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Peace and War: American Stories by Thomas Miller

Peace and War: American Stories

by Thomas Miller

180 pages
Peace and War is many things. Americana set within the culture of war that has existed in the America since WWII. Comic, tragic, dark, light, funny and serious, it's about family, fishing, friendship, baseball, celebrity, academia, the natural world, life and death. It chronicles where America has been and wonders where she may be going.

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Category: Memoir
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About the Book
Peace and War is many things. Itís Americana set against a backdrop of what the Military Industrial Complex and too much money in the hands of too few people has done to America and Americans. Comic, tragic, dark, light, funny and serious, itís about family. Itís about life. And death. Itís about fishing and friendship and baseball and racism and celebrity and academia and the natural world. It chronicles where we have been and wonders where we may be going.

Its thirteen stories follow the wayfarer, Frank, from his birth during WWII to the turning of the 20th century. The stories begin in Texas where his father is working as an engineer, designing bombers that will help defeat Nazi Germany, an occupation that will cause him to be shunned by people he thought were his friends when he returns to his home in the Midwest. Frankís father and mother build a house there that is to be their paradise away from the woes of the world, and it turns out to be the opposite. Frank comes to know his grandfather, Charlie, who remembers the end of the American Civil War, and his grandmother, Mary, who is a confirmed teetotaler and believes that everyone else should be too. Frank and his father, Phil, get to know each other by fishing together, first in the backwaters of the Illinois River in Illinois and later in the backwaters of the St Johns River in central Florida where they meet the incomparable Stonewall Jackson and Frank gets his first look at racism. Frank and his mother, Jessie, get to know each other by following the Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers together, as their team struggles to win a World Series from the Yankees.

Frank travels on through high school where he has his heart broken by the father of his first serious girlfriend and meets Dennis Yellen, a bright boy from the wrong side of the tracks with whom he forms a close friendship that lasts a quarter of a century then ends abruptly and perhaps unnecessarily. In university Frank studies architecture, wins a summer fellowship to work and study in New York and sees that his chosen profession may not be so glamorous as he has been led to believe. After university he, like the rest of his generation, must decide whether to fight, and possibly die, in the Vietnam War, a war that seems unnecessary to many Americans. Frankís wanderings take him to San Francisco in the late 60s where he is immersed in the counterculture and the anti-war movement and studies at the University of California at Berkeley where he sees the contradictions and corruptions of academia. The last of the stories follow Frank into the American Southwest where he photographs the Colorado Plateau, has a close call in a slot canyon, and learns about Geronimo from an Apache woman.


As someone who lived through the turbulent 60s and was a conscientious†objector, Peace and War brought back a lot of memories. It also reminded me of more peaceful times playing sports and fishing with friends and cousins. But for younger generations, this book is an intimate look at a slice of Americana that's too often glossed over in history books. It also gives a deep understanding of the military industrial complex that still has a grip on American society today. Highly recommended. --Wayne Purdin, author of Pharaoh of the Sun: Akhenaten and the Culture of Love
- Wayne Purdin


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About the Author
Thomas Miller Thomas Miller is an American photographer. His photographs reside in numerous public and private collections and have been extensively exhibited. His work has won awards from the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon where he lived for 25 years, and from the Graham Foundation in Chicago where he lived for 10. His photo essays have been published in his home country and internationally. His book, Desert Skin, aerial photographs of the Colorado Plateau, was published by the University of Utah Press in 1995.

Mr. Miller lives in East Africa with his cat, Minou.

Peace and War is his first book of words.



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