Some Kind of Hero Love, Death and Trauma in a Nova Scotia Town

, by
Some Kind of Hero Love, Death and Trauma in a Nova Scotia Town by Johnson, Kirk Angus, 9780735278301
Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.
  • ISBN: 9780735278301 | 073527830X
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 10/19/2021

  • Rent


    *This item is part of an exclusive publisher rental program and requires an additional convenience fee. This fee will be reflected in the shopping cart.
  • Buy New

    Usually Ships in 3-5 Business Days


A deeply personal investigation into an African-Nova Scotian soldier who came home from Afghanistan a changed man, and made national news with a murder-suicide that raises nuanced and difficult questions about moral responsibility, domestic violence and the overlooked costs of war.

What is the legacy of a fallen soldier who takes his family with him? This is the problem posed by the story of Lionel Desmond. He grew up around Lincolnville, Nova Scotia, one of the province's old, Black communities. Raised in a broken home, he sought stability in the military. Instead, he found PTSD and returned from a combat deployment in Afghanistan deeply troubled.

All of this was brought to bear in the reporting that followed the events of January 3, 2017, when Lionel's body was found in the home of his estranged wife, Shanna. Shanna's body was there, too, as were those of their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, and Lionel's mother, Brenda, alongside a rifle Lionel had purchased earlier that day. Lionel's family, friends and the veteran community stood up for him, claiming he was a hero who had succumbed to the tortures of PTSD. But an opposing view emerged: that he was a man possessed by anger towards his wife who was, at that time, in the process of leaving him.

The question of whether Lionel was a hero or monster, or whether these terms even begin to capture the moral and factual complexity of the Desmonds' sad fate, requires intimate reporting and knowledge of the family's reality. Having returned from his own deployment to Afghanistan struggling with PTSD, Kirk Johnson, a mixed-race son of Three Mile Plains, a place with much in common with the Desmonds' home, seeks truth and understanding in the wake of tragedy.

You might also enjoy...

Loading Icon

Please wait while the item is added to your bag...
Continue Shopping Button
Checkout Button
Loading Icon
Continue Shopping Button