Book Summaries

An Enjoyable Journey

Synopses of Books Produced by Milestones, the Gift of a Lifetime

“A Memorable Life…in Business, Academia, Public Policy, and Adventure Travels”

The former Chairman and CEO of a Fortune 100 industrial company retells a life story that included a Kansas childhood followed by Navy service in the Pacific theater during World War II. Chronicling the executive’s rise over four decades and extraordinary adventure travels, Bonnie Bell conducted over 55 interviews with former colleagues, family and friends, including senators, astronauts, generals and business leaders. The 315-page project culled photos from personal albums and correspondence from corporate records to create a document rich in history.

“Charmed Lives”

This memoir follows the two lives of a couple who grew up in different regions of the country but with remarkably similar childhoods, how they met, married and later pursued a lifelong dream of boating the world’s waterways. Along the way, the book details extraordinary career highlights culminating the subject’s appointment as Senior Vice President of a Fortune 100 company. With photos, engineering diagrams and richly illustrative text, the reader learns about such varied career feats as the design and implementation of a groundbreaking train for the Spanish national railroad system and the development and execution of America’s hydrogen bomb.

“Diamond Cutter: From the Streets of Holon to America”

This is the story of an entrepreneur who immigrated to the United States from Israel at the age of eighteen.  With only an eighth grade education, a good deal of chutzpah, and a loan of $500, he built a successful women’s clothing chain and parlayed the business into a major real estate and development empire. Included in the narrative are interviews with his wife and adult children.

“Amazing Grace”

This book is a tribute to a Wisconsin mother of six. Woven together from conversations with her children, their spouses, and grandchildren, the book is meant to be a character study to enlighten and inspire future generations. Her oldest son, who rose to become the president of a national bank and a major business school dean, conceived of the project in conjunction with the establishment of an educational trust that he funded for her descendants in her name.

“Looking Back”

This memoir traces the life of a child of Danish immigrants who grew up poor during the Depression on Chicago’s northwest side. The reader follows the subject from college through a brief career in the American Football League where he was recruited for the Chicago Bears by legendary coach George Halas. He ascended the ranks of Kaiser Aluminum and later became Chairman and CEO of three Fortune 500 companies.

“Children of the Kingdom”

Part memoir, travelogue and scientific exploration into a mysterious genetic disease affecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Milestones staff member Andrew Pacelli edited this compelling narrative in which the author, formerly a professor and neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, and his wife find themselves in a swirl of events concerning a Middle-Eastern society in transition, the intrigue of an oil-rich monarchy maintaining a precarious balance with its country’s religious extremists and ancient cultural traditions coming face to face with genetic science.

“Behind the Wheel, Steering the Courses of Continental Motors

Milestones worked with an entrepreneur and auto-racing enthusiast to describe how he transformed his early love of cars into one of Chicago’s largest, privately held companies. The son of German immigrants, he began his career as a mechanic on Chicago’s west side. With a ninth grade education and money he had scraped together, he took a gamble on representing the first Japanese automobiles to enter the U.S. market in the 1960s. The venture blossomed over the years into a multi-million dollar network of foreign and domestic automobile dealerships. As the leading dealer of Ferraris and Maseratis in the Midwest, the subject was able to fully indulge his passion for sports cars, becoming a nationally recognized figure in amateur car racing.

“How Dad Lived to be One Hundred

Two brothers born in Newton, Kansas at the beginning of the 20th century share their perspectives on their Mennonite minister father who suffered a psychotic breakdown early in their childhood. Milestones wove together two narratives of a deeply conflicted man on a quest for the key to long life and mind-body balance. The story takes the reader on a journey through recollections, at once profoundly dark and humorous, of growing up in a family of five children subjected to their father’s trust in the latest health gadgets, nutritional fads and outright hoaxes.