Guest Post with Giveaway ~ Longworth by J Russell Smith

guest-postI have been asked repeatedly if I would be interested in having my book made into a motion picture and, if it came to pass, who would play the various characters.  I suppose my first question would be….”is there really any interest from anyone in having this or any book made into a movie considering the subject matter”.  Because there were no real heroes in the Vietnam war and because it is considered a blot on our collective history, there have been precious few commendable movies of any sort centered around that conflict.  Both Vietnam and Korea have been given short shrift when it comes to motion pictures.  I do recall, several decades ago, when a spate of very awful movies about the Vietnam conflict were shown.  They were, for the most part, terrible by almost any measure.  In fact, most were laughably awful.   As I write this, in fact, there are only three movies that come to mind that, in my estimation, even come close to reflecting the actuality of the Vietnam War: “ Platoon”,” Full Metal Jacket”, and “The Deer Hunter”.  Even with those, though, particularly “The Deer Hunter”, there is a license that is stretching it a bit.  The remaining movies are, for the most part, caricatures. 

It is extremely difficult to capture just what happens in any war, particularly a boondoggle like Vietnam.  For example, statistically it appears that the soldiers, Marines, etc. that fought in Vietnam actually experienced more combat than those fighting in any other war in our entire history.  How does one depict that on the screen?  Do you really want to or is that the point?  The only real notable depiction of circumstances in the Korean conflict is within the television series, and the movie before it, MASH.  At least that is the one everyone remembers.  One gets a very one-sided view of that conflict, though an appreciative one.  There was something akin to that going on during the Vietnam War, but no one really cares to discuss it.  “China Beach” tried, but, in my estimation, could not capture the milieu. 

Where does that leave us when it comes to having this book made into a movie?  I suspect that anyone with any sort of ego would hope that the world would appreciate what he/she has written and would want it displayed in any fashion that might get the message out.  On the other hand, realistically most books are just not movie material.  I feel that Longworth is material that could be made into a movie and, if it is, I think it should concentrate on character development.  While this can be considered a character-driven novel, it obviously has a story to tell as well.  The character of Carson Longworth would likely have developed along different lines had the Vietnam War and the 1960s not been the back drop.  For that reason, this coming of age story should be told if for no other reason than to explain how an absurd conflict, arguably the most absurd debacle we have ever had the displeasure of being engaged, can affect the body politic.  The main difference between the Vietnam War and the equally disastrous decision to engage our forces in Iraq was the draft.  Because we had the draft in place for Vietnam, young (usually) men/boys were being asked to fight for something of which they had only the barest understanding.  Very few wanted to go to Vietnam, but they had no choice.  That cost us 58,000 lives, to include my closest friend, for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  In the Middle East, where we find ourselves today, there is no draft.  It is an all volunteer force, thus most of the folks back home have little real contact with what is happening.  They are simply not engaged.  It does not affect their lives.  The one piece of good news is that the troops are being treated much better than those that fought in Vietnam.  They, unlike the troops in Vietnam, are not being blamed for every little thing.  Another difference between the two is that with the current conflict(s) we were actually attacked at home.  That gave the impetus for those poor folks who wanted to “do something for their country” to jump into the fray.  Unfortunately, it was usually those poor folks who had little else in their lives to recommend itself.  Bottom line:  If this is made into a movie, I would want the entire milieu to be exposed.  I would want a story about how the wide-eyed troops that fought in Vietnam were exposed to something for which most were unprepared………….and how it would affect most for the remainder of their lives.

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longworthPublisher: Outskirts Press (October 7, 2013)
Genre: Coming Of Age
ISBN-10: 1478702788
ISBN-13: 978-1478702788
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, The Book Depository


This is a coming of age story about a young man, Carson Longworth, who will come to discover he knows virtually nothing about what's happening in the world around him. In high school his life consists of music, dance, dating, and good times. Set in the 1960's early 1970's when the Vietnam War is beginning to heat up, Carson has not given a good deal of thought to anything beyond the here and now and much less to what is happening around him. Having grown up "under a lucky star", he just assumes that he merely needs to exist and good things will happen to him.

