents a normal response to stress.

Symptoms develop within 4 weeks of the trauma and can cause significant levels of distress. Most individuals who have acute stress reactions never develop further impairment or PTSD.

The Last Leaf : Voices of History's Last-Known Survivors by Stuart Lutz (2010, Hardcover)

Acute stress disorder is highly associated with the experience of one specific trauma rather than the experience of long-term exposure to chronic traumatic stress. Diagnostic criteria are presented in Exhibit 1. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation in one or more of the following ways: Directly experiencing the traumatic event s.


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The primary presentation of an individual with an acute stress reaction is often that of someone who appears overwhelmed by the traumatic experience. The need to talk about the experience can lead the client to seem self-centered and unconcerned about the needs of others.

He or she may need to describe, in repetitive detail, what happened, or may seem obsessed with trying to understand what happened in an effort to make sense of the experience. The client is often hypervigilant and avoids circumstances that are reminders of the trauma. For instance, someone who was in a serious car crash in heavy traffic can become anxious and avoid riding in a car or driving in traffic for a finite time afterward.

Partial amnesia for the trauma often accompanies ASD, and the individual may repetitively question others to fill in details. The next case illustration demonstrates the time-limited nature of ASD. The primary difference is the amount of time the symptoms have been present. The diagnosis of ASD can change to a diagnosis of PTSD if the condition is noted within the first 4 weeks after the event, but the symptoms persist past 4 weeks.

ASD also differs from PTSD in that the ASD diagnosis requires 9 out of 14 symptoms from five categories, including intrusion, negative mood, dissociation, avoidance, and arousal. These symptoms can occur at the time of the trauma or in the following month. However, many people with PTSD do not have a diagnosis or recall a history of acute stress symptoms before seeking treatment for or receiving a diagnosis of PTSD.

Two months ago, Sheila, a year-old married woman, experienced a tornado in her home town. In the previous year, she had addressed a long-time marijuana use problem with the help of a treatment program and had been abstinent for about 6 months. Sheila was proud of her abstinence; it was something she wanted to continue.

She regarded it as a mark of personal maturity; it improved her relationship with her husband, and their business had flourished as a result of her abstinence. During the tornado, an employee reported that Sheila had become very agitated and had grabbed her assistant to drag him under a large table for cover. Sheila repeatedly yelled to her assistant that they were going to die. Following the storm, Sheila could not remember certain details of her behavior during the event.

Furthermore, Sheila said that after the storm, she felt numb, as if she was floating out of her body and could watch herself from the outside. She stated that nothing felt real and it was all like a dream. Following the tornado, Sheila experienced emotional numbness and detachment, even from people close to her, for about 2 weeks. The symptoms slowly decreased in intensity but still disrupted her life. Sheila reported experiencing disjointed or unconnected images and dreams of the storm that made no real sense to her.

She was unwilling to return to the building where she had been during the storm, despite having maintained a business at this location for 15 years. In addition, she began smoking marijuana again because it helped her sleep. She had been very irritable and had uncharacteristic angry outbursts toward her husband, children, and other family members.

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As a result of her earlier contact with a treatment program, Sheila returned to that program and engaged in psychoeducational, supportive counseling focused on her acute stress reaction. She regained abstinence from marijuana and returned shortly to a normal level of functioning. Her symptoms slowly diminished over a period of 3 weeks. With the help of her counselor, she came to understand the link between the trauma and her relapse, regained support from her spouse, and again felt in control of her life.

Intervention for ASD also helps the individual develop coping skills that can effectively prevent the recurrence of ASD after later traumas. Although predictive science for ASD and PTSD will continue to evolve, both disorders are associated with increased substance use and mental disorders and increased risk of relapse; therefore, effective screening for ASD and PTSD is important for all clients with these disorders. Individuals in early recovery—lacking well-practiced coping skills, lacking environmental supports, and already operating at high levels of anxiety—are particularly susceptible to ASD.

Events that would not normally be disabling can produce symptoms of intense helplessness and fear, numbing and depersonalization, disabling anxiety, and an inability to handle normal life events.

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The trauma-related disorder that receives the greatest attention is PTSD; it is the most commonly diagnosed trauma-related disorder, and its symptoms can be quite debilitating over time. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that PTSD symptoms are represented in a number of other mental illnesses, including major depressive disorder MDD , anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders Foa et al.

The DSM-5 APA, a identifies four symptom clusters for PTSD: presence of intrusion symptoms, persistent avoidance of stimuli, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and marked alterations in arousal and reactivity. Individuals must have been exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence, and the symptoms must produce significant distress and impairment for more than 4 weeks Exhibit 1. Note: The following criteria apply to adults, adolescents, and children older than 6 years. Michael is a year-old Vietnam veteran.

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He is a divorced father of two children and has four grandchildren. Both of his parents were dependent on alcohol. He describes his childhood as isolated. His father physically and psychologically abused him e. By age 10, his parents regarded him as incorrigible and sent him to a reformatory school for 6 months. By age 15, he was using marijuana, hallucinogens, and alcohol and was frequently truant from school.

At age 19, Michael was drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he witnessed the deaths of six American military personnel.

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In one incident, the soldier he was next to in a bunker was shot. Michael felt helpless as he talked to this soldier, who was still conscious. In Vietnam, Michael increased his use of both alcohol and marijuana. On his return to the United States, Michael continued to drink and use marijuana. He reenlisted in the military for another tour of duty. His life stabilized in his early 30s, as he had a steady job, supportive friends, and a relatively stable family life.