The Serpent Papers
Quick Overview :
Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-57962-648-8
J-Bee, son of a military officer, is raised in a violent milieu during the 1960s. After his little brother is persecuted by bullies, J-Bee commits a retaliatory act of brutality, the nature of which scars him. When his best friend, Gilly, volunteers to fight in Vietnam, J-Bee--repulsed by his own violence--refuses to follow either his father or Gilly into the military. Instead, he matriculates at Columbia in 1971, an era of counterculture, drugs and sex and rock 'n roll, in order to seek his redemption. While there, he is introduced to the mysterious Serpent who recites in the campus café, and to the politically active Margo who schools him in anti-war politics and the virtues of peace. Although he feels loyalty to his best friend fighting overseas, he increasingly sympathizes with Margo's rationale against the war. Torn between supporting the war or protesting against it, J-Bee's paradoxical feelings are ignited when his friend Gilly, on furlough from Vietnam, visits him at Columbia. With ratcheting tensions and bullhorns leading students in protest, pro-war and anti-war factions collide in campus riots, and J-Bee makes the choice that defines his life.
Jeff Schnader was at Columbia University in 1972 where he participated in sit-ins, marches and protests against the Vietnam War. He took part in demonstrations in front of Hamilton Hall where students were beaten by the N.Y. Tactical Police Force in full battle regalia. Such was the genesis for The Serpent Papers. He graduated from Columbia University and received his medical degree from McGill University with further work at Johns Hopkins. A Professor of Medicine, he has authored over 50 scientific publications, chaired national medical panels, was a frequent guest on NPR and has been recognized with awards for teaching and for editing a medical journal.
He has worked in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for 22 years, serving the needs of American War Veterans, including those of The Vietnam War. His short story, “The Champion,” won first prize in the 2020 Annual Quills Contest, and he was a short-listed finalist in the 2021 Blue Moon Novel Competition. This is his first full length novel.