The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate

Alan Robert Proctor’s new book, The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate, is now available in paperback.

Purchase on Amazon

Bruce Proctor’s journey was a harrowing one – from top secret Pentagon war-policy insider to American deserter. Interpreting reconnaissance photos taken over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, he concluded that the conflict waSweden File COVERs 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 in the summer of 1968, Bruce fled to Sweden. This hybrid memoir is told in three narrative voices: letters from and to Bruce during his Swedish exile (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 (one of whom held him at knife-point); taxi driver. He mastered yoga, yet was himself 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 well-known author, David Ray – who wrote the Preface to the book – commented, “…This book, with its counterpointed perspectives, intimate epistolary narratives, and later commentary, bridges distances of time and place, bringing into focus years when few were spared the grief and sacrifices of a nation led into a distant war that should never have been born….”

Alan & BruceCompiled and edited with reflections by Alan Robert Proctor: Alanrobertproctor.wordpress.com

The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate is available from Westphalia Press (Westphaliapress.org) or from Amazon. Discounted copies will be available from Mr. Proctor after personal appearances or readings.
Alan Proctor (on left), Bruce Proctor (on right)

What people are saying…

“I guess more than anything else about this book, and I like many things about it, is the unwavering truth – the unblinking truth the author takes on his journey. It’s rare. There are no literary awards or grandstanding, mind-numbing self-acclamation here, only human beings striving to undo the sorrow of war the best they can. [As a teacher,] I surely would recommend this book to all high school kids, they [sadly] need…to understand [this] aspect of American history neglected and subverted by politicos, often twisting the truth until it’s nothing more than dishrag repugnant with the stench of death. No, in some beautiful way this book is a celebration of the heart’s love of life and truth. Bravo.” – Jimmy Santiago Baca

Mr. Baca is the author of over a dozen books of poetry, as well as essays, memoirs, stories and a screen play which was made into a feature length film (Bound by Honor, 1993). Baca received the American Book Award for Poetry in 1989. He is also a Pushcart winner and the recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature.

 “…This book, with its counterpointed perspectives, intimate epistolary narratives, and later commentary, bridges distances of time and place, bringing into focus years when few were spared the grief and sacrifices of a nation led into a distant war that should never have been born….” – David Ray

 Poet and essayist, David Ray, is the author of 24 books, the founding editor of New Letters Magazine and—among other honors—has twice won the William Carlos Williams Award, and also the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award.

“Most of us will never find ourselves in a situation in which doing what’s morally right is a serious threat to our well-being. The Sweden File is a book about someone who faced such a situation and made the life-rending choice. It’s an account of a quiet, sustained heroism.” – William Trowbridge

William Trowbridge has authored four books of poetry, three chapbooks and was the Missouri Poet Laureate from 2012 – 2014. Honors include the Academy of American Poets Prize, and a Pushcart Prize among many other awards. Trowbridge is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwestern Missouri State University.

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