Edward Keck, the youngest of five first-generation German-American children, endures an impoverished childhood due to his father’s desertion and his mother’s poor health during the WWII era. He and two brothers face difficulties while temporarily boarded in a New York orphanage. Returning home to Long Island, Edward and his next older brother Ernst share dangerous but often thrilling adventures. Their activities included pursuing in a row boat the oil tankers in the shipping lane, facing neighborhood bullies, fort building, surviving hurricanes, fires, and more. In his struggle to find his place in the world, Edward learns about prejudice, sacrifice, self-confidence, and love while supported by strong family bonds and two devoted neighbors.
Edward Keck spent four years as an Air Force Electronics Technician and Radio Operator. He acquired an A.A.S. degree in Electrical Technology in New York and a B.S. degree in Business Management from Rollins College in Florida.
Initially he worked as a Field Service Technician in Pennsylvania, then he relocated to New York to start a career in technical writing. He was promoted from Junior Technical Writer to Technical Publications Supervisor and Logistics Manager. His career spanned 41 years in New York, California, and Florida, where he settled and is now semi-retired. A published author of Technical Writing for Private Industry, he created and taught two quarter semesters on Technical Writing for Florida Institute of Technology. He created and presented an extensive series of lectures on the “history of the New Testament Canon” and on the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, and “The writings of Flavius Josephus.” Ed periodically works as a technical editor, and is a member of both the Space Coast Writers’ Guild in Melbourne, Florida, and a Writers’ Critique Group.
Island Park: A Memoir was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015.
Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch, volume 14, number 1: Island Park: A Memoir is Edward Keck’s personal story of a German-American boy’s experiences during WWII era Island Park in New York. Replete with an engaging and candid account of the adventures as he and his brother experience (and survived) exciting and sometimes dangerous exploits on the water is a fascinating account.
Criteria: Exceptionally well-written and presented, Island Park takes contemporary readers back to a long–gone era when life for kids was so very different than today. As entertaining as it is nostalgic, there are timeless and time–lost memories that will linger in the reader’s mind long after Island Park is finished and set back on a shelf. Very highly recommended for both personal reading lists and community library American Biography collection.
- Holly Fox Vellekoop, author of Teen Lovers said: Island Park by Edward Keck will have you entranced from the first page to the last. It’s an invitation to journey through a rip–roaring, yet poignant memoir with nuggets of memories that some of us can claim, too. With each page, you will want to know what happens next, and when it ends, you will wonder what else happened in Edward’s life. Enjoy!
- Dennis Hamilton of Bloominton, MN said: Island Park, a memoir by Edward Keck is an inspiring tale of hardship and survival amid poverty and prejudice as narrated by Ed, the youngest son of a German–immigrant family on Long Island, NY during WWII. The Keck family’s determination to remain unbroken against heavy odds provides deep insight into an important facet of our not–too–distant national history — in which America was truly a beacon of hope and a source of important lessons in the life of a vulnerable lad. Keck’s book is a triumphant achievement!
- Lizbeth Novelliere respiratory therapist and novelist said: Island Park is a painfully–honest story of one person’s challenging childhood. His strength and ability to endure poverty, abandonment, and prejudice with the help of his family will inspire you. A great read!
- Lisa Wacht, Director of Corporate Compliance, Wartburg, said: Reviewing your manuscript was truly a pleasure. I am grateful for the opportunity to have had a sneak preview of Island Park.
- Michael Barrella, Certified Financial Planner, said: Island Park is a wonderful story, thoroughly enjoyable reading that makes the scenes of Ed’s childhood come to life.
- Dr. Pat Benjamin Unger said: Looking back at what was then as quixotic allegory to the tune of “You Can’t Go Home Again”, in a unique form of memoir, presented as roman à clef
- Klaus Kolb author of Twelve Flags, One Life said: I couldn’t put it down.
- Valerie Allen said: Island Park, A Memoir by Edward Keck, is the story of a young boy, first generation German American, during the World War II era. Ed was the youngest of five children, abandoned by their father and loved, protected, and guided by their mother. For those of a “certain age” this book will bring back memories of life in the time of, oleo margarine, wringer washing machines, and catching and eating one’s dinner. The adventures and misadventures of Ed and his brothers will bring prayers for mother’s sons everywhere. It was a time of innocence, obedience, and struggle. Despite their life of poverty, hard work, and their mother’s poor health, this family portrays the strength of America. Each family member accepted responsibility, developed a strong work ethic, and supported a loving loyalty to each other.
- Kandi Siegel said: WOW! I am feeling so many emotions right now, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve read only half way through this book and I had to put it down for a while because my heart was literally breaking for this you man and his brothers and sister and mom. I will never complain about my life again after reading this compelling story. I have no right to complain about my life. No child should ever go through what these children have gone through. I give a big kudos to the mom in this story for her strength and courage for what she had to endure in the absence of her husband. I will give myself a couple days to breath and then I will pick it up again to finish because I am hoping for a happy ending with this family. They totally deserve it. BIG KUDOS to the author of this book as with every word he wrote, I could see, smell, feel every sound, every emotion as he was describing his and his family’s life. Beautiful written Mr. Keck.
Readership for Island Park Adults and High School Students.
- BISAC CODE
- BIO026000 BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
- JNF002000 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Adventures & Adventuers