Robert Lehrman, Author Arbor House Publishing $16.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-87795-944-1
Set in 1958 during the Cold War, this is a strong first novel by an author who has previously published fiction for young adults. Mark Morris, a junior at the University of Iowa and holder of the record American mile running time, has a seemingly uncomplicated future. First, run his athletic career to the limit; second, capitalize on the resulting notoriety to forge a political career. Suddenly Mark is tossed into Cold War politics, when Vladimir Petrovitch, arguably the world's best miler, seeks his help in defecting from Russia. The coup succeeds, and the Russian becomes Mark's closest friend and the darling of the American sports public. But Vladimir is caught in a police raid on a Chicago homosexual hangout, public opinion swings violently against him and the government invokes the McCarran-Walter Act to deport him. Will Mark risk his future hopes to defend his friend? The narrative is extraordinarily evocative of the claustraphobic quality of the less sophisticated parts of American society in the 1950s, where the ultimate put-down was ""Homo!'' and ``Faggot!'' and nonconformity was, practically speaking, not an option. To a new generation, this book will read like a historical novel, even though its period is only 30 years past. (February 22)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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