Al Karasa - Writer
Thank you for visiting.
If you like diversity in what you read,
you've come to the right place
The author lived through the entire
length of World War Two early in life,
the most harrowing years endured
by many of his generation.
This is the true story of his escape
and survival at impossible odds.
Accidents, as in "chance happenings"
(according to Webster) are hardly
chance at all. Accidents don't just happen. They are caused - caused by indifference and by incompetence.
A meteor hitting your car is an accident. Everything else is driver error.
This book shows how to avoid those errors and survive on the highway.
Learn racer's skills that will benefit
you on the public road.
Maritime fiction in the spirit of C.S.Forester and Patrick O'Brian. Rousing sea adventure that sweeps across the turbulent West Indies in what was the very first world war - a historical novel of high adventure.
Fast paced novel about speed, skill and callous determination in sports car racing's Golden Age.
Le Mans, Targa Florio, Mille Miglia - the greatest road races of all time - and the colorful people
who made it happen are all here.
THIS BOOK IS OUT OF PRINT
AND MAY BE DIFFICULT TO FIND.
You could try here:
Eight months in the saddle make some body parts sore. They also make the
heart SOAR. Ride along the country
roads of the East Coast from Nova Scotia
to the Florida Keys and see
what a rip-roaring sweet ride that was.
A hilarious, unruly, stew of sailing
yarns sure to appeal to sailors
and non-sailors alike and all
those who take their ventures
more seriously than themselves.
From scalping mowers to sinking
dinghies and axe attacks at sea,
trouble follows the adventures
in this collection of stories told with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
And ALL of them are TRUE !
THE LAST GOLDEN SMILE
Vilnius University review
Part history, part memoir, this is that rare book that probes the touchy subject of our World War Two ally perpetrating crimes against humanity on a scale greater than the Nazi counterpart - crimes which continued years after the war ended. The horrors implemented by Soviet Russia surpass anything the civilized mind can absorb. It is stuff of which nightmares are made.
Written by one who witnessed those horrors first hand, told in an engaging narrative style, it is the story of escape and survival not uncommon during the war of the century.
The author breaks the haunting chapters with frequent leitmotif asides from better times. This unique approach serves to give the reader periodic relief on the heels of those sections most difficult to read.
His and his classmates' grasp of the value of education is particularly poignant: ". . . there was no shortage of . . . desire to learn. We pursued our assignments with passion. . . Education was a priceless treasure and every student knew it . . ." He cites one teacher's words as ". . . you will have to fix and build houses, bridges, ships, roads and trains which war has destroyed, and you will have to know how to do it."
World War Two, as fought between Russia and Germany, is not well known in the U.S. and there are many misconceptions. The author clears up many of these and the history lesson alone is worth your time.
If you are interested in the civilian perspective of the war, particularly in
the Baltics and in Lithuania, you cannot do better than this. A rare and excellent piece of writing.
-- Prof. Dr. Grazvydas Kirvaitis
Review by Michael Lampe for
No Quarter Given
Into the maelstrom of the Seven Years' War in the Caribbean comes Angus Berwyck - spoiled, ruthless, son of a wealthy Welsh barrister.
While carousing dockside, he is press-ganged and wakes up on a British warship en route to the war zone. So begin his rebellious times at sea. From mutiny to piracy to murder, his infamy attracts the attention of the French and British warring forces with which he unwittingly interferes.
Angus is not a very likable fellow, but you get more and more drawn into the nautical world he lives in.
With many elaborate plot twists and a host of fascinating characters (why is Lady Crimhedden, noblewoman and respected British Royal Navy widow, spying for the French?)
Their stories will definitely keep your attention from the first page to the last.
DRIVE SMART !
Edwin Sartep review for
Barnes & Noble
Everyone who drives should read this book. It is not about driving fast or racing. That cannot be learned from books. It is about driving better and about understanding what you are doing which will improve your chances of survival on the road.
Al Karasa does a remarkable job of conveying complex information in layman's terms. I have not seen another book like it.
Whether you are an expert driver, professionally trained, or a beginner seeking your first licence, you will learn something from this book.
From the back cover of Firehead's Malice:
An outstanding writer in the tradition of Forester's Hornblower, et al.
-- Linda Scantlebury - Editor, Stanford University
A page turner for its unexpected story line and unpredictable plot.
Vivid images of sailing ship life and war at sea predominate ...
