Today we have a very adventurous and talented author, stopping by to tell us about his debut book, as he tours with Partners In Crime Tours. So please help me welcome Jeremy to the CMash blog.
ABOUT JEREMY BURNS
An avid reader since the age of three, Jeremy Burns was devouring novels by the time other children his age were still learning their ABCs. Blessed (and, at times, cursed) with a decidedly active imagination and an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything, Jeremy made learning and storytelling two of his chief passions. After earning his degree in History from Florida State University, Jeremy accepted a position teaching literature, creative writing, political science, and philosophy at an international school in Dubai. Like the characters in his books, Jeremy is an intrepid explorer whose own adventures have taken him from Mayan ruins in the Yucatan to the pyramids of Egypt, from medieval castles across Europe to the jungles of Bangladesh, and beyond. To date, Jeremy has traveled to more than twenty countries across four continents, seeking adventure, discovery, and ideas for future novels. When not exploring a new corner of the globe, Jeremy lives in Florida, where he is working on his next thrilling novel.
Happy Birthday, Hitler
By Jeremy Burns
Adolf Hitler was a very bad man. Today marks the 123rd anniversary of his birth, and, excepting staunch neo-Nazis and vehement anti-Semites, there really is very little debate on this point. Few individuals in recent history (or indeed, in any period of history) are viewed as universally negatively as Adolf Hitler. What historians do debate, however, is whether Hitler was himself the architect of his own evil rise to power or whether he was a product of a certain volatile climate in which the rise of a man such as Hitler was inevitable.
An oft-asked question by people today is how on earth a country as traditionally logical and grounded as Germany would go along with what, to our retrospective minds, seems to be a series of insane and wholly immoral ventures. The answer is twofold: pride and fear.
In the period between the First World War and Hitler’s assuming control of what would become the Third Reich, Germany was consumed with a strong nationalistic pride, with popular myths hearkening back to a gilded age in which she was the dominant force in Europe in both cultural prowess and military might. These myths stood in stark contrast to the very real problems that ravaged the people on a regular basis: national humiliation on a global stage following the end of World War I, a revolving door of incompetent and corrupt leaders, and mass poverty spurred, among other factors, by hyperinflation. The Germany the people lived in was nothing like the Germany they were sure had once been.
One of the main groups blamed for this dysfunctional version of Germany was the Jewish people. Occupying many positions of cultural, academic, and financial influence, the Jews made a viable scapegoat as they had in Europe many times before. It was said that foreign influence, particularly that of the Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and other groups of eastern European descent, were the cause of this rift between the Germany that should have been and the Germany that actually was. It was because of the Jews and foreigners living among them that the unstoppable German war machine had ground to a halt. It was because of the Jews that the proud German nation was humbled at Versailles. It was because of the Jews that the ideals of German culture, innovation, and industry were corrupted and cast asunder. German leaders were viewed as weak-minded puppets for foreign powers that sought to destroy all that the German people held dear. Fear of these treasonous conspirators and their plots to bring the German nation down from within was another of the key elements that fostered the atmosphere of the day.
Into this volatile climate was born the National Socialist German Worker’s Party – later shortened to National Socialists and then simply to the Nazis. Originally a small and insignificant group of political upstarts in Bavaria, they got their boost from a frustrated Austrian painter and decorated military veteran named Adolf Hitler. Hitler would soon use his powerful oratory skills and personal presence to give life to a twisted and grandiose vision welcomed and shared, in many regards, by much of the German populace of the time.
In Germany as in America, there was a clash of extreme ideas at the time. The Great Depression cast both nations, as with most of the western world, into turmoil, proving to the minds of most that the old ways simply didn’t work. Change was needed. Radical change, many believed, because the failure of the old systems was so radical. Extreme right-wing and left-wing movements sprang up across western world, each offering their answers to the problems that plagued their modern world. Communism and Fascism were at war long before Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Their battlegrounds were the streets of Berlin and Washington, New York and Munich. The prize: the preservation or destruction of all that one way of life or another held sacred.
The year is 1932. You are not a time traveler. You do not have the hindsight that the passage of time gives us. You do not know what will transpire in this war between extreme left and extreme right. Both appear to be hulking behemoths that would smash the old order and usher in something new and terrifying. You have the means and opportunity to do something to influence the outcome of this war of ideals. What would you do? How would you choose which side to take?
What if one man did have that opportunity? What if John D. Rockefeller, Jr., scion of the vast Rockefeller empire and one of the richest and most influential men of the last few centuries, had been presented with this choice? And what if he chose very, very wrongly?
This dilemma and its aftermath provide the historical backdrop for my hit thriller FROM THE ASHES, an action-packed novel that poses the above question and answers it in a chillingly plausible manner. In my study of history, the official version of events rarely conveys all the underlying conflicts and tensions, the shadow wars and the buried secrets… in short, the sordid controversies and dark conspiracies that grease the wheels of progress. The rise of an obscure washed-up artist to the commander of the greatest military machine the world had ever seen may well have been the product of his time. He may have been simply an evil genius who seized upon the zeitgeist of the day to fulfill his deranged fantasies. Or, perhaps, there’s still more of the story to be told.
Today, on a date that’s become associated with the Columbine massacre and college kids getting high, Adolf Hitler would have been 123 years old. Despite all the horrors Hitler unleashed upon the world, he did leave us some good things: a universal enemy that even today remains the quintessential embodiment of evil, an opportunity for American industry to get its economic footing back and establish itself as a world power (and counterbalance to the Soviet Union), and more than a few shocking and mysterious secrets buried in the closets of the Third Reich. So, happy birthday, Hitler. May you rot in Hell.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Graduate students Jonathan and Michael Rickner, sons of eminent archeologist Sir William Rickner, are no strangers to historical secrets and archeological adventures. But when Michael is discovered dead in his Washington, D.C. apartment, Jon refuses to believe the official ruling of suicide. Digging deeper into his brother’s work, he discovers evidence that Michael was murdered to keep his dissertation research buried. Joined by Michael’s fiancée Mara Ellison, Jon travels to New York where he uncovers the threads of a deadly Depression-era conspiracy – one entangling the Hoover Administration, the Rockefellers, and the rise of Nazi Germany – and the elite cadre of assassins that still guard its unspeakable secret. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of the same men who killed Michael, Jon and Mara must navigate a complex web of historical cover-ups and modern-day subterfuge, outwitting and outrunning their all-powerful pursuers as they race through a labyrinthine treasure hunt through the monuments and museums of Manhattan to discover the last secret of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before their enemies can bury the truth – and them – forever.
Purchase Links: Amazon ; Barnes And Noble
Publisher: Fiction Studio Books
Pub Date: January 17,2012
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