An insecure young man drafted into the United States Army in 1968 at the height of the American war in Vietnam finds himself adrift in Mannheim, Germany, an assigned detour from combat made possible by his talent at baseball, one that years earlier had found him opposing—and besting—the eventual Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. Although his deployment in Germany, rather than in the bloody rice patties of Vietnam is nothing less than fortuitous in that regard, Private Charles Levine nevertheless finds himself at the mercy of a military bureaucracy he can neither fathom nor follow.
Ever fearful that he might be sent off to a war he rejects on philosophical and humane grounds, Levine reaches his nadir when he meets a “Gatsby-like” fellow G.I. equally dismayed by his circumstances. Levine discovers a side of himself he had never known, long after the two young men crossed paths in a place neither wanted to be.
“Charles Levine’s Mannheim is a fascinating lifelong voyage of self-discovery. Levine’s prose is clean, clear and approachable and his book is refreshingly candid and vulnerable. I couldn’t put it down.”
David Elliot Cohen, multi-New York Times
best-selling author of One Year Off and The Wrong Dog
“Charles Levine’s coming of age book is written with simplicity and universally accessible emotion. It’s heartfelt vividly realized memory of life validates a sometimes painful time when boys become men and discover the world is a darker and more dangerous place than expected. But the author always reminds us that he hasn’t entirely lost his playful spirit. Mannheim is a moving character study that will stay with you. A great read.”
James Carlos Davis, screenwriter, film producer, and national
best-selling novelist of No Dawn For Men, The Bone Keepers and God’s Formula
Charles Levine is a retired businessman. He grew up mostly in Sacramento and has spent his adult years between California and New York. He graduated from Dominican University and studied liberal arts at Stanford. He lives in San Rafael, CA. This is his first book.