By Denis Johnson

ISBN-10: 0374708401

ISBN-13: 9780374708405

Once upon a time there has been a warfare . . . and a tender American who considered himself because the Quiet American and the gruesome American, and who wanted to be neither, who sought after in its place to be the clever American, or the nice American, yet who finally got here to witness himself because the genuine American and at last as easily the Fucking American. That's me.

This is the tale of pass Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in mental Operations opposed to the Vietcong—and the failures that befall him due to his recognized uncle, a conflict hero identified in intelligence circles easily because the Colonel. this is often additionally the tale of the Houston brothers, invoice and James, younger males who glide out of the Arizona wilderness right into a struggle within which the road among disinformation and myth has blurred away. In its imaginative and prescient of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic pics of fellows and ladies determined for an finish to their loneliness, even if in intercourse or dying or via the grace of God, it is a tale like not anything in our literature.

Tree of Smoke is Denis Johnson's first full-length novel in 9 years, and his such a lot gripping, attractive, and robust paintings to date.

Tree of Smoke is the 2007 nationwide publication Award Winner for Fiction.

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Sample text

You can get out after three years, with benefits. You’ll never regret it. ”53 20 Chapter 1 In another case, an Oklahoma veteran remembered, “While I was at Will Rogers High School, my football coach was my main role model. ” “His name was Chuck Boyles,” the veteran recalled, and “he often spoke with feeling about his experiences. ”54 The teachers and coaches reinforced what young men saw as a rite of passage in many communities: mainly military service. The rituals of life that surrounded the commemoration of military service made the task much easier.

Originally designed to ensure that the country maintained sufficient numbers of students in math and science, the draft allowed young middle- and upper-class youths to use educational opportunities to avoid putting themselves into the same draft pool as most lower middle- and working-class men. When exemptions for graduate school disappeared in 1967, the quantity of college-educated recruits increased, although their numbers remained small in comparison to working- and lower middle-class recruits, who had a much higher chance of serving not only in Vietnam, but in combat units.

27 12 Chapter 1 In Senate Armed Services Committee hearings in 1967, the annual report by the Selective Service System found that 1,090,000 enlisted men joined the service. Of that number, the military drafted 345,000 and another 380,700 joined voluntarily after receiving pre-induction notices. The overall numbers fail to include others who sought better military assignments in the Air Force or Navy to reduce the chances of service in Vietnam. 28 Many examples of this phenomenon can be documented.

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Tree of Smoke: A Novel by Denis Johnson

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