This is a coming of age story about a young man, Carson Longworth, who will come to discover he knows virtually nothing about what's happening in the world around him. In high school his life consists of music, dance, dating, and good times. Set in the 1960's early 1970's when the Vietnam War is beginning to heat up, Carson has not given a good deal of thought to anything beyond the here and now and much less to what is happening around him. Having grown up "under a lucky star", he just assumes that he merely needs to exist and good things will happen to him. Carson wrestles with his personal demons and the general inanity of the world. When he leaves high school and attempts to tackle the world at large, though, he finds the relative freedom outside the cocoon somewhat more than he can handle. Carson's "relative world of plenty" and his historical insulation from the "real world" contributes to the perception that he is aloof. In reality, he just doesn't know how to relate to people. He has no childhood memories of any close friendships, as he found himself in a new place every few years. As such, his outlook on life has been shaped somewhat differently from his peers. This holds particularly true for his relationships with women. He simply had little idea how to relate to women in any meaningful manner until he met Kathy Wilkerson. After high school, Carson spent two academically forgettable, but socially memorable, years in college. He was eventually drafted by the Army, but joined the Marine Corps, because he 'wanted to be a man', an experience that shaped him indelibly. His experiences in the Vietnam War helped create his antagonistic outlook. He could not come to terms with the intent of the war nor the manner in which it was being conducted. He found himself on the outside looking in. He became, contrary to most who join the Marine Corps, a liberal thinker and a skeptic who became increasingly frustrated with the inconsistencies that he observed in the conduct of his fellow man. He began, even while participating in the War, to question the intentions of his government and even those around him. He became very much a loner, as he simply could not understand what was happening nor could he reconcile the absurdities he witnessed. While in the Marine Corps, traveling from one duty station to another, he spent a night in Little Rock, AR. He met a young woman who would remain at his side, even as he tried to "find himself". She would come and go in his life, but in the end, she would be the one who would capture his heart and provide "true love". She had, for him, the "essential ingredient" that he had not been able to find in any person, male or female, his entire life. They would both exert a major influence on each other's lives. Carson would progress from a fanciful world of plenty to one of expected obedience, then to a position of constant questioning. As soon as Carson left the Marine Corps, he returned to college where he became an honor student, engaged in numerous causes, earned his PhD, then taught and wrote. He took it upon himself to instill the Socratic notion of constant questioning. He died a renowned author and lecturer. Those around him respected his formidable intellect, but were troubled by his sometimes commanding approach. One who was not, though, was Kathy Wilkerson ... his future wife. This supports the notion that this is as much a love story as a coming of age drama.
About the Author
I am an antagonist, usually on the side of the underdog. I have spent the majority of my life fighting for what I believe is right, whether it is on a personal level or for the public weal. The direction my life has taken is not what I would have envisioned three decades ago. There has been something missing for quite a long time%u2026%u2026%u2026.writing. I have always wanted to write, whether it be political commentary or as an essayist. I have not always wanted to write fiction. It was not until my last attempt to grasp the meaning of the Vietnam War that it occurred to me that one way of dealing with that fiasco was to write a novel about my experiences. The result of that effort is the novel%u2026%u2026.Longworth. I am a well-educated (masters degree in intellectual history) middle-aged man who has unfulfilled dreams. Even after having lived in countless locations throughout the world and cherishing many life-altering experiences, there remains a void that I have been unable to fill. While I think and hope that this literary direction will satisfy that fundamental craving, I have yet to conclude that it has. I have been told numerous times that I am a captivating speaker, as well as a compelling writer. While this is my first work of fiction (I have already begun two additional novels, one about a cynical middle-aged man who finds himself merely a cog in the machinery of life and the other a work of science fiction), I have attempted to bring my worldview and my non-fictional biases to focus on this project. I have created what I believe to be a work that might justifiably be compared to other well-received coming of age novels. The difference between the standard %u2018coming of age%u2019 novel and mine is the history lesson that accompanies the trip through time. Hopefully, you will agree that this approach sets this one apart from the rest.
I appreciated the history, the military terminology and the descriptions of the inner-workings of the military. While this book is a work of fiction, it gives the reader a glimpse of that era through the eyes of someone who has experienced, first-hand, the life of our military men and women during that time.
This novel hits the mark on what many people in the mid to late 60s experienced. You don't need to have experienced Viet Nam to appreciate the book. It has experiences that we all have gone through in life or if young could go through in your life.
I was very taken aback by how much I did not know about the war in Vietnam. This may be listed as fiction, but I believe it is much closer to non fiction. It was a real eye opener. Great reading, The story and the human interest content were a pleasure to explore and I will highly recommend this book to everyone.
Longworth, is that rare book that takes one directly back into the Vietnam Era and causes one to relive all chaos and magic of that pivotal time. It is not a 'warm and fuzzy' book. One doesn't curl up with it, in front of a slow, crackling fire, with a glass of chardonnay and a kitty on the tummy. Rather, one takes a long, hard jog to shake off the never-addressed frustrations of a generation whose heroes were all assassinated.