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Crossroads: 1969 (Cassell Faction Trilogy) Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

1969 is long gone. Like the year before and year after it, however, all of us who experienced it as young adults remember it as a significant time, both in our personal lives and the life of our nation.

But memories, as I know only too well, tend to be tricky ... backfilling as the years go by... erasing the individual who really stood there, replacing him with a younger but just as sophisticated version of the person doing the remembering.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I wrote it all down the year I was discharged from the service, before it all was lost. The 1969 section of that manuscript, the part that had been missing for years, was discovered in an old box this past January as my wife and I braced for a hurricane hours away from the small South Pacific island on which we live.

As the hurricane hit and the power failed, I read it by kerosene lamp, utterly amazed at how naive,unsophisticated, opinionated,cocksure, frightened, foolish, and, yes, joyful, I really was back then.

History can be very embarrassing, but it has a value and significance all its own, particularly for a parent trying to understand his own children's outlooks and issues as they cope with their late teens and early young adulthood.

My loved ones, the people who brought me up, died much too early in my life to allow me to ever get an up close and personal feel for the times in which they lived and their struggle as young people to make some sense of them.

By contrast, Crossroads is a fact and detail-rich account of the way it was,in the Year of Our Lord 1969, when young John Cassell, always amodel of responsibility and ambition, yet inevitably both hobbled and advantaged by the realities of his childhood, stands at the brink ofgraduation from the college he has struggled so hard to get to, and get through.

Yet as those who `were there' well remember, this was a time of great turbulence for America and the world. A combination of movements and events which had been building for decades came together from 1967 onward to send this nation as close to the brink of all out revolution as it would ever get, and plunged the younger generation, my generation, into an all out war with its elders and their values.

Though about as straight-laced and suspicious of mass movements and those who exploit them as one could be, John shares in many, and experiences all, of the ideas and circumstances that catapults his generation onto an entirely different road. He finds himself having some decisions to make, decisions no longer guided by the old imperatives.

This is the story of that year, and those decisions. That our generation has, in the intervening years, become so stodgy and anxious to forget those times, and so acquiescent in bringing about today's government-controlled society, is but a testament to just how wild and upside down things really were for those brief moments in our history.

It is to those moments, and those that shared and shaped them with me, that this book is humbly dedicated.

John W. Cassell

Nu'uuli, American Samoa

November 28, 2004

From the Back Cover

John W. Cassell traveled to Europe in search of America and to understand this it helps to be a Child of the 60s -though in a sense we are all Children of the 60s since the art, the music, the literature and even the politics of that era, all of it is still very much alive. In "Crossroads: 1969," Cassell' uses a bio-novel technique to recover the past - the second half the 1960s and into the 1970s - and the result is a masterful rendering of an era.

In trying to find America, through the backroads and the highways of Europe, Cassell was obviously trying to find himself as well, and this no one ever achieves, something nearing perfection, but it's the pursuit itself that makes for an exhilarating adventure; in this case, Cassell's adventure, wherein he introduces us to new landscapes and new people, and we never know, until we turn the page, who might be waiting for him around the next corner.

Cassell writes it straight and his most noticeable skill is in his ability to take us with him wherever he goes. We're with him when a friend turns into an enemy and we're with him when strangers turn into friends and we're with him when at any moment he could be arrested by the French police or the Spanish police - or the dreaded ESTABLISHMENT.

Cassell doesn't lecture or pontificate. He only observes and lets us, his readers, arrive at the conclusions. That's what we call good writing, and as so often happens in this bio-novel - great writing. There are so many nuggets to choose from here, but Cassell pretty much puts his finger on what the 1960s were all about when he writes: "The future was certainly ours - there was nothing but time. Yet there was not a moment to lose."

His greatest achievement, though, as far as this reviewer is concerned, is in reminding us that once upon a time we were young. Once upon a time everything was possible.

Maybe such a time will come round again.

Bravo, John W. Cassell! ---------Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard's latest novel, "The Bathsheba Deadline," is now available in paperback. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel "Indecent Proposal."

