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This lyrical, moving and intensely personal coming-of-age memoir is also a coming out story of a gay boy from a conservative family growing up in the U.S. Southwest in an era of political, social and cultural transformation. It is also an extended reflection on the importance of place, time, history and geography in shaping who we are and who we become. In post-World War II America, the specter of nuclear destruction and environmental crises, challenges to racism and women's inequality, the Vietnam War and the sexual revolution threaten to tear the country apart. Already struggling with what it means to be different and what kind of man to become, the author faces the ultimate moral test of courage and conscience when he graduates from college and is drafted to fight in Vietnam. How will he navigate these tumultuous years and what will he learn from his experiences? How can he survive, find love and a purpose in life? And what lessons are there in such a story for future generations in a world without borders?
Ken Carpenter was born in New Mexico, raised in Colorado and lived most of his life in the Southwest. As a student at Colorado State University during the 1960s, he studied history and became active in local civil rights and anti-war efforts. He resisted being drafted to fight in Vietnam and served time in federal prison. On release, he earned a master's degree at the University of Texas, worked for LGBT rights and was a full-time peace and human rights advocate in the U.S. and Latin America. He met Greg Calvert, formerly a radical leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and they began a relationship that lasted for thirty years. Ken earned a PhD at the University of Oregon and became a college teacher and administrator, specializing in international education. He and Greg set up and ran an educational exchange program and school for children in Granada, Nicaragua. Now retired from the University of New Mexico, Ken lives in Albuquerque, teaching and mentoring students part-time.