Anderson (The Moon Reflected Fire) has led an amazing life-before, during and after his 1967-1968 tour of duty as a navy corpsman with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam. He has been a jazz drummer, a playwright, an actor, an alcoholic and son of an alcoholic, a college dropout, a college instructor, a drug abuser, a PTSD sufferer and a poet. In his first book of nonfiction, Anderson tells his story in inviting, poetic prose. He begins with his dysfunctional childhood in Memphis, then offers an evocative depiction of his service in Vietnam, which included a firefight on his first day in the field and more than his share of closely observed horror. He shows the hell of war as he went through it. Only in recent years did Anderson stop drinking, find meaningful work as a poet and teacher, marry and make a life-changing trip back to Vietnam in 2000. Yet what Anderson dubs "Snakebrain" (the demons inside him) remains a part of him. His beautifully told story is one of redemption, but also one without a happy ending. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties, and a Journey of Self-Discoveryby Doug Anderson
An award-winning poet highlights the vibrant history of his generation in a farewell to Vietnam, the chaotic sixties, and their long aftermath.“We tend to write about what will not go away,” Doug Anderson says in this candid, darkly humorous journey of self-discovery. Beginning in 1943, in the pre–civil rights South filled with tobacco and/p>
An award-winning poet highlights the vibrant history of his generation in a farewell to Vietnam, the chaotic sixties, and their long aftermath.“We tend to write about what will not go away,” Doug Anderson says in this candid, darkly humorous journey of self-discovery. Beginning in 1943, in the pre–civil rights South filled with tobacco and war stories, he recalls the difficult childhood that propels him into service in Vietnam. In 1967, having returned home deeply shaken by his experience as a combat medical corpsman, Anderson plunges into the heady freedoms and excesses of the sixties. His downward spiral—through booze, substance abuse, and sex—brings him dangerously close to a total breakdown. Finally, in a return group visit to Vietnam in 2000, he meets with former enemies now become writers and poets. Moved by the realization that “the last time I saw these people they were trying to kill me,” Anderson confronts the past and calls upon a story—this powerful story—to rebuild a life.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Doug Anderson, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, teaches at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford Campus and lives in Hartford.
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