Book Review by Dale Travous
Made to be Broken, novel, by Hugh Fritz, is a 3-D IMAX™ action blockbuster in print. A plausible reality is revealed to us, one that is covertly co-habitated by a race of humans with seemingly supernatural powers; the Jinn. We are briefed into the mechanics of the ' magical ' powers displayed by the Jinn ;their ability to transform matter ,as in the Bedouin folk stories where a sack of dates become a sack bursting with gold coins , Their habit of popping-in and then vanishing , conjuring up terrific storms from clear skies , and flying around taking you along for the ride. Mr Fritz sprinkles the story with bits and pieces of 'how-its-done', allowing me the reader to have fun linking together and assembling these bits into a hyper-realistic physical construction . The Supernatural gives way as it's made clear that the laws of Nature have remained inviolated.
There's a dramatic juxtaposition of the ancient Middle Eastern mythology with present day Chicago, the part of Chicago that one benefits from absolute avoidance, where you are in some serious danger just being there . But things get dangerouser as we're dropped into the fortress of an armed and semi wasted criminal gang syndicate led by a sociopathic dictater . Dangerouser still is the very well armed secret police death squad commanded over by an even eviler villan.
The pace of events picks up speed from the start with one action sequence segwaying into the next. I am astonished by Mr Fritz's literary description of scenes of all out mayhem, ultra detailed imagery to a molecular scale , choreographed movements flowing through variable time , a big heavy club in slow motion
It's difficult for me to not recallect this as a big budget special effects action spectacular. Or not to for-see the universe built on this framework. Merchandising alone...
Receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University, he focused on creative writing and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family. Working under his wife, Patricia, ten years ago they created a non-profit foundation, Dollar4Schools, which continues helping support Santa Fe public schools and its teachers.
An avid trekker and traveler to developing countries, French loves diving and snorkeling, and for the last decade began studying endangered marine and land mammals. He believes climate change is currently the world’s greatest long-term problem.
He and Patricia divide their time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor
im Breese is in many ways the textbook example of the successful inventor. In my new book Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor, I tell his story in a way that all of us can see something of ourselves in him. He came along in the golden age of American business and traditional industry, but there were many difficulties that we might overlook: two world wars, the great depression, the Spanish flue. So he didn’t just scoop up family money and invent. Life was never that easy.
Times of insight and creativity come and go with the ebb and flow of unexploited knowledge and with society’s sense of urgency for new solutions. Jim Breese came along during such a flow. He witnessed the introduction of automobiles, radios, washing machines, and penicillin. He dared to be the engineer on the first transatlantic flight. He brought low-cost and clean heating for people of all incomes.
Now we take for granted more recent inventions and developments including the internet, AI, cell phones, and self-driving electric cars. But there seem to be insurmountable challenges like climate change and devasting environmental destruction. There is an apocalyptic sense of the world running out of time. Many people feel a sense of “Why bother?”
People must see that the whole universe is available to them and that creativity has never been more important than now. Children should realize that there is an infinite future for them. Society’s failure is a failure to give them hope and encouragement.
Now is the time for the men and women who dream of things that never were. Their dreams are the starting points in great creations. The positive emotions of the challenge will cause the complexity and depth of the world’s problems to fade away. The one catch is that their dreams will have to answer to unmet realities.
It is time to turn America and the whole world into a nation of creators and inventors again and for the whole world to work together to deal with the many challenges and opportunities that are upon us. From garage inventors to multinational corporations we must make a fresh effort at creativity and innovation including using the vast new resources of the internet and the computer clouds. America and the whole world need to become more creative in all endeavors.
Jim Breese would heartily agree. He would hope that he has set a good example and has given entrepreneurs insights and knowledge they didn’t have before.
Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor is available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KS2Bx9.J
Ever listen to a discussion about how long we’ll be wearing masks in public, doing social distancing, or obeying periods of quarantine? We are certainly a pitiful people to have to suffer such trials and tribulations.