Carson wrestles with his personal demons and the general inanity of the world. When he leaves high school and attempts to tackle the world at large, though, he finds the relative freedom outside the cocoon somewhat more than he can handle. Carson's "relative world of plenty" and his historical insulation from the "real world" contributes to the perception that he is aloof. In reality, he just doesn't know how to relate to people. He has no childhood memories of any close friendships, as he found himself in a new place every few years. As such, his outlook on life has been shaped somewhat differently from his peers. This holds particularly true for his relationships with women. He simply had little idea how to relate to women in any meaningful manner until he met Kathy Wilkerson.

After high school, Carson spent two academically forgettable, but socially memorable, years in college. He was eventually drafted by the Army, but joined the Marine Corps, because he 'wanted to be a man', an experience that shaped him indelibly. His experiences in the Vietnam War helped create his antagonistic outlook. He could not come to terms with the intent of the war nor the manner in which it was being conducted. He found himself on the outside looking in. He became, contrary to most who join the Marine Corps, a liberal thinker and a skeptic who became increasingly frustrated with the inconsistencies that he observed in the conduct of his fellow man. He began, even while participating in the War, to question the intentions of his government and even those around him. He became very much a loner, as he simply could not understand what was happening nor could he reconcile the absurdities he witnessed.

While in the Marine Corps, traveling from one duty station to another, he spent a night in Little Rock, AR. He met a young woman who would remain at his side, even as he tried to "find himself". She would come and go in his life, but in the end, she would be the one who would capture his heart and provide "true love". She had, for him, the "essential ingredient" that he had not been able to find in any person, male or female, his entire life. They would both exert a major influence on each other's lives.

Carson would progress from a fanciful world of plenty to one of expected obedience, then to a position of constant questioning. As soon as Carson left the Marine Corps, he returned to college where he became an honor student, engaged in numerous causes, earned his PhD, then taught and wrote. He took it upon himself to instill the Socratic notion of constant questioning. He died a renowned author and lecturer. Those around him respected his formidable intellect, but were troubled by his sometimes commanding approach. One who was not, though, was Kathy Wilkerson … his future wife. This supports the notion that this is as much a love story as a coming of age drama.

Click HERE to read a sample chapter.

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jrussellJ. Russell Smith has spent a lifetime fighting for a sense of moral justice, on both a personal level and on a broader stage. His experiences in the Vietnam War and his graduate studies in intellectual history and political theory allow him to bring both an intimate perspective and a scholar’s analysis to the writing of Longworth. Smith is currently at work on his next two novels.

Website * Facebok * Twitter * Goodreads


post-divider rightGiveaway

1st Prize: Kindle Fire 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of Longworth
2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of Longworth
3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of Longworth


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  1. Hi Lori,

    On behalf of Rusty Smith and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting Rusty on Lori’s Reading Corner. If anyone has any questions and/or comments  they would like to Rusty answer, please leave them in the comment box. Rusty will be by later in the day to respond.

    Rusty is having a giveaway during his tour. 1st prize: Kindle Fire HD 7” WiFi 8GB Black plus ebook or paperback copy of Longworth; 2nd Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card and ebook or paperback copy of Longworth; 3rd Prize: ebook or paperback copy of Longworth. Click here to enter:

    Please join Rusty on Friday, November 13th for his guest posting on A Literary Vacation where he will share what inspired him to write Longworth.

    We invite your readers to follow Rusty’s 10 day virtual book blog tour. Direct links for each day of the tour can be found on Rusty’s Facebook page

    Best regards, Della

  2. Rusty Smith says:

    Thank you kindly, Lori, for hosting this blog. It is deeply appreciated. 


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