Product Details

  • File Size: 818 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1592991610
  • Publisher: Inkwater Press; 1st edition (October 29, 2005)
  • Publication Date: October 29, 2005
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

At age 16, I was a disc jockey working at a radio station in Atlantic City, NJ. When it was time to go to college i was offered the program directorship of the network's Camden station. But I wanted to get away. So at age 17 I left home to travel to New Mexico to seek my fortune. I won a fortune all beloved wife of over thirty years Olivia, who bore me 4 wonderful kids. I have another wonderful kid from my marital mistake. After law school on the GI Bill, I joined the NM State Police and later prosecuted over one hundred felony jury trials. Saw a lot while on the road and on the street. Saw a lot while in the courtroom...the insane asylum...the military. But I consider my years on the road: 1969-1970 the two most significant in my life...and they are the focus of the bulk of my writings.

I am retired now, on disability. One never knows when one has written their last. I thought I was at that juncture now on two different occasions...only to find a shorter, simpler, but nonetheless enjoyable book still waiting to get put on paper. Fortunately I got all my books of epic proportions and requiring research done before disability set in so now if I write its short and simple, but lots of fun. at the end of my life...writing is what I'm about as a human being... it warms me when someone gets enjoyment out of it. My heart and soul, the details of several years of my life, and a lot of fun are in these books. A lot of love respect, deceit, starvation, determination, courage and cowardice are in them. I have no agenda other than to leave my children the true story of how I changed from boy to man all alone in a North African garrison town [CROSSROADS: 1969], my life on the road [ODYSSEY: 1970 and AN AQUARIAN TRAGEDY] and the somewhat novelesque, mostly true account of the year I transitioned from a stonehead freak into a "normal person". [HELL'S QUEST: 1971]. There's a lot of recent American history in these volumes along with SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS: 1969-1970, which combines both CROSSROADS and AN AQUARIAN TRAGEDY.

This is the 40th anniversary of the events portrayed in CROSSROADS: 1969. I read that book with reverence. I'm not in it for the money or the fame...I'll leave that to the Dan Browns. I am always on the lookout for libraries, nursing homes and isolated locales both military and civilian to donate my books to.

If anyone knows of an isolated facility whose persons might enjoy some books to read, please let me know here on this site and I will see if I can help.
was fortunate to take up writing at a time that independent publishers such as mine...Inkwater Press... turn out such quality products. It sure wasn't that way a few years ago.

I am also very grateful to amazon for carrying my work as well as for providing the beautiful product pages which display them. I am truly blessed, both for the benefits I enjoy as well as for the very talented writers I have met and befriended there.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By trocoa on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
the author has the true gift of writing & story-telling. i often stayed up into the wee hours because it was so hard to put down. mr. cassell is very honest with his feelings & expresses them quite well. i liked everything about the book - it's adventure, it's REAL-ness. before i even finished it i KNEW i would read the sequel, Odyssesy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Loretta Townsend on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a wonderful exploration of a particular person during a particular year of his life. The writing is very individualistic and the author has a distinctive and interesting voice. Everything about this book has the ring of life actually lived: it is authentic and very real. It never sounds forced or pretentious. It is an exciting story that is difficult to put down but it is also very wise and heartfelt. In otherwords, a great book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JudyK on March 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Cassell's Crossroads: 1969 was one of my favorite books this year. It's sense of immediacy was thrilling and at the same time, I could find myself laughing out loud during some of the frightening yet hysterical situations with JP.

The scenes in the African prison made my brain feel cold. They were terrifying and so easy to imagine.

I thought the formatting was a bit weird (Kindle version) but just adapted to it. Didn't really find it that much of a problem.

To me, the work just flowed. I looked forward to picking it up at some point every day and catching up -- almost like with an overseas friend. I was around in 1969, having returned to Cleveland to work for a year or so before returning to grad school. It was a turbulent and redefining time everywhere, I guess. I remember the events and music of that year like no other.

