James (Jim) Milton Smith's new manuscript - The Fourth Pillar - is a story about the secret war in Laos. This piece of history is still considered "Classified" and written as fiction. Our Government conducted the war in Laos and it still remains virtually unknown to the American public.
The story is about a veteran coming to grips with his war torn memories. His psychiatrist begins the arduous process of getting him to open up upon his return to civilian life. The story will leave the reader engrossed in combat missions, counseling sessions and stunned by an unexpected and improbable ending that left the bystanders stunned.
Good Will Hunting, The Thin Red Line, and All Quiet on the Western Front will come to mind with Owen O'Brien's counseling and the realization of the futility of wars, especially preemptive secret wars. The hard lessons he endured from his confusing patriotism with bad foreign policy that initiates clandestine war, became his cross to bear. Many such preemptive wars of which our government foreign policy has endorsed since the Korean War. Over sixty years of misguided foreign policy have continued to harm our service people and international neighbors alike. Our actions and policy have shown no intention of staying in place to build the countries we as a nation have torn down.
The following is a review of The Fourth Pillar by four time Emmy Award winner Terry Irving.
The Fourth Pillar.
First, James Milton Smith is very much the Real Deal. He gets both essemtoa; of writing about war; riveting descriptions of the fear, joy, terror, and exhaustion of real combat and the years of internal battle with the “invisible wounds” that all of those who have truly been on the front lines. His writing was wonderful and my job, as editor, was like that of an archeologist—clearing away the undergrowth. Once that was done, there were vivid descriptions, crisp dialog, and a wonderful sense of humor. Sort of an Angkor Wat of a book. Again, the sequences where he opened his veins and described the painful process of coming to terms with PTSD, there is an honest and wonderfully human story of the “push pull” process of seeking help when all his conditioning fights against it.
There is another way that Jim is the real deal. Sure, this is a novel (wink wink) but I’m here to say that this man knows way too much about the CIA-led Secret War in Laos--a conflict that the US Government still continues to deny ever occurred—for this to be considered Fiction. I have to assume that Someone is still out there trying to keep this secret and mandated the label of “fiction.” This is about as fictional as an After-Action
Report and a hell of a lot more interesting. From the fleshpots of Thailand, to the ludicrous “secrecy” of a war everyone but the American public knew was being fought, to the Hmong and Thai soldiers he fought alongside, to the horror and misery of killing his fellow men; Jim has nailed this story.
With all that, it’s not a simplistic diary of one man’s time in combat, it’s a meditation on the meaning of life and death (particularly when death is a matter of centimeters and a Ka-Bar knife) the constant process of thought, meditation, and reconsideration that Jim has gone through, and the sharp intelligence that flashes through on every page.
All that and a surprise ending.
It was an honor to work on this book and I would like the reader to understand that “The Fourth Pillar” is very much the work of James Milton Smith alone.
Four Time Emmy Award-Winning TV journalist
A screenplay for The Fourth Pillar is available as well.
Along with his novels, Jim has completed eight manuscripts of prose and poems that will be published in 2016 and 2017.
Jim Smith has published four books of poetry. Clumsy Love - expresses humorous and thoughtful observations on love, romance and relationships – from a man’s point of view. If you enjoy thoughtful and at times, tongue in cheek humor you will find Clumsy Love enjoyable.
Whose Nature? Yours, Mine, Its? and Second Nature – Yours, Mine, Its? are a collections of poems inspired by James’ outdoor experiences in the Pacific Northwest and his nefarious travels around the world. Places such as Nepal, South America, Asia and Europe to name but a few of his world wide peregrinations.
Jim has completed a haiku collection titled - Stone Deaf Sound Waves - which embodies his appreciation of the Orient and the joining of the Western mind into these subtle haiku expressions.
A graduate of Cal Poly and Thunderbird School of Global Management, Jim, is a former Marine, entrepreneur, and international businessman. A good part of his professional life was spent overseas living in Europe and South America. He has traveled extensively in the Orient as well.
Jim lives in the mountains of Oregon where he is writing a novel about accomplished characters who are left wondering in their middle age years about the choices they made that ultimately lead them to meet, and together to attempt ----- ?. More to come...
At the moment, Jim is deciding on representation, marketing and placement of his books and screenplay.