In a series of mini-biographical sketches, Sanders presents a kaleidoscope of his life as it interacted with various individuals, from childhood through a long career as a journalist including as a foreign correspondent.
Many of the subjects of these sketches are relatively prominent historical figures, well known to a general public and the reader. But Sanders tells with detail how his intimacy with them often presents a facet or an aspect of their lives not generally included in their public persona. In addition to these VIPs, Sanders explores his relationships with members of his family and friends and acquaintances who led less public but in their own way equally interesting and important lives.
The book has a wide historical and geographical range, from a childhood in the mountains of Western North Carolina through a nationwide apprenticeship in the news business to student life in Paris to long periods of residence and reporting in east, south and southeast Asia. The recounting of his experiences in journalism present the interwar era of the print media as it now begins to dim before the onslaught of the digital revolution.
Several vignettes in the book dramatize moments in both the earlier French Indochina War and the U.S. Vietnam War, new material even for scholars of these monumental conflicts in Southeast Asia.
Implicit in much of the detail and comment are Sanders’ life views, some of them highly controversial but generally grounded in what he considers evidence for his conclusions. There is also an explicit but subtle discussion of his own sexuality and its development through the decades, including encounters with a wide variety of nationalities and classes.
The reader will come away with an almost bewildering pastiche of anecdotes, but with a sense that he has had a less than discreet but fascinating look-in on a long life lived by an adventurous individual in an era now rapidly passing out of view.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-1-941165-72-0 Paperback | ISBN 978-1-941165-71-3 398 Pages