Dean Metcalf is the author of RATTLESNAKE DREAMS: An American Warrior’s Story, and a world-traveling journalist whose articles were distributed by Pacific News Service, San Francisco. His work has appeared in publications such as Denver Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice, South Africa Weekly Mail, Oakland (CA) Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and San Francisco Review of Books.
Metcalf grew up in the Pacific Northwest, graduating from Klamath Falls (OR) Union High School in 1961. He began his college education at Oregon State University, studying engineering for a year, and then joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a radio operator. As a marine, Metcalf began his enlistment in California, then was stationed in Okinawa, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea. He finished his 4-year hitch with an 11-month tour in Vietnam.
After completing his military service, Metcalf resumed his studies at Colorado College, where he studied philosophy and political science. He graduated cum laude; Woodrow Wilson Fellow, in 1969. Later that same summer, Metcalf traveled to the USSR for advanced Russian language study at Leningrad Polytechnical Institute. He did graduate study in History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary doctoral program in the humanities, University of California at Santa Cruz, and advanced to doctoral candidacy, 1972.
If you ask Metcalf to outline his work history, he’ll give you a list that includes martial arts instructor, commercial fisherman, ranch work, vacuum cleaner repair, busboy, furniture mover, dishwasher, and graduate teaching assistant in political philosophy. Metcalf is a journeyman carpenter, and worked as a building contractor for many years. It may be that his diverse background has contributed to his can-do approach to life and writing; it is certainly reflected in his stories from the Far East, Middle East, and South America, but as the title of his memoir suggests, his service with the U.S. Marine Corps became the foundation for a body of work dedicated to understanding war and peace.
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