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Patches of Fire: A Story of War and Redemption

French, Albert

43 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0436202689 / ISBN 13: 9780436202681
Published by Secker and Warburg, London, 1997
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First British edition; copyright page states "First published in Great Britain in 1997 by Martin Secker & Warburg Limited." Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page: "To Colin-- / I wish you well / Albert French." A hardhitting Vietnam War memoir, by the author of the novels "Billy" and "Holly." Bound in dark teal cloth-covered boards with a gold-lettered spine. Book is tight and unmarked; spine slant; some age-toning to the pages; one corner, spine ends bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price L15.99, bottom front flap); chipped and edgeworn. Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 004076

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Patches of Fire: A Story of War and ...

Publisher: Secker and Warburg, London

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good -

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Personal, lyrical, and extraordinary, Patches of Fire is a memorable exploration of the black soldier's experience in Vietnam, the plight of the Vietnam veteran, and the redemptive power of writing.

With the same passion for truth and stunning honesty that marks his highly acclaimed fiction, Albert French's remarkable memoir tells the story of a young man's encounter with a war and with deaths beyond his understanding; of his return to a country torn by racial unrest in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and of his painstaking efforts to defeat his inner demons and make a place for himself as a black man in white America.

With a starkness tempered by humor, French brings to life the horrors of Vietnam, and recounts in compelling detail his uneasy tenure as a newspaper photographer, his heady days as publisher of his own magazine, his confrontations with the ghostly images of Vietnam that haunted his dreams--and the sense of renewal and purpose he achieved as a novelist.
From the Trade Paperback edition.


Albert French's two previous novels Billy and Holly have both received widespread critical acclaim, and French has been hailed as "one of America's most important new novelists." But French's first literary opus was not originally received with such praise, it was rejected by publishers and never before in print. This first book was a memoir of his experience as a soldier in Vietnam, and while it did not result in literary success, it led up to it. Writing his story proved to be a transformative experience for French, unleashing his creative abilities and resulting in a successful pair of novels that he wrote in short order and to great acclaim. In Patches of Fire, French has rewritten his original personal narrative, including the interesting story of how he began to write and the redemptive role writing played in overcoming the despair that threatened to overwhelm his life after Vietnam. The book falls into two parts: the first, the unsentimental story of an infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam; the second, a moving description of how this Vietnam veteran pulled his life together and found his voice and creative impulse. The writing is expert and the book, excellent.

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