Thank you for letting your ego down in your book and sharing your odyssey with us. I look forward to reading more of your work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mario Gonzales on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
John W. Cassell is an author of extraordinary talent. His descriptive style, wit and smooth prose take you along on his journey, which is not only interesting, but captures the imagination and takes one to boundless territories.

If you never read any of John W. Cassell's work, you have missed more than just a little. You have missed adventure, excitement, romance, and wonderful trips, journeys, where you feel, almost believe, you are there with him sharing his sometimes wild, sometimes hair-raising, and often just plain fun adventures. Definitely five stars for this very, very talented writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SESMBW on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
John's story begins in his teens, and probably long before, where he is searching for something better than what he is accustomed. Disillusioned and with a certain sense of emptiness, he decides to embark upon that quest. He doesn't want to consider graduate school, as is strongly suggested. Instead, he wants to travel to Europe and soon has a passport. However, John and his friend Chris work for several months, while John is saving up money for his journey.

Following months of hard labor, John finally finds himself on his mother's porch, saying goodbye to his mother and brother, Barry. Mixed with the excitement of what may lie ahead, is fear and apprehension. Still, this is something he has to do.

In England, John is stunned when he learns that his acceptance into King's College, London was a mistake. It had been believed that it was his brother Barry who had applied. Once more, John feels the pain of humiliation from his childhhod that he'd fought against for years to overcome.

John enjoys the wonderful meals of England, but when he travels to France, he finds the bread really good and the coffee very bitter. And he finds he has difficulty chewing the delicious bread and believes it is a molar problem, but later comes to realize it is much more serious.

John makes many friends, some strange, some mysterious and some really close, male and female alike. He travels a good deal by bicycle, often taking daring chances, entering tunnels where he could find himself approaching head-on with a car or truck. Picking apples from orchards in France and nearly getting killed, along with his French friend, who is something of an enigma, but he doesn't remain that way for long. John soon gets one of the biggest surprises of his life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lldunn on March 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I will be looking forward to the next books that John Cassell writes. If u are looking for a little different read,this is it. I found it very intereating. 1969 was a strange,different time to come of age in,it expresses the times and all the changes well. Enjoyed very much. Look forward to whats to come.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Waugh on October 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
There is so much to say that I will have to force myself to be brief.

I tend to speed read my way through books but Crossroads 1969 demanded my time and I was glad to give it. This is the type of book that should be read more widely and maybe, through more exposure for the author in Amazon Shorts, it will be. Reading it reminded me that there are probably more John Cassells out there who, with one simple break, could be acknowledged as some of the great writers of our time.

John Cassell describes Crossroads as 'based on a true story' and his decriptions of people and events are so real, so 'in the moment', that he most certainly must have experienced them first hand. That said, it is one thing to experience a person or event and quite another to put it down on paper in a manner that gives the reader a sense of having watched it happen. That is Mr. Cassell's true gift. The people who populate the pages of Crossroads, from the drunk singing his own interpretation of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", to the centred and sensible Marcie, to the the bribable Spanish customs official, are so well described that I felt like I had just watched a movie instead of reading a book.

I am grateful to Amazon Shorts for providing a forum for my short stories but I am equally grateful that being there allowed me to make the acquaintance of John and other fine writers. Without the Shorts program, Crossroads 1969 would never have found me and I would have missed something truly worth the reading.

Brother John, I kid you not when I say that this is a wonderful book. Well done and five stars!
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That's really good news for what I consider to be a great book. I think it says something very portentious for the future that over in England...way across the ocean...someone discovered and appreciated the value of your book for inclusion in a British publication. I'll be in line for a copy of... Read More
May 29, 2008 by Vince Mahoney |  See all 3 posts
Author John W. Cassell discusses the Crossroads project...a progeny of...
I just know that Crossroads 1969 is one of the most thought-provoking and entertaining books I've ever read. One travels through Europe with John W. Cassell...and feels like they are right there at his side. I love this book and would hearitly advise anyone to read it.
Aug 8, 2007 by SESMBW |  See all 3 posts
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