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(NewsUSA)

"A masterful storyteller." -Sacramento Bee

"One of the 21st Century's most exciting authors." -Washington Times

"Mike Bond's books are a national treasure." -Art Zuckerman, WVOX

AmericaBestselling author Mike Bond is best known for his thrillers. His "Pono Hawkins" series, along with his novels of international espionage and military action, have garnered him much critical acclaim over the years.

Then he surprised us in 2018 with a volume of poetry, "The Drum that Beats Within Us," which spanned a wide range of subjects, from breathtaking studies of wilderness and the natural world, to the intimate corners of the human heart, and outward into life's biggest existential questions.

Mike Bond has done it again, focusing his formidable talents on yet another genre: the historical novel. "America" (Big City Press) is the first of a planned seven-volume series "capturing the transformations and heartbreaks of the last 70 years, and of our nation's most profound upheavals since the Civil War -- a time that defined the end of the 20th Century and where we are today." It's a wildly ambitious project.

FOUR FRIENDS SWEPT INTO TURBULENCE OF THE 1960s

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Mike BondSet in the '60s around Nyack, NY, four kids from disparate backgrounds grow up together.

Troy, an orphan living at the local Boy's Home, luckily meets Mick, who has a happy home life on a farm with his parents and sister Tara. He is later adopted by Mick's family. Tara, Mick's little sister and the girl Troy grows to love, takes off to become a rock star, mostly singing the blues like a young Janis Joplin.

Troy eventually joins the service, with his goal to explore the world of flight and outer space, encouraged by an exuberant and idealistic young president aiming to get us to the moon. Mick becomes a rebel who questions the war in Vietnam. His girlfriend Daisy ends up moving away with her abusive father and a mother who is brutalized every day. She escapes to join the Peace Corps and eventually to study the human mind.

America brings to mind classic coming-of-age masterpieces such as "Look Homeward, Angel" by Thomas Wolfe. The characters are so vivid and alive, you think you're reading about old friends and recalling fond memories of youth.

These are young people transformed by their times, by the emergence of the pill and sexual liberation, drugs and, of course, rock music. They are both witness and catalyst as America evolves from a post-World War II nation to a place where women's rights, civil rights, riots, soul searching, burning cities and bra-burning shake the country's cultural and political foundations to the core.

We now wonder if this generation had any impact in changing America for the better in the '60s, or if its struggles continue today, evolved but not solved. Think Black Lives Matter, the Women's March on Washington and the environmental movement. We wonder if the youth of today will have to fight the same fights for the same rights all over again. It would behoove them to read this book.

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