Unbridled, Jun 2008, $24.95
George Bailey felt he lived “A Wonderful Life” until the dot.com collapse wiped out his wealth; worried about the impact on his family, he thinks back to his youth when his grandfather seemed contented whether he was wealthy or broke. Needing inspiration to get past his gloom and doom, George goes to the place of his nineteenth century roots, Abbeville, Illinois.
This is where his grandfather Karl Schumpeter began working at as a clerk at his uncle's logging company before going to Chicago during the 1893 Exposition to trade in grain futures. After getting married, Karl returns to Abbeville where he thrives as a banker. In his late thirties Karl goes to France as part of the ambulance corps as WWI ignites Europe. However after the Great Depression’s Black Tuesday, Karl makes illegal loans to friends and family; he goes to prison for his actions. Always upbeat, he feels he disgraced his family; he was never quite the same, but once back with the love of his family never stopped trying. Now his grandson, George fears he will fail his family too.
Using the cycles of the twentieth century as a backdrop of rise and fall at a family level, Jack Fuller provides a great saga of an individual’s spirit embraced by his values to survive war, economic disaster, personal loss of loved ones and pride; yet through it all Karl kept rising like a phoenix. Fans will want to join George on his odyssey to discover how his ancestor remained optimistic even as he felt humiliated when he was caught in the American nightmare; staying upbeat is easy when you live the American dream. This is an excellent look at the impact of momentous events on people through a deep look at a caring person who would not make a footnote outside of his family.