Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Review: The Making of a Heretic by Henry J. Flandysz

“The Making of a Heretic” by Portage author Henry J. Flandysz (Haven on Earth Books, $17.95) offers intriguing insights into the life and beliefs of a veteran educator who also served in the Air Force.

Subtitled “How the World Out There Ruined a Good Catholic Boy”, the well-designed self-published paperback is over 440 pages, including an assortment of family and other photos.

It explores Flandysz’s introduction to schooling and religion in Bay City, where his parents ran a local flower shop.

The entertaining memoir examines his religious upbringing and assorted other youthful adventures, including unusual hitchhiking trips.
Flandysz enlisted in the Air Force in 1961 and ended up serving in Turkey; he also traveled a bit in Europe. He came back to the states and graduated from Central Michigan University. In 1968, in Chicago, he was arrested for “mob action” during protests at the Democratic National Convention.

The author, who taught high school in Dexter for decades, uses his memoirs to discuss a variety of subjects,
maintaining thought provoking, controversial views that may not necessarily be politically correct.

Flandysz was influenced by a trip to Germany in the early 1970’s where he visited the death camps at Dacau and Auschwitz; a 1983 newspaper article spurred further interest.

Sometimes providing more detail than necessary, Flandysz explores his relationships in his three marriages. He also writes about making the discovery that his grandfather had been institutionalized for 38 years.

Flandysz is at his best when describing his youthful experiences, although a trip with his students to visit inmates at Jackson Prison certainly provides memorable moments.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, March 7, 2012.

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