The Return

The Return

A Field Manual for Life After Combat

By: David J. Danelo
Introduction by: Nathaniel Fick, 
bestselling author of One Bullet Away
“Because every person’s war experience is unique, so is their return home. The combat veterans’ reintegration to the society they left is a journey that’s been made by returning warriors since before Homer first chronicled it. In this illuminating book, David Danelo provides a worthy perspective for making sense of a largely incommunicable journey and how he came to reconcile the polarities of coming home.”

—General James Mattis, USMC, Ret.

Since 9/11 and before, American warriors have faced combat in difficult and adverse theaters with dedication, courage, and remarkable inner fortitude. Our nation supports them during their time in the fight, and "thank you for your service" has become a common civilian affirmation.

But what happens when these men and women return from the battlefield? What is waiting for them at home? How does our society prepare these indispensable citizens for the confusion, absurdity, and trauma of their transition back to everyday life?

Marine combat veteran David J. Danelo's message is simple—those who return to peace after war possess a power that must be discovered, honored, and treasured. The Return: A Field Manual for Life After Combat tells how our military and civilian cultures can protect and nurture this potent gift.


The Return is the only book I’ve ever read that compelled me to keep reading... but to go as slowly as possible to savor and ponder each word. Written with the skill and precision of a philosophical sniper who stays awake for days, Danelo looks for one chance to expand your views on war, peace and a soldier’s most difficult mission in life—returning to civilian life with people who don’t really understand what he went through.”

— Matt Furey, author, The Unbeatable Man

“A wonderfully profound treatment of the veteran’s Odyssey.”

— Dr. Mackubin Thomas Owens, national security professor, Naval War College, and USMC Vietnam veteran

“U.S. Army Green Berets were the first in and last out of the longest war in American History. This book is showing them how to come home and find peace.”

— Lieutenant Colonel David Scott Mann (U.S. Army, Ret.), Green Beret Foundation

“Veterans ask the rest of us to witness and to get it. Witnessing means opening our minds and hearts to their stories with compassion and willingness. Getting it means not judging or attributing pathology, but deeply comprehending the transformations that military service and war inevitably bring to the warrior. David Danelo’s The Return offers brilliant, moving and accurate witness, presented in powerful and digestible units, to the positive and meaningful transformations that occur as a result of becoming a warrior. He guides fellow veterans in learning how to transform their changes and challenges into strength, gifts and wisdom that benefit us all. And he courageously and honestly shares how he has successfully walked this spiritual warrior’s journey to war and back again.”

— Edward Tick, Ph.D.; director, Soldier’s Heart, Inc.; author: War and the Soul and Warrior’s Return