I have tried my hand at nearly every genre of creative writing, from poetry and adventure novels to political diatribes, from science fiction to philosophy, jokes and film reviews. Most of what I have written is in English, but a few of my short pieces are in Dutch and some are in French. My most frequent themes are political and social commentary, European-American relations and the state of the world. Some of my work is posted below. I would enjoy hearing your comments.
Tried And True: The Best Travel Experiences in Europe
Tom Kando has visited over thirty European countries and spent many years living in half a dozen of them. He has crossed the Atlantic a hundred times. In this travel guide and travel memoir, he shares eventful and often hilarious experiences in Europe, from Iceland to Russia and from Scotland’s Hebrides Islands to the Riviera and Sicily: funny, true stories about staving off pickpockets, braving chaotic Parisian and Roman traffic, dealing with train, airplane and hotel snafus. Secondly, Kando offers a wealth of practical information about errors to avoid, what to do and not to do, and what to see. The book deals with tipping customs, negotiating roundabouts, what to do about GPS, where to shop, when various stores are open and closed, whether to use ATM cash or to charge, restaurants, museums, hotels (never stay at a hotel in the outskirts).
In this book, Kando covers twenty-one countries, including Scandinavia, the Benelux, Eastern Europe, Russia, the British and Irish Isles, the Alpine countries, France, Italy, Spain and more. Whether he is visiting Icelandic glaciers or the prehistoric caves at Lascaux, dining on cheese in Switzerland, or convincing a Soviet agent he's not a spy, Kando will inspire you to follow in his footsteps to discover world cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Venice, Vienna, picturesque villages, natural wonders and magnificent out-of-the-way destinations such as Pompeii, the ramparts of Saint Malo and the Greek temples of Paestum. Kando discusses great natural wonders and other sites, and how to enjoy your travels as much as possible. He reminds the reader that “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” In other words, the enjoyment of a truly authentic travel experience takes some effort, but in the end, it is highly rewarding.
Kando's many years of experience traveling and living in different parts of Europe were spent with the many members of his European family, with countless European friends and colleagues, and on his own as a tourist. When Tom and his wife Anita go to Europe, they almost always include Amsterdam, Paris and Rome. They go to Amsterdam a lot because they have friends and relatives there. Time and again they return to Paris and Rome because they love these two cities, which they consider to be the world’s most beautiful. But they also leave the cities to visit the provinces, for example Tuscany, the Italian Lake District, the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera, the Dordogne, Normandy and other regions. In recent years they spent a marvelous week in Berlin and another one in Ireland, both of which were new to them. Sometimes they’ll tour some new parts of Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Scandinavia, Scotland and elsewhere.
A Tale of Survival: From War Ravaged Europe to the Promise of America
Tom Kando is born at the epicenter of the world’s greatest war. In Hungary, his family survives the holocaust, the nazi and soviet occupations, the bombs, the genocide, and starvation. They escape from Budapest to Paris, living in abject poverty as war refugees. The boy roams the streets, subways and slums, encountering violence and dangerous people. Tom and his family keep moving, gypsy-like, from country to country, hitch-hiking and sleeping on public benches and beaches. At 14, his family settles in Amsterdam, where Tom grows up at risk.
At eighteen, he earns the $50 fare for a one-way ticket to New York, and ten days later he arrives in New York City, not knowing a single soul in the new world. Surviving life-threatening situations, he focuses his drive to receive a fulbright scholarship to one of the country’s finest universities. Soon he learns what the american way of life is all about, the generosity and courage of the american people, the sports, the parties, the hard work, and the competitive spirit. For the first time in his life, he becomes a citizen - a citizen of the most powerful country in the world. After decades of refugee status and discrimination, he becomes an American. He finally belongs somewhere.
After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Amsterdam, he pursues and receives a master’s and a PHD at the University of Minnesota. At 27, he is an Assistant Professor. He spends the following decades teaching at major universities as well as in prisons and for the air force, doing research on criminology, mental illness and human sexuality, and traveling to Japan, Korea, Asia, Africa, Russia and dozens of other countries. As his life unfolds, Kando sees his own experiences mirrored in the history of the times, with all of its stormy, sometimes murderous, sometimes joyous explosions. He actively participates in the turbulent counterculture, the peace movement and the civil rights movement, at times risking a great deal.
Over the course of an eventful life, Kando befriends major figures - at conferences and on the street. These range from Eldridge Cleaver and the Reverend Ralph Abernathy to world-famous football coaches, from famous rock stars to Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and members of President Reagan’s cabinet.
