Book Review: The Eagle On My Arm

University Press of Kentucky
The Eagle on My Arm: How The Wilderness and Birds of Prey Saved a Veteran’s Life, Dava Guerin and Terry Bivens. ISBN 9780813180021   University Press of Kentucky, Hardcover, $26.95
This is the inspiring story of Patrick Bradley, a Vietnam War veteran who uses his passion for birds of prey to help other veterans heal physically and psychologically.

Authors Dava Guerin and Terry Bivens tell Bradley’s story of survival, perseverance, and success, including his work as the cofounder of the Avian Veteran Alliance. The AVA works with veterans from the American Armed Services as well as non-releasable birds of prey, meaning each sustains some sort of handicap preventing them from surviving in the wild. As “Wounded Warriors” in their own right, these animals create a unique bond with local veterans providing a sense of hope and meaning to those that have sacrificed so much for our country.

The Eagle on My Arm illuminates Veterans’s struggles within the modern healthcare system as well as how an individual acting for the common good can change hundreds of lives.

And the story begins…… In October 1967, eighteen-year-old Patrick Bradley enlisted in the US Army and was later deployed to North Vietnam as a special operator with missions to kill high-value targets. Combat left him physically and psychologically wounded, as it does many veterans, and Bradley struggled to adjust when he returned home. He seemed destined for military prison after an altercation in which he broke a superior officer’s jaw, but his life changed forever when a psychiatrist recommended a unique path for healing.
Thanks to a program sponsored by the Canadian government, Bradley traveled to Canada to study bald eagles and document their behavior. He found himself recovering while living alone in the wild with minimal supplies or human contact. At the same time, his work was paving the way for groundbreaking research, including the discovery of a link between the use of the pesticide DDT and a decrease in southern bald eagle populations. Later, he forged a successful career training and managing wild animals and committed himself to helping other wounded warriors by cofounding the Avian Veteran Alliance, a nonprofit that pairs veterans suffering from PTSD and physical injuries with injured birds of prey.


The Eagle on My Arm tells Bradley’s inspirational story for the first time. This moving account reveals how a soldier became a dedicated healer, using his years of study and solitude to face his demons and turn his pain into a lifelong passion for helping others.
About the Authors: 

Dava Guerin is the author or coauthor of six books, including Rebuilding Sergeant PeckVets and Pets, and Unbreakable Bonds. She is a communications consultant and freelance writer and previously served as communications director for the US Association of Former Members of Congress in Washington, D.C. She is an active supporter of Barbara Bush’s Foundation for Family Literacy and the Gary Sinise Foundation. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.
Terry Bivens (1946–2019) was an award-winning journalist, highly ranked Wall Street analyst, and coauthor of Rebuilding Sergeant Peck. His work has appeared in the New York TimesBusiness Week, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his 1991 series for the Philadelphia Inquirer was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master's of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator. She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen - one daughter-in-law; Katie - two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia - and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.