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Crossroads: 1969 Paperback – 14 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Inkwater Press (14 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592991610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592991617
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,945,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

JOHN W. CASSELL entered the adult working world in 1964 when, at age 16, he became a disc-jockey at an Atlantic City, New Jersey radio station. That summer he was a floor correspondent at the Democrat National Convention, writing his own news stories. He worked in radio until leaving for New Mexico the following year to attend University.

He wrote his first feature length novel in 1976, the year he was discharged from the United States Air Force. "The book was much too controversial to be published at the time," he recalls, "as it graphically portrayed drug use, drug dealing and other unsavory activity I encountered in my years on the road 1969-1971."

The book, SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS, thus remained "in the desk drawer" for thirty years. It's first half, detailing Cassell's travels in Europe and North Africa in 1969, was finally published in 2003. With the characters involved reaching retirement age or dead, the controversial second half was published under the title AN AQUARIAN TRAGEDY a couple years later using a nom d' plume and disguised identities.

It was while living and working on a remote tropical island at the turn of the century that Cassell was really bitten by the writing bug. During his ten years "in the jungle", he wrote ODYSSEY: 1970, HELL'S QUEST: 1971, DEVILLIERS COUNTY BLUES: 1972 and the two part politico-military novel UNCERTAIN PARADISE: 1973. It was also during this time that the two halves of SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS 1969-1970 were published, with the original full length novel following in 2007.

Cassell retired from a career in law enforcement and criminal prosecution due to total disability in 2006. Several of his books contain courtroom drama and police stories from his law enforcement years. Yet his first love and the primary focus of his books has remained life on the road in the Late Sixties-Early Seventies.

"There never was a time quite like it," Cassell recalls. "There never was a time when young people had more opportunity to explore their world... to really see what life was all about."

Cassell's books focus on his adventures and the adventures of others he met on the Road. It was with DeVilliers and Uncertain Paradise that he abandoned his largely autobiographical memoir/adventure genre in favor of novels....the former being of the police procedural genre, the latter politico-military.

"It is a privilege being a part of the Amazon family of authors," Cassell notes. "Thanks in large part to this forward-looking company, the reading public has been liberated from the commercial maneuvers of the big publishing houses. Never before have the public enjoyed so many options in reading... never before have so many talented writers had the opportunity to display their works to potential readers."

Product Description

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 kept a journal, as well as documents like passports, youth hostel booklets, tickets, matchbooks, even a sugar cube or two with an exotic wrapper. Even more 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. Now that I am approaching the ages at which they died or became incapacitated, myself saddled with illness, I have set about capturing what I consider to be the essential truths of my life and times so that my descendants won't have to face the void I did in trying to understand what goes into the development of a human being. CROSSROADS does,to my satisfaction,explain the surpluses and deficits of my developing character and the environment in which that was accomplished.

In other words, CROSSROADS chronicles the thinking and
events that led to my travelling the road of the Counterculture in the years that followed. It is a fact and detail-rich account of the way it was,in the Year of Our Lord 1969, when young John Cassell, always a model of responsibility and ambition, yet inevitably both hobbled and advantaged by the realities of his childhood, stands at the brink of graduation 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.

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."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joe Singleton on 3 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I received this book initially when it was available for free on Amazon and it looked like an interesting read. As soon as I got reading it I was hooked. I also made friends with the author on Facebook and we have since been in touch with each other quite a bit.

John's travels throughout 1969 are really interesting and reading the book feels like John is sat there with you telling you the stories of his travels.

The only negative thing I would say about the book is the fact that in several places I was left wondering which stories were fact and which were fictional. This is probably because it is very easy to get to know the author in the way that the book is written and so you wonder which bits are the true John Cassell.

I would recommend anyone to take a read of this book. I am now looking forward to start reading Odyssey: 1970 - the next book in the series
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By Amazon Customer on 22 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good simple read
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda G. Shelnutt on 2 May 2008
Format: Paperback
>> I'd already begun the battle to secure a berth for myself in a seminary at Berkeley, having submitted the necessary applications and labored over the essay which was supposed to explain in detail why I wanted to become an Anglican priest. All my friends and family had their own ideas on the subject, ranging from the worst reasons to the best. Mine, I am afraid, would have probably surprised them all and could never have been included in the essay. In truth, I was looking for a dream world to inhabit, a small country parish in the west of England where I could write scholarly theological works, drink scotch, and go prematurely senile minding a turnip garden. <<

For me, there's no substitute for reading a passage of the author's own words, to get a sense of whether you'd want to read a book.

When I read that passage, I was already pulling for this warm, intelligent, spirited young man to succeed in living in that dream world, even though I feared that reality of pure scholarly theology might not even exist within some of the darkened political arenas of religious sanctuaries. I wanted that world to exist, if only for John Cassell to be able to cloister himself into that dreamed type of sacred luxury of religious ecstasy and intrigue.

As the novel's plot developed, and I saw how John was blocked from entry into that dream world, it was too clear that another world and path awaited this young man's footprints. It didn't take long before the author Cassell's words immersed the reader into subcultures of different paths and possibilities, each disallowed or road-forked-way for various reasons.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
riveting! 8 Dec. 2005
By trocoa - Published on
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed this book 3 Nov. 2005
By Loretta Townsend - Published on
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Thoroughly enjoyable 15 Mar. 2012
By JudyK - Published on
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary Talent 8 Sept. 2007
By Mario Gonzales - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Crossroads: 1969 (Cassell Faction Trilogy) 4 Feb. 2013
By Connie - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting look back to a time when big change was happening. Many of us can relate to this period of time, and his story touches many hearts and souls.
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