Tom marries and has an idyllic family life. He takes his wife, his children, and in time his grandchildren on exciting trips from Hawaiian volcanoes to the Australian outback, from Norwegian fjords to denali in Alaska, from the Roman Colosseum to the outer Hebrides Islands. While solidly settled in America, he remains a citizen of the world. He returns to Europe frequently, and feels at home in half a dozen countries.
Sometimes, his European friends confront him with what they see as growing flaws in American society. When this happens, Tom does not shirk his intellectual responsibilities. While deeply progressive at heart and concerned about emerging dysfunctions in his adoptive land, he can never forget what America has given to him. Through perseverance and dedication, Tom prospers and grows in a country that has given him the space, the freedom, and the opportunities which enable him to keep his faith and to overcome all the challenges that 20th century history has thrown at him. This is more than the tale of one man’s life. It is a personalized story of the 20th century, complete with all of its horror and all of its promise. It is a Horatio Alger narrative based on unadulterated facts. It is the saga of an immigrant to the Promised Land.
American sociologist C. Wright Mills said that the central task of social science is to reveal the intersection of biography and history - the individual and social structure. The story which unfolds in these pages is a vivid illustration of this process - how our chaotic, global environment shapes our lives.
Humanity’s Future: The Next 25,000 Years.
The story evolves from mundane, early twenty-first century contemporary politics to a cosmic apotheosis. The first chapters examine the struggles of current nation states, with a special focus on the United States. Presidential successions, immigration, the economy, the energy crisis, the war on terrorism, etc.
History advances through the constant ebb and flow of progress and retrogression, taking one step back for every two steps forward. In the near future, the US and the Western Hemisphere suffer great decline. However, there occurs a Renaissance - the Great Awakening. The Western Hemisphere, a new confederacy called Hispaniola, once again will provide renewed leadership and inspiration to the world.
Gradually, there is world unification, and expansion into space. In time, there is a federated Earth - Gaia - which expands into the Solar System - Solaria. There are many ups and downs and tragedies, even in the distant future. However, bit by bit, war between nations becomes something of the past and humankind relies increasingly on true science.
Scientific progress means space travel, the conquest of space, super communication networks, and above all: the science of the mind. True science is not mechanistic. It is the science of consciousness.
Humanity is a forward moving intelligence. It moves towards perfect knowledge - what primitive cultures have called “God.” Humanity becomes a unified macro-organism, now called Solaria. In addition, there is A.I. (Artificial Intelligence).
Throughout this history, dozens of figures appear. They are major historical figures, some bad, some good, some related to each other in long dynasties. They are society’s political and scientific leaders and protagonists. They help humanity to overcome conflict, wars and other challenges.
Solaria is the leading anti-entropic life-force in the galaxy and ultimately in the universe, counteracting the universe’s relentless race towards ultimate entropy and oblivion.
The narrative culminates in a apotheosis when, in the late twenty-fifth millennium, Solaria begins to expand into the galaxy in order to humanize it. Because of Solaria/humanity, the universe becomes self-aware. Humanity evolves towards the Omega point, the point in infinity where total knowledge is achieved.
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Searching For Christine
Searching for Christine is a fun, fast-paced cloak-and-dagger novel. Matt is a young professor in California. He and his girlfriend Christine are deeply in love. Christine goes to a medical convention, but then she disappears - somewhere in Europe. Matt frantically goes searching for her. This takes him to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Budapest and many other places, each time finding clues about Christine's fate and whereabouts, but arriving just moments too late to rescue her. He bumps into mysterious men and women, not knowing whether they are friend or foe. His trek across Europe is a dangerous but exciting adventure, involving violence, political intrigue and criminal conspiracy. It is also a travelogue, Dan Brown-style. It is humorous and knowledgeable, with surprises in every chapter.
I Spent My Life Practicing Politically Incorrect Sociology
This book is an anthology of 376 articles and essays. Some of these have been published in places like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Playboy. The items are very diverse. They include amusing short essays, serious sociological analyses, postmodern narratives, political diatribes, and critiques of many prevailing assumptions. I analyze dozens of social issues and political events, I debunk the reactions to these by lay people and by academicians. I take on political correctness as well as stereotypical responses to inequality, crime, sex, race, terrorism, etc. The work is the product of nearly 40 years of experience in teaching, publishing and arguing, as well as my rich international background.
Letters from the House of the Yellow Star, written by Margit Gorog
This is a series of letters written to me by my grand-mother in 1944, when she and the rest of my family were corralled into the Budapest Jewish ghetto and prepped for deportation to Auschwitz. While my grand-mother survived the Holocaust, she was pretty sure when she wrote these pages that she would not. These letters are comparable to Anne Frank’s diary.