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Son of Basque Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

 

Author: Mark B. Arrieta

Publisher: Crystal WoodsPublishing

ISBN: 978-1-955862-04-2

In 1998, Mark B. Arrietapassed away, and several years later, his wife Betty succumbed tolung cancer. When Betty's daughter Dorothy Stangle and her granddaughterDeborah Driggs were digging through her belongings, they came uponMark’s manuscript. As it turned out, it was the fictionalizedautobiography of Mark's life.

You probably never heardof Mark Arrieta. However, Dorothy and Deborah determined his storyneeded to be told. The result was the Son of a Basque.

Mark has quite a life torecount, and his story is a streamlined, detailed, and layeredpicture of his several experiences and encounters..

The  narrative strings together Mark'saccomplishments instriking episodes to form a cohesive, fascinating whole. His goals,challenges, triumphs, misfortunes, losses, and treatment of severalcrises are vividly described.

Born in Delta, Colorado,in 1924, Mark was the eldest child of Mary and Miguel Arrieta. Miguelwas of Basque descent; Mary’s parents were half Comanche Indian,one-third Kiowa, and the rest Spanish.

Sadly, when Mark was ten, his father died and he was pushed into breadwinner and head of hisfamily. During his childhood and adolescence, and with his youngersiblings, he toiled the beet fields of Colorado. His character,according to Mark, was formed in his early years, doing the work of aman, going to school only when the beet harvesting had been done.

The Depression-era was demanding for the family, as they barely could bring in amplemoney to survive and settle their debts.

At sixteen, Mark left homeand set off for California, traveling the hazardous rails and evenone time suffering from frostbite. Survival included making do withone sandwich that would last him hundreds of miles.

In California, he foundseveral jobs, and in 1937, he enlisted in the Civilian ConservationCorps, administered by the U.S. Army. The experience would providethe basis for his twenty-four-year career in the military.

His first assignment waswith the forest service. As Mark remarks, his involvement in theforest service turned out to be what he needed to get through therest of his life.

Mark entered the U.S. ArmyAir Corps when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he survivedseveral bombing missions. Unfortunately, during his tour in Pearl Harbor, he witnessedhis entire flight crew shot down and losing his best friend.

In England, during the war, he met and married hiswife Betty, eventually settling in the USA, where the couple raised their family of three children,Dorthy, Mark Jr., and Jeffrey.

One of Mark’s civilianpositions included employment as a prison guard in San Quentin, wherebarbarous and appalling violence was commonplace.

Mark also served in VietNam, and  his last military assignment was head of security fora new airstrip, where he faced  near-death episodes.

As he reflects on hislife, Mark reminds us that “a man’s life is like a mountainrange; there are high points and low points, with long stretches inbetween level places.”

One benefit of readingabout someone, who is not a household name, is that the sum of theiradventures in whatever cropped up in their life affords us with adifferent perspective on living and enjoying our own lives.

In Mark’s engagingnarrative, we learn about one man’s gripping coming of age whodiscovers himself as several scenarios unfold. He effectively engagesfirst the reader’s curiosity and then affection.

What stands out is Mark’savoidance of exhausting narrative sprawl, which separates it frommany of today’s autobiographies that seem to be sold more forweight than substance.

It is a shame that Marknever lived to see the publication of his novel. As he explains inhis winding up paragraph, “Some of us are so moved by our lifeexperiences that we are driven by some inner need to write them down,leaving our words for future generations to read and thereby knowus.”

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Mark B. Arrieta's granddaughter, Deborah  Driggs

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Norm Goldman
Title: Book Reviewer
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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