Jim Tortolano is a professor at Golden West College in California. He recently was editor and publisher of the Garden Grove Journal community newspaper. His journalism career included writing and editing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Orange County Evening News and Los Angeles Times. Additionally, he served for seven years in the California State Military Reserve (reserve to the National Guard) in the public affairs section, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. He is married and living in his hometown of Garden Grove. His interests include history (especially military and local history), politics and film, as well as writing and reading.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My interests are pretty wide-ranging. My favorite book of all time is Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here," about a fascist takeover of the United States in the Great Depression. I like it not only because Lewis is a great author, but the book was a public service, pointing out how people pretending to be patriots might really be greedy, power-hungry thugs. Also on the list would be Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale," a work of great beauty and eloquent in its appreciation of a city. Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegon" is another classic about a town, depicting small town quirks in a loving and humorous way. As for the last two, Robert Conroy's alternate history novel, "1862" and Michael Shaara's Civil War epic "The Killer Angels," both illuminating aspects of the tragedy of the War Between the States.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy especially history, alternate history and humor. I like to read about the lesser-known aspects of world and American history, as well as those what-might-have-been novels. Garrison Keillor is my favorite humorist; I'm looking for someone who might be close to as good.
Published: June 12, 2014.
Fiction » Adventure » Action
Professor Andy Russle seems like an unlikely choice to foil a terrorist plot aimed at the world's best-known amusement park. But he's more than he seems – maybe more than he realizes. He and his band of old high school friends find themselves battling a man who would be "King of the World." There's action, adventure, humor and some thoughtful reflections on good, evil and making moral choices.