Longworth, by J. Russell Smith
Carson Longworth seems to have been born under a lucky star. Handsome and athletic, with a certain mystique that both intrigues the people around him and keeps them at a distance, he drifts through his high school years, focusing on music, dancing, dating, and having a good time. But while he is pursuing these easy pleasures, the world around him is changing. Carson leaves the warm cocoon of his family to go to college where he gets his initial dose of reality along with his first realizations that his peripatetic childhood has left him unprepared to relate deeply to the people around him. As the Vietnam begins to escalate, Carson is drafted into the Army, but instead decides to join the Marines. His experiences in the Marine Corps will begin to provide both the discipline he so desperately needs and the framework of domestic and international politics against which he will begin to rebel, defining and shaping his character in ways he could not have imagined.
While traveling from one duty station to another before leaving for Vietnam, Carson meets Kathy Wilkerson, a brilliant and beautiful young woman whose devotion provides the support and grounding that Carson needs in order to find his version of the truth. As a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Carson will witness atrocities and absurdities that will reveal who he truly is: a formidably intelligent and ethical man with a need to understand the world and to stand up for what is right. Longworth is a unique coming-of-age story with a strong educational component, as well as a tender and inspiring love story. Broad in scope and beautifully detailed, Longworth is a deeply satisfying novel with thought-provoking themes that continue to resonate long after the last page is turned.