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.