Through individual stories of the lives of just three generations, the reader will experience the enormous transformation of life from the mid-1800s to the final years of the twentieth century—from the candle to the lantern, to DC current and finally to AC electricity; from the telegraph to silent movies to satellite TV.

My grandfather traveled on horseback; I roam the world in a jet. My father and I enjoyed playing games and reading during long winter family evenings; there are no long winter evenings anymore, no time for those simple pleasures for my younger son.

This story is not confined to America; the reader will follow me around the world as a Naval Officer and later as an adventuresome entrepreneur.

It starts with U.S. families in the 1800s who were mostly immigrants to this country—many, new settlers in the new frontier, or simply the “West.” At the time of my grandfather, Nebraska was the new frontier. Later, at the time of my father, Oklahoma was the new frontier having been settled virtually in one day by the “great run” of 1889.

I come from a long line of immigrants from not only Holland, Germany and England, but the majority of my blood line came from Ireland and my Irish grandmother’s story tells a lot about immigration to America.

Many authors dig into their family history to “find” themselves. I, however, commenced my research out of curiosity. This curiosity led me to an absorbing view of major world events of the last 150 years seen through my family’s eyes, and revealing truths not covered in history books. In delving into the Irish branch of my family, I unearthed the everyday religious animosities that led to the formation of the Irish Republican Army. My research cast light on the racial origins of the U.S. Civil War as well as the political origins of World Wars I and II. Those wars had profound impacts on my family.

But more even than wars, our lives were affected by the incredible “Technological Revolution” of the last 150 years.

This book is written for my family and friends, people interested in history, and for future generations. The book uses acid-free paper and good color reproduction to preserve a treasure trove of photos and memorabilia, which serve to illuminate the story.

This book gives me the personal pleasure of preserving memories of my father, mother and their families that went before them. Many family members and friends were helpful in gathering information. I am particularly indebted to my father and mother and sister Phyllis.

The production of this book was done by Jeanine Ryan. She might not have tackled the project had she known that the book would grow from an originally envisioned 60 pages to 216 large-size pages including 220 pictures and illustrations. Fortunately during her three-year part-time effort the computer art developed to make possible high quality digitally scanned pictures plus the capability to store them. All the final text and pictures were contained on three one gigabyte Jaz disks. Such memory files didn’t exist when the biography project was started.

To make my story readable I built it around a series of personal episodes but you will notice that each episode is rich in historic details. Navigating this site thus gives a sense of the important history of the 150 year period covered. There is a full account of the continuous march of technology, intimate glimpses of the immigration to America, the inside story about slavery, the resulting Civil War of the 1860s and its consequences, the frontier life in the “West,” the depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the magic of higher education, personal vignettes of the culture of other countries, China, France, Mexico, Brazil; even a moral framework for life, an exclusive first hand treatise on how Silicon Valley works to produce new products and new millionaires, and finally the secrets of making fine wine and the joy of making fine music. My frankness about many subjects and my somewhat off-color treatment of others would not be permissible in a normal history book. If you take the time to view the entire site you will get a comprehensive review of the history of our times that may influence some of your ideas for the good.

All the events told here really happened; there is no exaggerating or rewriting of history. The personal adventures included are played against the world history of the time so that is the way you get the “inside” history of the last 150 years, a period marked by unprecedented change.


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