Elliot Krieger
  • Review
By – September 16, 2011

The time is 1970 and Amer­i­ca is embroiled in the Viet­nam War. Stu­dents are protest­ing, cam­pus­es are in revolt, and stu­dent Lenny Spiegel becomes involved with a draft resis­tance move­ment, ARMS. This nov­el traces Lenny’s jour­ney from Amer­i­ca to Swe­den to join a group of draft resisters and pose as the leader of the group, Aaron­son, while the real Aaron­son makes a mys­te­ri­ous trip to Ger­many. Lenny’s phys­i­cal resem­blance to Aaron­son, and his will­ing­ness to become involved in the resis­tance move­ment, is a polit­i­cal mys­tery with a touch of Kaf­ka. His moti­va­tion is to do a good deed in the anti-war move­ment, but his grasp of polit­i­cal real­i­ty is näive. Lenny is spir­i­tu­al­ly and emo­tion­al adrift and the allure of being part of a larg­er move­ment appeals to him at a time of emo­tion­al vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. The end­ing has a sur­prise twist and Lenny’s long await­ed rev­e­la­tion of the truth is eye opening. 

The char­ac­ters are well devel­oped but the plot drags in spots. Over­all an inter­est­ing sto­ry of the height of the stu­dent anti-war move­ment and the com­mu­ni­ty life in Swe­den where they fled to avoid the mil­i­tary draft.

Bar­bara Andrews holds a Mas­ters in Jew­ish Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, has been an adult Jew­ish edu­ca­tion instruc­tor, and works in the cor­po­rate world as a pro­fes­sion­al adult educator.

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