Tree of Smoke

A Novel

Hardcover, 624 pages

English language

Published Sept. 4, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

This mammoth odyssey about the Vietnam War transcends all other attempts to write about Vietnam, and makes them look like Hallmark greeting cards. It follows Skip Sands, working for the psychological operations department of the CIA, and his larger than life uncle “Colonel Sands”. It takes us everywhere in Southeast Asia, and even back to the United States. Johnson depicts a war where nothing is clear, where friends and enemies are indistinguishable, and where myths are created out of the land itself.

With a cast of half-a-dozen supporting characters, he portrays the war from the perspective of both sides of Vietnam, from two G.I. brothers from Arizona (who appeared in Johnson’s Angels), from a widowed Canadian nurse who can’t stop reading Calvin, from a Sergeant who seems to be perpetually tripping on acid, from a German hit-man, from a priest in the Philippines who thinks he’s Judas, from a “civilian” …

4 editions

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  • Espionage/Intrigue
  • General
  • Fiction / General
  • Historical - General
  • War & Military
  • American Historical Fiction
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Espionage / Thriller
  • Fiction - General
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975