In July of 1942, Hitler double-crossed Stalin and launched his invasion of Russia with a three-prong attack. The top line of offense went north toward Leningrad, the middle line was pointed east towards Moscow, and the bottom line of offense headed for Stalingrad and the Crimea.
Romania, and the Ukraine. With a policy of focused racial hatred, Jews all over Eastern Europe were divested of their property, stripped of their rights, and driven into exile from towns where their families had lived for hundreds of years.
Now, with the goal of invading and occupying Russia, the rush of the Germany Army was accompanied by even more brutal persecution of Jews and other nationalities by the Gestapo. Jewish settlements were devastated, whole populations of towns were captured and carried off to concentration camps or extermination camps, and many people were slaughtered where they lived.
A town near the Ukraine/Romania border, named Korolowka, was in the path of Hitler’s war machine and the Jews living there fled into larger cities or into hiding places scattered around the countryside. In the fall of 1942, a number of families committed to remain together and sought out a nearby underground cave system, a well-known location named Verteba, where they would crawl deep into the caves and hide for the winter when Verteba was closed to the public. In the spring, they would search for another hiding place.
With members of the families periodically stealing out to bring back sacks of potatoes, grain, flour, kerosene, matches, candles, water, and whatever else they could pilfer or buy on the black market, it was a constant state of survival for the thirty or so Jews.
They hid in the darkness of the cave system for about 150 days.
In the spring of 1943, a few members were discovered and captured by the Gestapo. Those remaining in the cave escaped by way of a secret outlet they had dug during their confinement. Temporarily hiding in the attic of their old houses, in barns, or in other refuges in town, they were eventually led by a hunter to a sinkhole that formed the entrance to another cave system, locally called The Priest’s Grotto because it lay in the field of a local priest. It was not a publicly known or used cave system; later it would be determined to be the ninth largest cave system in the world.
But it was not spacious and roomy like a Carlsbad Caverns. It was a labyrinth of narrow passageways wandering throughout a hollowed-out layer of limestone. However, the Jews discovered small sinks of water formed by internal springs, as well as circulating air currents that allowed small fires to be lit for cooking. It was quite an improvement over Verteba.
Again expecting members of the families to periodically sneak out to find food, firewood, blankets, and other necessities, Esther and Zeida Stermer, their six children, four relatives, and twenty-six other Jews, on May 5, 1943, fled to the Priest’s Grotto to escape the certainty of the horrors of the Gestapo, the Russians, and the Ukranian police.
Feeling their way down in the darkness, the families lowered themselves through the narrow opening to the chambers below. It would be the last time for many of them to see the sky for nearly a year.
In fact, the majority of that community would live in hiding for 344 days.
Seventy feet below the surface, in total darkness, at a constant temperature of fifty degrees, these thirty-eight individuals lived in a state of near hibernation. They could not tell day from night and their bodies adjusted until they slept eighteen to twenty-two hours at a time, lying on wooden planks scavenged from above, and stayed awake only to perform the very basic needs of survival – cooking, eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, and trying to make their situation more tolerable.
The youngest girl was three; several women were elderly.
Close to a year after they had descended, a message dropped in a bottle down the entrance shaft by a friend, the thirty-eight survivors learned that the Germans had left for good, and, on April 12, 1944, each of them made the arduous climb out the entrance – jaundiced, weak, their skin covered in mud, about two-thirds of their entry weight, blinded by the sun.
They were no longer interested in returning to their town. They made their way through temporary refugee camps in Germany, then fled to the United States. Some of them and their children now live in New York City, Florida, and Canada. To hear more of the details of their story and to read the reasons that they gave for their ability to have survived such a remarkable situation, read The Secret of Priest’s Grotto, by Peter Lane Taylor with Christos Nicola.
Perhaps instead of talking about our extraordinary troubles, we should talk about our opportunities to show extraordinary courage.
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