Peace and War: American Stories by Thomas Miller

Peace and War is many things. It’s Americana set against a backdrop of what the Military Industrial Complex and too much money in the hands of too few people has done to America and Americans. Comic, tragic, dark, light, funny and serious, it’s about family. It’s about life. And death. It’s about fishing and friendship and baseball and racism and celebrity and academia and the natural world. It chronicles where we have been and wonders where we may be going.

It’s thirteen stories follow the wayfarer, Frank, from his birth during WWII to the turning of the 20th century. The stories begin in Texas where his father is working as an engineer, designing bombers that will help defeat Nazi Germany, an occupation that will cause him to be shunned by people he thought were his friends when he returns to his home in the Midwest. Frank’s father and mother build a house there that is to be their paradise away from the woes of the world, and it turns out to be the opposite. Frank comes to know his grandfather, Charlie, who remembers the end of the American Civil War, and his grandmother, Mary, who is a confirmed teetotaler and believes that everyone else should be too. Frank and his father, Phil, get to know each other by fishing together, first in the backwaters of the Illinois River in Illinois and later in the backwaters of the St Johns River in central Florida where they meet the incomparable Stonewall Jackson, and Frank gets his first look at racism. Frank and his mother, Jessie, get to know each other by following the Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers together, as their team struggles to win a World Series from the Yankees.

Frank travels on through high school where he has his heart broken by the father of his first serious girlfriend and meets Dennis Yellen, a bright boy from the wrong side of the tracks with whom he forms a close friendship that lasts a quarter of a century then ends abruptly and perhaps unnecessarily. In university Frank studies architecture, wins a summer fellowship to work and study in New York and sees that his chosen profession may not be so glamorous as he has been led to believe. After university he, like the rest of his generation, must decide whether to fight, and possibly die, in the Vietnam War, a war that seems unnecessary to many Americans. Frank’s wanderings take him to San Francisco in the late 60s where he is immersed in the counterculture and the anti-war movement and studies at the University of California at Berkeley where he sees the contradictions and corruptions of academia. The last of the stories follow Frank into the American Southwest where he photographs the Colorado Plateau, has a close call in a slot canyon, and learns about Geronimo from an Apache woman.

Desert Skin

A book of classic black and white photos of the Colorado Plateau in the high desert of the American Southwest, many taken from the air as part of a wilderness documentation project in Utah. Includes a foreword by the late Edward Abbey.

Paperback: 97 pages
Publisher: Univ of Utah Pr (1995)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0874804607
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 10.2 inches

African Queens: Portraits of West African Tribal Women

From 1982 to the present, Thomas Miller has been a fine art photographer. Miller has taught courses at various colleges and universities, including Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Mount Hood Community College and Nkumba University, Entebbe, Uganda. See his online photo portfolio at