Illusions captures the struggle of the Kaufmann family to survive the Second World War. Although fictionalized in these pages, the story’s power lies in the family’s participation in actual events.
Separated by the Atlantic Ocean, fate thrusts the Kaufmanns and their friends into life-threatening storms, including: an American justice system turned upside down; the Holocaust and the plot to kill Hitler.
To meet these crises, the Kaufmanns summon a sense of duty (patriotism) while remaining confident that experience will see them through. Instead, at every turn they must outwit determined enemies and accept the truth of life’s maddening Illusions.
FROM THE BOOK: 'How Peter Kaufmann found himself in this place of death is but one of the improbable stories in these pages. You could say that Peter Kaufmann is just another victim of the war, and that would be somewhat true. You could say it’s the story of an American justice system acting to satisfy the exigencies of war but sliding instead toward injustice, and that would be somewhat true. You could say that Peter’s is a story of hubris, and that would be somewhat true. You could say it’s a story of mistaken identity, but that would not be true. You could say it’s a story of coincidence, of a haphazard unfolding, but that would also not be true. Or, you could say it’s a story that should not have needed telling, and that would be absolutely true.'
'After prying loose an unused Panzerfaust from the hands of a decapitated corpse, Peter jumps into a new hiding place, another festering crater, and lands on top of a body. It’s Kretschmann! Shot through the left temple. A clean wound. Only a trickle of blood from a pencil-size black hole runs down the visible cheek. The shock of seeing his dead comrade along with the smell of feces and urine, unloosed by Kretschmann in death, tears at Peter’s senses.
On the opposite side of the crater a shivering, whimpering boy who can’t be more than eleven or twelve has curled into a fetal position. The boy wears a tattered uniform, if one could call it such, two sizes too large for his slender frame. Tears mixed with mucous from his nose run in rivulets down his grimy cheeks and lips before dripping from his quaking chin.
Gathering himself, Peter reaches to comfort the lad just as Pavlichenko’s 7.62 x 54R round finds the boy’s left eye, blasting away the back of his skull and burying itself in the indifferent earth behind.'
READERS' REACT: "A moving WW II narrative highlighting unfamiliar facts and events and questioning historical 'truths.' A memorable read! You won't be disappointed." —'Gold Star' - Amazon
"Displays a powerful ability to tell a story, a sharp eye for vivid detail and an ardent sensitivity to precise language.... A fast-paced, compelling narrative of kindness and caring in spite of disillusionment over national security, patriotism, medical professionalism, military competence, bureaucratic power and family loyalty. It is a compelling and poignant read." —'Pacific Beach Bum' - iBooks
"A compelling read. Fictional characters mingle with historical figures and events in Nazi Germany and World War II America. The plot moves swiftly as characters come together, lose one another, and unknowingly cross paths over territory from Germany to the American Northwest." —'arcataellen' - iBooks