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I was born not long after World War II in a small Midwestern town and lived out in the country a few miles from the small Swedish village my great grandparents founded and where my dad was raised.  Some of my happiest memories are of walking through the woods and growing food for my family in the rich, black dirt in that area.


My grandparents were poor, but generous.  They were proud and only took government assistance in emergencies, preferring to stand on their own two feet.  Despite being poor, If someone stopped by at dinner time, there was always an extra plate of food. 


My parents had it hard during the Depression, but I believe that is what made them fiercely independent and hard working.  (With this as my influence, it’s not surprising that I left home to make my own way at 17.)  When I was 16 we moved to St. Louis, Missouri (home of the Cardinals!) and I was thrust into life in a big city. I had never had any Afro-American or Jewish or Italian friends before, and found I loved interacting with different cultures.  My interest and love of other cultures is why I got involved in human rights organizations. And I’ve never been afraid to speak out against injustice or bigotry.  I went to college in California for a couple of years during the Vietnam War, and that’s where I became on fire politically.


The Book of Proverbs says that a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. My book and the other books I have in the works are the inheritance I am leaving them.  But they won't do any good sitting on the [computer] shelf.  They need to be read and acted on by thousands of readers. 


I dedicate this book to all the hard-working people who built this country.  And also to the youth who will be carrying it forward when we are long gone.  May they live in the “land of the free” and take it to new heights of opportunity, freedom, and respect for all people.


Duke LakeLand





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