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"A conscientious objector flees enlistment in Vietnam by making a new life in Sweden . . . . Bruce Proctor's memoir, compiled and edited by his younger brother, poet and novelist Alan Robert Proctor (Adirondack Summer, 1969), revisits the late 1960s: the horrors of total war in Vietnam, the unpredictable tides of the American counterculture, and the feeling of being young in a mad world. "Not fear of death, but fear of not being able to live while taking part in killing" is what drives Bruce to renounce his citizenship and leave the country when the National Guard is called up in 1968 . . . . Editor Proctor has obviously put great patience and care into selecting these fragments and the time was well-spent: readers are never bored, always engaged, and often charmed by the liveliness of Bruce's prose (and Alan's poetry scattered throughout the text) . . . . Neither brother holds his tongue in this collection, and readers are richer for it."
Chosen as a "best read" for 2015, one of only 12 memoirs selected nationally.
December 11, 2015, The Kansas City Star
". . . unblinking truth . . . It's rare . . . no grandstanding . . . self acclamation here, only human beings striving to undo the sorrow of war the best they can . . . [and] understand [this] aspect of American history neglected and subverted by politicos . . . . No, in some beautiful way [The Sweden File] is a celebration of the heart's love of life and truth. Bravo!"
--Jimmy Santiago Baca, author, winner of an American Book Award for Poetry, recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature
". . . This book, with its counterpointed perspectives, intimate epistolary narratives, and later commentary, bridges distances of time and place, bringing into focus years when few were spared the grief and sacrifices of a nation led into a distant war that should never have been born . . . ."
--David Ray, poet essayist and memorist and winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and the William Carlos Williams Award
"Most of us will never find ourselves in a situation in which doing what's morally right is a serious threat to our well-being. [In] The Sweden File, [Bruce Proctor] . . . faced such a situation and made the life-rending choice. It's an account of a quiet, sustained heroism."
--William Trowbridge, Missouri Poet Laureate from 2012-2016 and Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwestern Missouri State University