In Saigon during the waning days of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he’ll find action—and profit—by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong for him. Dog Soldiers perfectly captures the underground mood of America in the 1970s, when amateur drug dealers and hippies encountered profiteering cops and professional killers—and the price of survival was dangerously high.
Like Michael Herr’s Dispatches, Robert Stone’s National Book Award-winning novel Dog Soldiers trades on a hallucinatory vision of Vietnam as a place in which all honor and morality are ceded to the mere business of survival—and, better, survival with personal profit. “This is the place where everybody finds out who they are,” says the novel’s protagonist, the journalist Converse, to which his friend and partner in crime Ray Hicks replies, “What a bummer for the gooks.” Converse convinces Hicks to smuggle a shipment of heroin back to the United States, renegade CIA agents pop up, and all hell breaks loose in this beautifully written, dark study of the soul in anguish.