Before Bush and Iraq, there was Nixon and Vietnam. It’s 1969. The Vietnam War has turned into a meat grinder, 250,000 protesters are marching on Washington to confront a defiant President Nixon holed up in the White House, and Alden Maytree, fresh out of Catholic seminary, has passed his pre-induction physical. Just before Uncle Sam drafts him, he gets a surprise call. Instead of killing commies in Vietnam, how about spending two years next door in exotic Thailand, the “Land of Smiles,” as a Peace Corps Volunteer? But when he arrives in Bangkok, he discovers he can’t escape the war and clashes with Peace Corps, the U.S. Embassy and the CIA. Land of Smiles is a memoir of one young man’s coming of age during the Boomer generation’s war-and the painful lessons he and America both learn as they try to save the world.
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