5 Stars: The Ballad of Joseph & Vietnam
There are memoirs that very important to understanding the past where you can get lost in the experience by placing yourself in their shoes. Turning the pages ( Kindle should have sound effects) and romanticizing a writer's journey which you can't get from history books that lack personal stories or a witty sense of humor. There are the famous people that we can read about, but I am one for the ordinary person with an extraordinary journey, I want to know them and chat for hours on end. The gift they carry is insight about a time you didn't exist, and by the time you learn about in school it has become water down and nostalgic without the pain, suffering, and recklessness for you to appreciate.
As time passes by the voices disappear, the voices of WW2 survivors pretty much gone they are needed as some countries today flirt with nationalism and fascism. And now the voices of the Vietnam war true resisters and survivors are seldom heard or held up as a warning for foolish warmongering; we need them, we need them now! Life After America: A memoir about the wild and crazy 1960s by Joseph Mark Glazner is not a downbeat memoir, but an experience of one of America's first "Vietnam War Resisters" to cross that border and not be on the "wrong side of history." Joseph writes of risking freedom by crossing into Canada just at the age of 22 leaving the California sun for the cold from being a citizen to becoming an immigrant. Leaving a divisive America to entering a divisive Montreal during the Quebec separatists movement, a steadfast Joseph endures a writer's life of odd jobs, writing tabloids, connecting with artsy wannabe filmmakers, being up in romantic relationships and being heartbroken but never coming off bitter or entitled. Leaving everything behind including an ailing father, a mother who believes in the "goodness of Dick Nixon," friends, and the lack of freedom to not choose war without repercussions of going to jail and being forced to serve on the frontlines. As the FBI and American justice system are looking for him, he discovers a purpose, a talent for writing; his survival depends if he is witty enough to remain grounded. I would have wanted this life no matter the cost of losing my "freedom."
Joseph Mark Glazner writes something I envy, being able to be around at the beginning and in the same room with John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their "In Bed" peace movement. Tidbits of John and Yoko took me back as a child remembering the night I watched on TV the announcement that John Lennon was murdered; I cried along with my uncle as we played John Lennon's music. Being able to know more about John and Yoko touched me as I thought a writer's life that's what I want!