Well-meaning American civilians make an attempt at nation-building during the Vietnam War, in this “powerful” novel by a National Book Award finalist (Newsweek).
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Time
and the Los Angeles Times
In this “extraordinary,” beautifully constructed large-canvas novel of Saigon in 1965, Ward Just takes a penetrating look into America’s role in the world (The New York Times
Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left his home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign aid operation in the South Vietnamese capital. 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.
“Emotionally wrenching and always beautifully observant,” this is a story of conscience and its consequences among those for whom Vietnam was neither the right fight nor the wrong fight but the only fight (Entertainment Weekly
). The exotic tropical surroundings, coarsening and corrupting effects of a colonial regime, and visionary delusions of the American democratizers all play their part. “A literary triumph that transcends its war story” and a New York Times Notable Book, A Dangerous Friend
can be justly compared to Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo
or Graham Greene’s The Quiet American
—a thrilling narrative roiling with intrigue, mayhem, and betrayal (San Francisco Chronicle
“Makes you want to run screaming into the street to protest retrospectively the war he has so movingly recreated.” —The New York Times