ABOUT THE BOOK
"Say what you will, but spirit of place takes a more important role in the affairs of humans than most people seem willing to acknowledge. Whether in an old house, an empty theater, a cemetery, or upon the ground of some past conflict, a tangible energy haunts such places, and it can attach itself to a visitor from the present..."
With yet unhealed wounds from recent combat in SE Asia, John Moore undertook an unexpected walking tour in the rugged Scottish highlands. With the approach of a season of freezing rainstorms he took shelter in a remote monastery—a chance encounter that would change his future, his beliefs about blind chance, and the unexpected courses by which the best in human nature can smuggle its way into the life of a stranger. He did not anticipate the brotherhood's easy hospitality or the surprising variety of personalities and guarded backgrounds that soon emerged through their silent community.
Afterwards, a chance conversation overheard in a village pub steered him to Canada, where he took a job as a rock drill operator in a large industrial gold mine. The dangers he encountered among the lost men in that dangerous other world, secretive men who sought permanent anonymity in the perils of work deep underground--a brutal kind of monasticism itself—challenged both his endurance and his sense of humanity.
With sensitivity and delightful good humor, Moore explores the surprising lessons learned in these strangely rich fraternities of forgotten men—a brotherhood housed in crumbling medieval masonry, and one shared in the unforgiving depths of the gold mine.
This engaging adventure of discovery is full of surprises, leaving the reader torn between the call to adventure that lives at the heart of human nature and gratitude for the safe embrace of the easy chair that affords the luxury of living vicariously.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela. His parents were both from old southern families in Virginia and South Carolina. He spent a great deal of time on weekends sailing and crewing on the big ocean racing yachts. This grew into being invited to crew in the America's Cup a few times, both as tune-up crew and race crew. John attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a BA in Philosophy at a time when the Vietnam draft was in effect. He enlisted in the Army Special Forces, the Green Beret. After two years of intense training he was sent to Vietnam to be involved in a highly secret operation financed and run by the CIA.
“My situation was greatly complicated by the fact that our base camp was overrun my first night in it. At the beginning of the fire fight, we had about 125 Americans in the compound and some 300 Chinese mercenaries called Nungs. At daybreak I was one of some 20 Americans left alive and had been wounded multiple times during the night, and there were about 112 Chinese alive.” This was the greatest single-engagement loss of Special Forces troops suffered by the USA in the whole war. John headed numerous subsequent operations deep into Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam before being released from duty with yet another painful wound in his hip. He received a Distinguished Service Cross, 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 3 Purple Hearts, and 4 or 5 other service and conduct medals. These experiences have been masterfully described in John’s Vietnam memoir called “Hostage of Paradox”, published by Bettie Youngs Books.
Recovering from his wounds, John spent some time in England where his parents were living at the time. Looking for something interesting to do he decided to participate in the restoration of the Hadrian’s Wall built by the ancient Romans in northern Scotland. During an ice storm he took shelter in a local monastery. That place and the interesting characters in it proved to be such a retreat from his bad memories that he stayed there for several months. From there he went to Canada and took a job as a rock drill operator in a large industrial gold mine near Timmons, another place with a rich crop of oddballs and interesting men. John Rixey Moore’s memoir of the monastery and the mine, “Company of Stone” is also published by Bettie Youngs Books and it serves as a sequel to the Vietnam book.
John has been a member of the U.S.A. Bobsled team and has competed in some 12 or 13 World Cup competitions. He is an accomplished pilot. (I have had the pleasure to fly with him cross country several times on his private airplane). He is also a very knowledgeable antique arms collector. John’s career as an actor has been quite intense and prolific involving him in hundreds of commercials as well as leading roles for TV series such as "One Life to Live" in NYC and “Falcon Crest” here in Hollywood. His intimate relationship with acting and writing has led in turn to on-site filming in the crop circles of England as well as personal interviews with a microbiologist whose work at Area 51 included taking live tissue samples from a living captive ET.
"I loved this book, and highly recommend it to folks who want to read a memoir of what one young man did immediately after his war in Vietnam, and I look forward to the next volume in Moore’s series. His book being Hostages of Paradox, also a great read. John Rixey Moore is totally his own man, but occasionally this work reminded me of Tom Robbins and Carlos Castaneda. Those comparisons are intended as a great compliment."—David Willson, Book Reviewer, American Association of Vietnam Vets
“I loved the book, and highly recommend it to folks who want to read a memoir of what one young man did immediately after his war in Vietnam, and I look forward to the next volume in Moore’s series. . . . John Rixey Moore is totally his own man, but occasionally this work reminded me of Tom Robbins and Carlos Castaneda. Those comparisons are intended as a great compliment.” —David Willson, Book Reviewer, The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
“Bucket list? Bucket list this! This book will leave you torn between the call to adventure that lives at the heart of human nature, and gratitude for the safe embrace of the easy chair that affords the luxury of living vicariously. You will find gold in these pages.” —Clif Potts, actor, China Beach
“This engaging adventure of discovery is full of insight, revelations, and surprises.”—Gary Chafetz, author of The Search for the Lost Army: The National Geographic and Harvard University Expedition