Summary of the Novel
Post-Traumatic Stress and an Interview with the Author
Sample Chapters
Comments from Readers
Coming Attractions
Leave a Note
How to Buy
Children of CIA and Secret Service Operatives
The Dead are Dancing, a novel by William Lloyd Roller
Summary of the Novel

There's trouble brewing in America's heartland. Traditional patriotic values have taken firm root in the community of Cannon, Illinois. That's putting it mildly. The citizens unanimously send their sons off to war to kill and die for the greater glory of town and country. But Billy Richcreek knows something is way off course with everyone's insane focus on killing. And he can't just be dismissed as a nonconformist oddball. Young Billy is the star athlete on the high school football team. Above all others in his generation, he is the mayor's hope for a proud symbol of Cannon's willingness to fight. When the Vietnam war heats up in the 60s, Billy stands almost alone against it. Billy faces a dilemma as town hero: Does he keep to himself his reservations about what his town and country are doing? Or does he risk being called unpatriotic because he speaks his conscience and questions the course of American foreign policy? Not only will he not go, he does all in his power to persuade others to resist a war that a vision has told him is unwinnable. He angers the town and puzzles the beautiful Belle Beaulieu, who loves him but can't seduce him. Billy has vowed to remain a virgin until he rids America of the communist threat. And, he's already mated — to his German Luger.

His best friend, Frank Beckwith, feels betrayed because Billy had promised to join the Marines with him on the buddy plan. Frank marches off to war in a grand parade amid much fanfare and political, patriotic bombast. But he's returned in four months. He's judged to be severely deranged because he tells true stories of American losses in the war, and the people of Cannon refuse to believe him. Only Billy believes his stories. Billy's struggle to save Frank and the children of Cannon leads inexorably to disaster.

The Dead Are Dancing is a satire of the cold war but its message is timeless. It cautions us to watch out: unbridled patriotism leads to the self destruction of our cities and our sons and daughters.