Saturday, March 18, 2017

Book Review---A Shadow at the Gate, by Don Bloch.

       I  have a book suggestion for those of you that would like a fun and fascinating read to take your mind off politics. It's "A Shadow at the Gate" by Don Bloch. Imagine growing up on a farm, as one of 18 children, in a Minnesota German Catholic immigrant ethnic enclave so insular that even after WWII, none of the adults ever speak English at home or to each other----even though they could. (They learned it in school, but refuse to use it). Imagine a group so fiercely Catholic that one farmer fears he will go to hell because he hired a non-catholic trucker to haul his hogs to market. Don grew up near Albany Minnesota, went to a one room school, and then was sent to a monastery high school and college/seminary to become a priest. But being unsure if he wants to give up the world, (Hell, he's never even seen the world) he bails out of the seminary to become a hobo, and with no money, he travels the country and lives with bums and hippies till he joins the Air Force to avoid being drafted. And he becomes a jet pilot. He writes masterfully, and every detail comes alive. The farm life----like, how do you stuff a prolapsed uterus back into a cow? The monastery----why do boys who want to become priests steal from each other? The life on the road with hobos----How do you learn the complicated craft of becoming a hobo, and using freight trains to get around? And flying jets----how do you you navigate when you are flying at tree top level at nearly the speed of sound? It is not great literature, but it's a real page turner. And it's a cheap paperback.

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