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Denis Johnson

About an author

Jonathan Suszynski

on 1 July 2013

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Transcript of Denis Johnson

By: Lani Pascasio, Jenny Su,
Jonathan Suszynski, Hanford Shieh
... And Stan Lee Lee

Denis Johnson
Born in Munich, Germany, July 1, 1949
Father worked in the State Department
Moved to the Phillipines, Japan, and eventually Washington D.C.
Started substance abuse at age 14.
Abused alcohol (rum)
Earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree of University if Iowa
First published work: The Man Among The Seals (1969; 20 years old)
Evolved from drinking to heroin:
Influenced his best seller Jesus' Son (1999)
Protagonists drug of choice
During first marraige: hospitalized 3 times as a result of his alcoholism
Said he didn't take care of his alcoholism because it would affect his creativity
Developed Malaria (1988)
Hit by a second divorce and tax bill from IRS
Middle Life
Previously published works admired by cognoscenti but failed to gain public attention
Jesus' son published in 1999
First best seller
Published the widely acclaimed award winning book Tree of Smoke in 2007
Continued adventure journalism to very violent places: Iraq (Desert Storm), Liberia (civil war)
Later Life
Tree of Smoke
Birth - Early Life
Dennis Johnson born (1949)
Color T.V.
McDonalds Corp. founded
Sputnik launched
NASA founded
Britain sponsors exhibition to search for abominable snowman
Berlin Wall built
Cuban missile crisis
Buddhist Monk sets himself on fire
JFK assassinated
Italy asks for help stabilizing the Leaning Tower of Pisa
U.S. sends troops to Vietnam
Mass draft protests
My Lai Massacre
Tet offensive
Man on the moon!
Watergate scandal begins
U.S. pulls out of Vietnam
Nixon resigns
Microsoft founded
North and South Vietnam come together to form Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Star Wars movies released
John Paul II becomes pope
Iran takes American hostages
New Plague: AIDS
Personal Computers introduced by IMB
Vietnam War memorial opens
Reagan announces SDI (Star Wars defense)
Gorbachev calls for Glasnost and Perestroika
Challenger explodes
Iran Contra Scandal
Tienanmen Square
Pres. Bush announces he doesn't like broccoli
Hubble telescope
Operation Desert Storm
End of Cold War
Internet explodes
Hong Kong returned to China
Cloned a sheep!
The Euro is introduced
Mapping human genome
Major Theme: Lost (relationships, loyalty, and civility).
Set in Vietnam, Philippines, Jungle in Southeast Asia, the States
Deals with the struggles of Vietnam from a first person view William Sands telling the stories of mainly his uncle Colonel Sands.
Investigates conflict, one of his favorite topics.
Major Characters: Colonel Francis Sands, William Sands, the Houston Brothers.
Poetry collections

The Man Among the Seals: Poems (Stone Wall Press, 1969)
Inner Weather (Graywolf Press, 1976)
The Incognito Lounge (Random House, 1982)
The Veil (Knopf, 1987)
The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New (HarperCollins, 1995)


Train Dreams (2002, reprinted 2011)


Angels (1983)
Fiskadoro (1985)
The Stars at Noon (1986)
Resuscitation of a Hanged Man (1991)
Already Dead: A California Gothic (1998)
The Name of the World (2000)
Train Dreams (2002)
Tree of Smoke (2007)
Nobody Move (2009)

Short story collection

Jesus' Son (1992)


Hellhound on My Trail: A Drama in Three Parts (2000)
Shoppers: Two Plays (2002)
Soul of a Whore and Purvis: Two Plays in Verse (2012)


The Prom (1990) (Directed by Steven Shainberg)
Full transcript