The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate

by Bruce Stevens Proctor and Alan Robert Proctor

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Bruce Proctor’s journey was a harrowing one – from top secrete Pentagon war-policy insider to American deserter. Interpreting reconnaissance photos taken over Southeast Asia d51aALyQ2WqLuring the Vietnam War, he concluded that the conflict was immoral, misguided and deceptive. He suddenly quit the Defense Intelligence Agency (which caused a furor) and joined the Air National Guard to avoid conscription. But his unit was activated, and within the year Bruce was AWOL in Sweden. This hybrid memoir is told in three narrative voices: letters from and to Bruce during 1968 – 1972, his reminiscences 40 years later and two years before his death, and his brother, Alan’s, reflections in 2014. Although he tried, Bruce never learned the language, necessary for a decent job. His letters and later recollections highlight the struggle: impoverishment; common laborer; counselor for disturbed children; taxi driver. He mastered yoga, yet was also mastered by drugs and alcohol. After four years of effort in a foreign culture, Bruce decided, “I must get out of here,” and immigrated to Canada. As the Poet Laureate of Missouri wrote, “It’s an account of…sustained heroism.” Compiled and edited with reflections by Alan Robert Proctor

 

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