-- Jamaica Rose - Editor/Publisher, No Quarter Given
Motorcycle Times book review
If you enjoy light stories of motorcycling adventures you will surely enjoy this book -- a collection of short stories in verbal sketches taking a point of view of the moment that perfectly illuminates it and provides that peek inside.
Soon you will be there with him as he buys lobsters, is discovered naked in a barn, ventures off road on a street bike, flees a fire and so much more.
Although humorous at times, this is not a comedic narrative. Rather, it is the ordinary observation and the writing down of things that he has - as we all have - done with or to his motorcycle.
It is hard to put down. I limited myself to one or two stories of an evening in order to savor the experience. -- Mark McGhee
Arch Scurlock review for
Set behind the scenes of professional sports car and Grand Prix racing in Europe during the late 1950s, this novel focuses on two main characters.
The first is an English driver initially with the Maserati team and then with Aston Martin. His racing and personal experiences are detailed, including keeping his wife.
The second character is an American journalist who becomes enthralled with the racing world and maintains herself in it by writing for a motorsports weekly. She also falls for a rich, personable, and married, Ferrari driver from Spain.
The Targa Florio and Mille Miglia chapters are the most entertaining, with extensive descriptions of racing and the exuberance of the Sicilian and Italian crowds.
Author interviews on "Art Beat" radio
about Al's work
Please note: This website replaces www.alsbooks.com (mentioned in interviews)
about my work
After a childhood in Europe during the cataclysmic six years of World War Two, Al (Alvydas) Karasa emigrated to the U.S. and continued his education after its brutal interruption during the war.
He is multi-lingual and writes in two languages. An eclectic writer since his college days, exponent of many talents, widely traveled skier and sometime river rat, Al holds fifteen engineering patents secured during his tenure in that field, and pursues an interest in history and the heraldic arts.
Long time motorcyclist, devoted scholar of high performance driving skills, avid sports car enthusiast and racer, Al Karasa also writes about motorsports and high performance driving.
A long time sailor in vessels ranging from small sailboats to ocean going ships, Al spent some years at sea. These travels have taken him to Europe, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, New Zealand, the West Indies and the Arctic.
Exposure to life at sea and life long study of maritime history lend uncommon accuracy to his stories about sailing, ships and the sea.
In addition to books and magazines listed here,
Al Karasa's work is also included in
New Lines from the Old Line State
the anthology of Maryland writers
Sports Car Graphic
Road & Track
See it here
Random Thoughts and
Answers to Questions No One Asked
To learn a new language quickly one must must be where the known language is unavailable.
Such circumstance followed me throughout my youth.
I received primary education in the country of my birth. The rest of my teaching fell to remarkable people in four other countries and two languages unknown to me at the time. Certainly unusual, but de rigueur among children of World War Two.
We became autodidacts when our teachers were murdered or disappeared without a trace.
Formal education came to a violent end when Russian troops marched across our borders.
Extermination of our leaders, scientists, artists, and teachers - the core of our national soul - began. We fled to save our lives.
> In what language do you think?
That is a question someone wanted to ask me, but withdrew it before completion.
But never mind. I heard enough to reconstruct it here. And so, I'll answer.
Quite simple, really.
When learning English, I did not know enough of the language to think in it.
To actually open my mouth and say something in English presented several hurdles.
I first had to form the sentence in my head - think it in my native language - then translate it into English before I spoke.
Did this make me a slow speaker? You bet it did!
And it tried people's patience.
It also made it difficult to join a conversation in midstream. I did a lot of listening -- a lot!
Then it became a habit. No, no, not the listening. The thinking.
I still think in one language and speak in another. Faster - now that I'm fluent in both.
That's a good thing. I no longer try people's patience.
It has been said that writing can be an escape into a world of surprises we hardly imagine.
But for me it is more than that, and not an escape at all.
It is work I look forward to. I write every day. I cannot imagine not writing.
That I am only able to write in two languages is proof of my inability to retain what I learn.
I don't expect that to change.
> Can I equate incalculable loss to the challenge of putting on wet clothes in a hurry?
If I can, then I will bear the loss with unmitigated resolve.
What is important and what is not is easier to define then.
Leisure Pursuits When Not Writing
NEWS & EVENTS
Work in progress
This work will be a limited edition,
in case-bound hardcover,
for distribution by special order
Best use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.
This book is a personal tribute to someone who did exactly that.
Book lovers can get more information from the author here
Entire website copyright © 2020-2021 by Al Karasa. All rights reserved.
And, of course, historical research never ends.