Border Crossings by Charles Novacek
Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance

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Advance Praise for Border Crossings from Madeleine Albright:

Border Crossings is the well-told and dramatic story of a young man whose comfortable life is abruptly transformed by the savagery of World War II. Forced to rely on primal instincts and his familiarity with the rugged highlands of Moravia, Charles Novacek casts his lot first with the anti-Hitler Underground and then with the resistance to the Nazis’ Communist successors. “My recollections pain me,” he writes, “still, they have made me who I am.” Novacek’s experience as a Hungarian-speaking Czecho-Slovak patriot demonstrates the folly of petty nationalism and the resilience of human decency and love.” ― Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State


Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance is the captivating, tender memoir of Charles Novacek, a Czechoslovakian whose idyllic childhood exploring the Tatra Mountains was shattered by the Nazi occupation of his homeland. He spent his youth defending his neighbors, his family, and his country, first from the Nazi atrocities of World War II and then from the Soviet oppression of the ensuing Cold War.

Charles was eleven years old when his father and uncle recruited him into the Czech Resistance. Antonin Novacek not only taught his son to survive in the wild, but also prepared him for wartime: how to resist pain, hunger, and fear and to trust no one. His assignments included delivering messages to soldiers parachuting behind enemy lines and hiding them in caves he equipped for their shelter.

As a young man, Charles was captured and jailed by the Communists and rescued by an underground resistance network. In too much danger to remain in Czechoslovakia, he staged a daring escape only to land in a miserable displaced persons camp. His will to live prevailed once again, and Charles eventually married and built a successful life in America.

Filled with heroic adventures and great bravery, Border Crossings is one man’s remarkable tale of his incredible life and a testament to the human capacity to survive.

Additional Praise for Border Crossings:
"I have been transformed by this honest, extraordinary telling. In Border Crossings Charles Novacek shows us, through his personal story (told as if we are right there in the room with him) the true face of totalitarianism; he reminds us of the preciousness, the miracle, of freedom. What a gift he has given us--and what a gift his wife, Sandra, has offered us, as well, in making sure that his brave story is here for the world to read. This is a powerful memoir that crosses all borders and speaks directly to the human heart."Joseph Hurka, author of Fields of Light: A Son Remembers His Heroic Father

“Here is a story that is meant to survive, just as its teller was. I got to know Charles in his later years but only had hints of what is contained in these pages. They are riveting. I was drawn into the best and worst of humanity and, not incidentally, into the history of the West in the mid-twentieth century. Courage, love, despair, a fierce will are all preserved with the help of one who was ‘not the love of Charles’ life. . . but his last love.’" John Kotre, Ph.D., author of White Gloves: How We Create Ourselves Through Memory

Border Crossings helps fill the lack of personal accounts of resistance movements amidst a voluminous array of World War II literature. This compelling memoir, written through the eyes of young Charles, shows how circumstances required him to become a shrewd hero. In his opposition first toward Nazism and then Communism, Charles Novacek’s personal story illustrates why people sacrifice themselves and their families for an ideal. Intimate, intense, fascinating!” Christina Vella, coauthor of The Hitler Kiss


About Charles Novacek

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Charles (Karel) Novacek was born in Ozd''any, Czechoslovakia on May 11, 1928. He graduated from the Industrial College of Engineering in Brno, Czechoslovakia with a degree in mechanical engineering and attended the Masaryk University School of Law in Brno. After escaping his homeland in 1948, Novacek fled to Germany, then Venezuela and was finally able to immigrate with his family to the United States in 1956 where he taught himself English as his seventh language. Novacek was a registered professional engineer and spent thirty-three years in the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area as a civil engineer, project, design and quality assurance manager. In addition to being an accomplished engineer, Novacek was a talented artist who carved stone and painted many fine and vibrant works, and a world traveler who was ever interested in the beauty and intricacy of other cultures. He was a lifelong learner who continually sought knowledge, studying Chinese and earning a B.G.S and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an M.A. in Painting from Eastern Michigan University in his retirement years. Novacek died in Detroit, Michigan in 2007.
Published October 25, 2012 by 1021 Press. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Border Crossings

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A dramatic story of a young man whose comfortable life is abruptly transformed by the savagery of World War II.

Feb 19 2013 | Read Full Review of Border Crossings: Coming of A...

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Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance - by Charles Novacek - 1021 Press.

Oct 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Border Crossings: Coming of A...

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