June 1, 2020
Representing a century’s defining decade
Just as the 1860s were a decade in our country where underlying contradictions exploded into open conflicts that would determine life and directions for the next hundred years, so the 1960s (1959-1973) were defining years, determining much in our society today. Here is a book that presents a group emerging from high school in that key decade and follows their lives over the next fifty years. The students seem typical of 1960s white middle-class schools in the country. Their intertwined stories of friendship, love and work involved and moved me.
As the author presents the group’s exciting struggles — both personal and social — struggles that stretch across continents, oceans, and years, we come to appreciate his understanding and compassion. The stories are riveting, and I am looking forward to more about this group. I see room for one or more sequels, particularly expanding the treatment of three aspects:
• the females – their interior conflicts and strivings
• the role of the two issues that mobilized the huge student protests of the 1960s: the anti-racism struggle and the war in Vietnam
• the central character – Marty – his emotions and inner battles.
Yes, we have gotten a taste of all three of these. But the vastness of the current novel still leaves room for more. (Recall the Russian proverb – appetite comes with eating.)
This is a memorable book — bringing us a group’s whole half-century through individual lives.
November 27, 2019
The most recent Szumanski novel,The Class of 1964 traces a group of high school kids from graduation to their 50th reunion. Along the way Szumanski skillfully weaves a plot to identify and ultimately catch a Nazi war criminal by forming a sub group some of whom had a connection with the war through their parents..The mixture of nostalgia,history and geography works well however the number of participants and their respective traits, idiosyncracies and business pursuits keeps the reader on his toes.
A very good read
February 12, 2020
The class of 1964 is a very engaging book!
Mike is a master in developing his characters they became a part of your life !
I would like to know ,what happens to them after the 50 class reunion….will Marty and Bina get together?
The research that went in to writing this book as well as Mikes knowledge of geography and history is very impressive! I love the way he tells his stories. This book it’s a great read i highly recommend !
May 14, 2020
Very attention capturing book that it is hard to put down.It triggered memory of many events in my own life.Highly recommended
January 15, 2020
Great story line
Loved this book!! Mike has a unique way of writing that really makes you feel like you KNOW the characters!! I loved the story line, and how he brought all the characters to life. Very good book!! Another success Mike!!
January 4, 2020
Mike’s new book, like all previous ones, is exhaustively researched, packed with facts, details and fascinating characters. His knowledge of history, geography and people is impressive. Classic study of peoples actions and perseverance. Real page turner .
June 7, 2020
Very interesting nostalgia
Followed a lot of interesting characters from high school through the years. Easy reading.
April 26, 2020
Jorgen Holm Pedersen
Catching and well told
Reading Mike Szumanskis book, ”The Class of 1964”, gives me flashbacks to my own Class of 1970. But I must admit, that my youth was much more safe and quiet than Marty’s, the main character. Mike is telling the reader a story through Marty, about dreams, love, hate and all the hope for the future that the post war generation carried with them, told in the shadow of the Vietnam War, Nazis still alive and parents who lived the World War Two. We are given a conglomerate of teenagers growing old, and each of them fighting their own way through life until they finally meet Again, 50 years later. Some of them have been following each other, and some will never come to the reunion because their life wasn’t long enough. But each of them following their own dreams, as any youngster, some of them destroying the dream because of their legacy from the past. And some fulfillng the dream.
December 11, 2019
At the risk of stating the usual cliche, I have to say that once you start this book, it is difficult to stop. This book takes us on a fascinating journey through the lives of people for 50 years , weaving back and forth in time, as Mike does an outstanding job of developing the characters so that we really feel like we know them , can relate to them and are invested in them. Like all wonderful journeys this one sadly comes to an end. Hopefully there will be a new journey for us from Mike in the near future.
November 21, 2019
“Class of 1964” is a great read by a great, knowledgeable author. Having worked with Mike Szumanski for many years, and also being of the Class of ‘64, I can relate to many of the occurrences in this superb novel. Mr. Szumanski is a world-wide traveler as told in his biography. The storyline is one that makes you feel that you actually know the characters. The fact that they all go their separate ways after graduation and manage to stay in touch is amazing! This is Mike’s 4th book and each has been a learning experience indeed!
December 6, 2019
This book is very well-written. The plot is exciting and engaging and I enjoyed following the lives of the class of 1964. The author captured the essence of that era. There is a lot of adventure among each character. It is a real page-turner! I finished the book in 2 days. Highly recommended!
New thriller juxtaposes international espionage with one man’s confrontation with the past
November 2007 – Denver, CO and McKinney, TX –The Immigrants is a complex novel about one man’s quest to come to terms with his own familial past, as he investigates a murder that quickly unfolds into a case of industrial and military espionage. Played out against the sights, sounds, and tastes of an Eastern Europe he knows so well, lawyer Adam Stepowski is pulled into a deadly cat-and-mouse game of altered identities, mixed motives, and far too many hit-and-run victims.
Adam Stepowski, a Polish émigré from Denmark, is an international sales manager for a mining and construction company in charge of foreign business negotiations. But when the company is sold, Adam, his wife and two children choose to move and begin life anew in Northern Virginia. There he decides to attend law school, and because he is a man with a talent for the culinary arts and a special appreciation for Eastern European cuisine, he also becomes a restaurateur. After graduation, Adam accepts an offer from one of his customers to become an investigative lawyer, working for a firm that specializes in criminal litigation involving foreign nationals, immigration cases and international disputes.
