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Matej's Legacy is a nonfiction chronicle following the author's Czech family through 20th-century history. It is a sequel to Matej's Journey to America that creatively traced the Chmelkas to biblical times, and then journeyed with them through six millennia from present-day Iraq, to the Czech Republic, and finally to America. The author's great-great-grandfather was born as the Rocky Mountain fur trade boomed in 1825, and grew up on a 13-acre farm in Moravia where the Chmelkas had been serfs since ...
Matej's Legacy is a nonfiction chronicle following the author's Czech family through 20th-century history. It is a sequel to Matej's Journey to America that creatively traced the Chmelkas to biblical times, and then journeyed with them through six millennia from present-day Iraq, to the Czech Republic, and finally to America. The author's great-great-grandfather was born as the Rocky Mountain fur trade boomed in 1825, and grew up on a 13-acre farm in Moravia where the Chmelkas had been serfs since Charlemagne was crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor.
Gold, homesteads and Texas longhorns lured thousands of oppressed Europeans to America in the mid-1800s, riding on steamships and railroads that now made long-distance travel feasible. Prussia established its European dominance in 1871 when railroads closed by war reopened to civilians, allowing Matej to flee his beloved motherland for a free homestead in Nebraska. He found a difficult life on the prairie with grasshoppers, drought, hail and fires destroying crops—spurring his 14-year-old son to join a Texas cattle drive and then to dodge Indians and gunfighters throughout the romantic era of the Wild West. Matej died in 1902, leaving his family little wealth, but a legacy, the first 100-years of which is covered in this book.
Henry Ford, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison and other inventors were creating a New World, and the Czechs finally found independence thanks to World War I, which put an end to feudalism but gave birth to Communism. Technology in transportation, agriculture and communications continued to expand during the Roaring Twenties, and a Democratic America became the hope to millions still victimized by brutal dictators. Good times gave way to the Great Depression and the author was born on a primitive Nebraska farm as a new war spread around the globe. Germany and Japan were brought to their knees, but the world was introduced to nuclear horror and was soon threatened by Russian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Communists—ungrateful allies vowing to bury American Capitalism.
The Middle East and Africa were now freed from European colonialism, but instead of developing natural resources for the benefit of their citizens, rival leaders wallowed in tribal warfare. Israel became the incendiary target for Muslims who controlled much of the world's oil, now in great demand as the automobile and airplane gave new mobility to man. As the world's leader, America became its policeman, taking on one evil empire after another. Korea and Vietnam were not proud moments, yet Communism fell to economic demands that only Democratic Capitalism could meet.
The Czech Republic and the entire Russian Bloc were suddenly free, but as the world relaxed, a war of terror began, financed by Arab oil and executed by Muslim extremists. Outmatched in technology, failing regimes retreated to guerilla warfare, determined to outlast a culture softened by instant gratification. Lebanon, Palestine, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq became major hotspots while Africa simmered under tribal warfare with millions dying from AIDS and starvation.
Matej's Legacy integrates the world events of the past 100 years with the Chmelka family story, including the author's journey from farm boy to engineer and executive in the automotive and aerospace industries. He retired in 1997 and began writing a two-volume epic, concluding in 2003 when the United States remained the world's primary protector; but sadly, often criticized and hated by cynics and political opportunists. American immigrants are generally grateful for the opportunities and freedom our great country offers, and many of the world's downtrodden continue their desperate journeys to our shores. Others jealously preach hatred and death to America, but as descendants of those who sacrificed much to be here, let us never forget our legacy.