The first and definitive biography of one of the great American novelists of the postwar era, the author of Dog Soldiers and A Flag for Sunrise , and a penetrating critic of American power, innocence, and corruption Robert Stone (1937-2015), probably the only postwar American writer to draw favorable comparisons to Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, and Joseph Conrad, lived a life rich in adventure, achievement, and inner turmoil. He grew up rough on the streets of New York, the son of a mentally troubled single mother. After his Navy service in the fifties, which brought him to such locales as pre-Castro Havana, the Suez Crisis, and Antarctica, he studied writing at Stanford, where he met Ken Kesey and became a core member of the gang of Merry Pranksters. The publication of his superb New Orleans novel , Hall of Mirrors (1967), initiated a succession of dark-humored novels that investigated the American experience in Vietnam (Dog Soldiers , 1974, which won the National Book Award), Central America ( A Flag for Sunrise , 1981), and Jerusalem on the eve of the millennium ( Damascus Gate, 1998). An acclaimed novelist himself, Madison Smartt Bell was a close friend and longtime admirer of Robert Stone. His authorized and deeply researched biography is both intimate and objective, a rich and unsparing portrait of a complicated, charismatic, and haunted man and a sympathetic reading of his work that will help to secure Stone's place in the pantheon of major American writers.