"What if they gave a war and nobody came? Why, then the war would come to you!" Bertolt Brecht
Danny is a small town kid who believes in mom, the flag and apple pie. When all the people, things and institutions he trusts start to betray him, he starts to look for answers in the chaos of the 60's.
Drugs, race riots, and The Vietnam War---always The War--begin chasing him down the rabbit hole. Danny is desperate to find the light.
Findingthe light means looking inside--the last place he wants to look.
An early reviewer said, " This is an honest, candid recital of a naïve, mid-western college student propelled into the political turmoil prevalent in the early 1970's. Running from a controversial war that divided the country, Danny represents the generation that was torn between traditional patriotism and an ethical responsibility to his fellow man and to himself. The writing is authentic, his cynicism and derision reflective of the era, the topic ironically relevant, and the story innovative and compelling."
And another early reviewer said, "Once in awhile, a book comes along that has something new to say, and The Redemption of Danny Harper is just such a book. Not just a mere recounting of events, it showed me the heart and soul of a young man, growing up in the decade of Vietnam. This is the first time I've been privy to the real thoughts and feelings of a college-aged young man, faced with the possibility of being drafted into a war that makes no sense. An engaging, disturbing, and witty book, once you begin reading it's hard to tear yourself away."
PLEASE NOTE: this book contains ADULT LANGUAGE and ADULT CONTENT. It is NOT meant for young teens or children. It will offend people who believe that war makes the world a better place.
Finally, this quote: "Elegant, brutal, I loved it. This book is like reading 'Huck Finn while listening to Steely Dan." William Logan Dewar 2011.
Three years in the writing and three major re-writes while working on my College Graduate Certificate from the elite School for Writers at Humber College in Toronto... Then two more re-writes...
This, of all my books thus far, is a labor of love--my baby. Imperfect as it is, highly offensive to some becasue of the raw realism and street language, it is nevertheless a strongly moral work, dealing with war and the lies that the makers of war tell to citizens and the effect this has on the whole of society.
Danny is instantly likable to some--even lovable-- but others see him as arroagant and ignornat. I guess Danny is all those things. Most of us are more than one person inside, but choose to only show our good side to the world and to ourselves.
My most experinced and literate reviewer commented that this book starts off slowly, but picks up stream. I don't notice that, but if you do notice it is slow when you begin reading it, persevere; it only gets better.
About the Author
James Hockings is a renowned master photographer-turned-writer. He holds a BA from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and an Ontario College Graduate Certificate from the elite Creative Writing program at Humber College in Toronto, Canada, where he won the only merit-based scholarship in his term. The author of two novels, two novellas and two non-fiction books, he lives in a cabin in rural Canada with his Gordon Setter dog, Rascal.
Mr Hockings has done an interesting recreation of the turbulent 60's and early 70's. His writing is clear and there are many cleaver turns of phrase and interesting references. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Once in awhile, a book comes along that has something new to say, and Surfing Vietnam is just such a book. Not just a mere recounting of events, it showed me the heart and soul of a young man, growing up in the decade of Vietnam. This is the first time I've been privvy to the real thoughts and feelings of a college-aged young man, faced with the possibility of being drafted into a war that makes no sense. An engaging, disturbing, and witty book, once you begin reading it's hard to tear yourself away.
Skirting Vietnam might have been a better title. Danny Harper spends years figuring out how not to go to Vietnam during the war in the 60s and 70s.
The beginning of the book put me off initially. It seemed that the author asked himself why use a small word when you can find a big one. But the author found his equilibrium and the book really took off. The story was disconcerting, albeit well written and well crafted. It was difficult to follow poor Danny as he tries to think rationally during these years of booze, drugs, and illegitimate children, and never quite succeeds. He falls in and out of love as though these things were ordained by the cosmos, as opposed to being ordained by convenience. Somewhere along the road, Danny teaches himself to write.
The author sprinkled in quotes about war, and included mini-service-records of some of the men with whom Danny comes into contact, mostly death notices.
Including more details would spoil the journey.
Pinprick: Mr. Hendrix's name was spelled "Jimi," not "Jimmy."
I received a copy of this book for free in order to review it for The Kindle Book Review website. I am in no way affiliated with either the author or publisher(s).
Wow! What a book! I've always been one to vilify people who didn't run into the war with their head held high. Seeing things from a different perspective really hit home. The author really has a way of making it all seem so real and like i was there with the guys. Bang up to James Hockings for a truly thoughful and insightful writting.
An excellent read of a young American man coming of age during time of the Vietnam War but surprisingly relevant today. It reminded me of Catcher in the Rye. Well written with a very satisfying ending. I will look forward to reading more from this intriguing new author.
WOW... WOW... WOW... Strange. Introspective. Funny. Curious. Articulately written. I've always wondered what it is about these Vietnam vets that separates them from the rest of the population. While Danny represents a select population, Well, I don't want to spoil your reading pleasure. And this, indeed, is a pleasure to read.
James Hockings was a renowned master photographer-turned-writer. He held a BA from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and an Ontario College Graduate Certificate from the elite Creative Writing program at Humber College in Toronto, Canada, where he won the only merit-based scholarship in his term.
His first major novel, The Redemption of Danny Harper, is Rated 4+ Stars. It is a novel of redemption and transformation--coming-of-age in the 60's. It is the fictional biography of a boy in chaos in a time of chaos.
Hockings' mentors included Carl Jung the psychoanalyst, Edward Weston the photographer and Miles Davis the jazz musician. Susan Swan, an acclaimed Canadian novelist and public intellectual, who mentored Hockings most recently, praised his originality.
Hockings was a photographer for over three decades. He was tagged as a "a national treasure" by the curator of the Canadian Theatre Archive for his work in recording over 1000 stage productions. His two little how-to photo books, also published by Amazon, are fun to read and share practical advice for amateur photo enthusiasts that want to learn how to photograph rather than "just take pictures."
His hobbies included drinking exceptional beer in modest quantities; reading trash detective novels, bow hunting big game, and projecting movies from DVD's. He never owned a television set, but was a self-styled expert on topics such as hunting dogs, beer, jazz, and long distance running.
James Hockings died of bladder cancer in February 2013. He wrote candidly about his confrontation with the "beast" on his blog http://dominuslumiere.blogspot.ca. As a follow-up, a book compiling his journals, blogs and email correspondence will be published in late September 2013.