Ward Just's twelfth novel penetrates deeply into America's role in the world. Set in Indochina in 1965, A DANGEROUS FRIEND tells a story of "the devolution of an innocent American crusading for democracy" (VANITY FAIR), a man living the conflict of so many Americans caught in a political and spiritual crossfire. Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign-aid operation in Saigon. Even before he arrives, he encounters people who reveal to him the unsettling depths of a conflict he thought he understood, and in Saigon the Vietnamese add yet another dimension. This "fabulous, tense and dramatic" (LOS ANGELES TIMES) narrative needs neither combat nor bloodshed to tell its tale. A DANGEROUS FRIEND is the beautifully constructed story of civilians who want to reform Vietnam -- but the Vietnam they see isn't the Vietnam that is.
Just..allows each sentence in this lovingly textured novel to build atmosphere...In scenes that linger in the imagination, he shows it is possible, prayerfully, to hold out against the world's confusions and our own --and, if only in a stubborn human way, to arrive at a principled basis for conduct. ( April 25 )