|About the Book|
When World War II began, esteemed Nevada writer Robert Laxalt was an undergraduate at Californias University of Santa Clara. Like most men of his generation, he was eager to serve his country in its armed forces. However, a childhood illness thatMoreWhen World War II began, esteemed Nevada writer Robert Laxalt was an undergraduate at Californias University of Santa Clara. Like most men of his generation, he was eager to serve his country in its armed forces. However, a childhood illness that left him with a heart murmur disqualified him for military service, despite excellent health and an impressive athletic record. Frustrated in his attempts to enlist and shunned by his Nevada neighbors as a draft dodger, Laxalt in desperation used his familys political connections to get himself appointed as a code officer at the U.S. legation in the Belgian Congo. This vivid memoir recalls Laxalts service in a remote jungle outpost where a secret and ominous war was being fought for control of the worlds future. Deep in the Congo lay a mine that produced a little-known mineral called uranium, and for reasons that no one then understood, the Allies and the Germans were struggling ferociously to control the mine and its ore. Laxalts service in what he had assumed was a backwater posting placed him instead in the midst of a hotbed of spies and counterspies, assassinations and hairbreadth escapes from violent death..But Laxalts war was an inward one as well. Embittered by his countrys rejection of his wish to serve it, Laxalt left the U.S. hoping never to see it again. His narrative of his months in Africa, interspersed with passages from his journal and letters from his family reflecting their civilian experiences of the war, record Laxalts growth to a new wisdom. While he learned the ways of colonial society, participated in diplomatic soires and wild game hunts, associated with spies and their deadly secrets, and fought the repeated ravages of endemic malaria, Laxalt also learned what his country meant to him.This moving and exciting wartime memoir by one of the most important writers of his generation offers readers a compelling account of one of the wars least-known but most important theaters--the steamy, disease-ridden jungles of Equatorial Africa. Once again, Robert Laxalts powerful prose will engage and move his readers.