Aboard the spy ship U.S.S. Argosy in the war-tossed waters off the coast of Vietnam, three young American sailors form an unlikely bond. Each has fled an America they were raised to love but somehow no longer understand. When forced to choose whether to face combat or stay and fight the war in the streets, they sign up for a war that reflects the conflict that raged inside each of them. The one thing of which they were certain was that the only people in the world they could ...
Aboard the spy ship U.S.S. Argosy in the war-tossed waters off the coast of Vietnam, three young American sailors form an unlikely bond. Each has fled an America they were raised to love but somehow no longer understand. When forced to choose whether to face combat or stay and fight the war in the streets, they sign up for a war that reflects the conflict that raged inside each of them. The one thing of which they were certain was that the only people in the world they could depend on were each other.
As their friendship deepens in the bars and brothels from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, Ernie Brigham and his companions slowly become aware of a dark secret aboard the U.S.S. Argosy. Upon their return to the America they left behind, they are changed at best, lost and damaged at worst, but ultimately sobered by a war that never should have been fought.
In the tradition of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke, and Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, The Candlestickmaker recalls a Vietnam that seared disenchantment into a post World War II generation who learned to question authority at all levels. A coming-of-age story bookended by revelations that shatter readers' illusions about patriotism, government, and the nature of modern warfare, The Candlestickmaker takes readers on a voyage that will guarantee they never read the Mother Goose nursery rhyme to their children in quite the same way again.
Most recently author of FIVE EASY DECADES: How Jack Nicholson Became the Biggest Movie Star in Modern Time (John Wiley & Sons), Dennis McDougal has chronicled Hollywood, crime and the media for over 30 years.
A former Los Angeles Times staff writer and CNN producer during the O.J. Simpson trial, McDougal returned to TV in 2009 as a producer for "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times", the PBS "American Experience" documentary based on McDougal's 2001 bestselling biography PRIVILEGED SON (DaCapo Press). A chronicle of the legendary Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, "Inventing L.A." was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award while Fordham University gave Privileged Son its annual Ann M. Sperber Award for the nation's best media biography.
McDougal is also the author of:
* Los Angeles Times best-seller THE LAST MOGUL: Lew Wasserman, MCA and the Hidden History of Hollywood (Crown). The "you scratch my back, I'll stab yours" Hollywood backstage saga that movie fans may hear about but rarely see. As the elusive, tyrannical head of Universal Studios, Wasserman was the mobbed-up Godfather of show business for more than half a century.
* Edgar-nominated IN THE BEST OF FAMILIES (Warner Books) which recounts the descent into murderous madness of the entire family of Ronald Reagan's personal attorney Roy Miller, whose son raped and murdered his own mother.
* ANGEL OF DARKNESS (Warner Books) -- the cult classic about Southern California serial murderer Randy Kraft, a mild-mannered computer whiz by day and lust killer at night, who holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most prolific murderers (approximately 67 victims) in modern U.S. history;
* MOTHER'S DAY (Ballantine) -- the perennial best-selling saga of a Sacramento mother of six who enticed two of her sons into a monstrous plot to torture and murder her own daughters.
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg described McDougal as a master of pulp non-fiction while the New York Times called him "L.A.'s No. 1 muckraker." He has taught journalism and creative writing at UCLA and California State Universities at Fullerton and Long Beach, is the recipient of Stanford University's John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship, and has been honored with more than 50 professional awards over the course of his career.