Adam is handed a murder case involving a beautiful Russian immigrant whose child has been kidnapped and who has been arrested in the strangulation death of her ex-husband. Tatiana Siemioshkina swears she is innocent and pleads with Adam to help her find her son. As Adam tries to uncover the truth, his search takes him to places that are intertwined with his own past, and soon his world is filled with painful reminiscences.
“He wondered what people felt when they lost close relatives. Not a parent who died a natural death at old age after a relatively happy life, but a young sister or brother, mother and father in their prime, favorite uncle or aunt who spoiled them, or a wife, a child, whose life was interrupted unexpectedly, violently and without a reason. Adam looked at the forest and sighed. Everybody from his parents’ generation had experienced such a loss. They didn’t talk much about it—didn’t talk about the feelings, just about the facts. Henryk Stepowski hadn’t cried when he was telling about that night in Lvov. Too much pain and danger had followed that night….”
For those unaware of the tragic plight of the Polish Jews, The Immigrants serves as an important history lesson. Through its pages we learn of the horrors of the treatment of Polish Jews during World War II, as well as the plight of the survivors and their children, such as Adam, who were forced by the Communist Poland into exile in the late 1960s. This leads to a parallel story within The Immigrants in which Adam finds himself also seeking to uncover the true identity of his mother-in-law’s tormentor from so many years ago—an ex-Nazi SS guard whose cruel ways continue unabated.
Played out against the vivid backdrops of Russia, Poland, the Ukraine, Denmark, Germany, and Argentina, The Immigrants is a well-spun novel that is as intriguing and suspenseful as it is sobering.
What a great story, so timely .
Mike Szumanski perfectly captures the world we live in.
His descriptions Of places and characters are wonderful .
The book involves you and it’s so hard to put down!
Can’t wait for the next one
Mike’s treatment of the Islamic issues confounding the Western world, in “The Siblings”, skilfully uses conversations with the younger generation (his son) to logically establish the folly of the jihad movement. May his message be universally acknowledged and accepted
Whether you are first time reader of Mike’s 3 books or a big fan , like me, you will be instantly captured into the story in The Siblings. The characters seem like very real people that you know or would want to know and hang out with. The story is very close to today’s events and the history and perspectives provided by the characters are insightful and thought provoking. Easy to read, hard to put down ND yet in some ways, have an element that is a bit disturbing, as sometimes hard to distinguish between the fiction of the book and the realities in today’s world. You gotta read it !
This third book in the Stepnoski series has an interesting plot that felt uncomfortably close to current events. A good history lesson from the author’s perspective was woven into the story. The story line and characters stand well on their own, but are even better if you have read the first two books in the series.
As a born Copenhagener having lived for 64 years in wonderful Copenhagen, with the Tivoli Garden as my backyard, and with the Paris killings in crystal clear memory, this book gives me a feeling of “it might as well happen here….”. Mike Szumanskis plot is stunningly close to real time, and the scenery of my home town and the beautiful Tivoli Garden is precise, and makes me check my back twice before I enter the subway train or a square where people are gathering. You never know what can happen.
J. H.- Pedersen
This was a good book. With its international terrorism storyline, it has a spy feel yet it stays close to the characters. You feel like you’re getting to know a real family who would rather not be mixed up in this. Thanks to the author’s own experiences, his own background, you get an interesting perspective. He puts a lot of himself into it. I enjoyed the writing style. He managed to keep this intimate. He shares a lot of his feelings and thoughts through inner monologues. It’s definitely meant to be a subjective piece. That can be a problem if you don’t question his opinion as being just this, an opinion on immigration from the Middle East, an opinion born from personal trauma. So I greatly appreciated the conversation with his son who has a completely different perspective. It made me want to do more research which is great. But the problem I have, what bothered me, is that it still fuels the fear-filled cliches about Middle Eastern Muslims. We have had ONE attack in the US, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, like most Muslim attacks, yet the US still bends over backward for them, and the Europeans don’t know what to do because it’s not one of those small, powerless, easy to bomb and invade country. Every other act of terrorism has still been non-Muslims. There are waves of terrorism in Europe. It’s not constantly growing. Considering the number of Muslims in Europe, that shows they want peace and quiet as a people, as a culture. They’re the first victims of fanatics in their countries of origin. The statement of their culture refusing progress is backward considering the number of times Europeans and Americans caused this step backward by deposing leaders, imposing leaders who allow them to steal the wealth, and making room for fanatic religious figures who, understandably, blame both Westerners (therefore having ground to reject Western culture and values), and corrupt puppet leaders. This is a convenient omission. I checked crime statistics in Denmark. It’s not becoming violent and dangerous. In fact, although there was a slight increase a few years back, it quickly went back down. I just don’t like that the book may fuel paranoia.
A very good read
May 26, 2016·
“The Siblings is a great story and so timely…… The characters are so real , the description of situation and places are wonderful . Thru his writings I easily become a part of the situation and places. Looking forward to the next story of Mike Szumanski,” –Shannon Braithwaite, shazbookmad