A Dangerous Friend

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 3, 1999 - Fiction - 272 pages
3 Reviews
In this, his twelfth novel, Ward Just penetrates more deeply into America's role in the world than he has ever done before. This beautifully constructed large-canvas novel of Saigon in 1965 can be justly compared to Joseph Conrad's NOSTROMO or Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN. A DANGEROUS FRIEND is a thrilling narrative roiling with intrigue, mayhem, and betrayal. Here is the story of conscience and its consequences among those for whom Vietnam was neither the right fight nor the wrong fight but the only fight. The exotic tropical surroundings, the coarsening and corrupting effects of a colonial regime, the visionary delusions of the American democratizers, all play their part. In A DANGEROUS FRIEND, a few civilians with bright minds and sunny intentions want to reform Vietnam -- but the Vietnam they see isn't the Vietnam that is. Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign-aid operation in Saigon. Even before he arrives, he encounters French and Americans who reveal to him the unsettling depths of a conflict he thought he understood -- and in Saigon, the Vietnamese add yet another dimension. Before long, the rampant missteps and misplaced ideals trap Parade and others in a moral crossfire.
 

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User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

this novel shows that its aurhor, who was a war correspondent in Vitetnam, has a perceptive and sure grasp of life druring the war. . An American goes to Vietnam as a civilian to help win "hearts and ... Read full review

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User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

A Dangerous Friend takes the reader to Vietnam, 1965. Sydney Parade is a man bored with his Connecticut life. In search of something bigger than himself he leaves his wife and daughter for the jungles ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Family Armand
A Child in Such a Milieu
Dacy
Getting Used to It
A Shooting in the Market
Assimilate or Disperse
Big Dumb Blond
Plantation Louvet
The Life of the Mind
Pablos Hat
The Arsenal of Democracy
Back Cover
Spine
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Ward Just is the author of fourteen previous novels, including the National book Award finalist Echo House and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Award. In a career that began as a war correspondent for Newsweek and the Washington Post, Just has lived and written in half a dozen countries, including Britain, France, and Vietnam. His characters often lead public lives as politicians, civil servants, soldiers, artists, and writers. It is the tension between public duty and private conscience that animates much of his fiction, including Forgetfulness. Just and his wife, Sarah Catchpole, divide their time between Martha’s Vineyard and Paris.

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