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Tom LeClairThis novel will probably be praised as a distant mirror of contemporary history, of Vietnam and Iraq, and it is that. But its true importance lies not in its rearview relevance but in its commitment to recalling in heroic detail a little-known and contradictory historical moment, a sunny time of American pride but also of hubris in sun-beaten locales: North Carolina, Cuba, the Philippines…More than once, Sayles describes performers as "channels." He also satirizes a newspaper editor who says, "We mustn't let mere facts stand in the way of larger truths." Sayles is not a neutral channel, but in his respect for facts both documented and extrapolated, he is devoted to offering us a new understanding of the past.
—The New York Times