I am from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, once home to the great American auto barons such as Edsel Ford, Horace Dodge, Russell Alger, the Jewetts, Chapins, Macauleys, etc., as well as many other leaders of 19th century American industry. At one point, Grosse Pointe boasted more yacht and sailing clubs per square mile than any other town in the States. The picture to the right is that of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, its neo-Venetian design recognized as Grosse Pointe's unofficial landmark.
I attended Columbia University, pursuing studies in European philosophy and Byzantine History. I am fluent in German and French; I read Italian. I have lived and worked in New York, London, Cairo, Washington DC, southeastern Europe and Vienna.
I am married to a Lugano-born artist, scholar, writer, troubadour and knight from an old Lombard family and who heads up a prominent collection of Old Masters paintings in Milan when not himself creating masterpieces. We live in Italy.
My family is originally from Detroit and lived the golden age of that city. My father was a senior design engineer at Cadillac during its peak glory days; an uncle started one of the first satellite companies in the state and, an avid pilot, was in the Aviation Hall of Fame. My mother taught in the Detroit public school system at the height of the riots, and later brought her design talents to the Detroit News and two major media companies in New York. Both my parents in their spare time fought back, with the aid of Senator Christopher Dodd (the father), communist infiltration in the Eastern Orthodox churches of the city (really). My paternal grandfather owned prominent bars and a bakery and had one of our homes custom-designed by an American architect; my maternal grandfather owned a printing press with one other partner. The J.L. Hudson department store was considered one of the most beautiful in the world of its day; the city circumvented prohibition and raked in a fortune, winning in the process the respect of no less than Al Capone of Chicago. It helped the war effort through its auto industry like no other city in the U.S., was visited by European royalty and one Japanese emperor, and the world-renowned Detroit Institute of Arts was the first museum anywhere to feature a painting of Van Gogh. The decline and fall of Detroit is a shame, but there are some attractive signs of revival, such as the revival of the famous train station by the Ford Motor company
My interest in Old Masters began at the invitation of Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein, the noted collector, whom I had interviewed on several occasions for The Wall Street Journal. This was during the time that I lived in Vienna and HSH offered me a position to work in a quasi-diplomatic capacity regarding lingering historical issues surrounding that family's legendary collection. My fascination for 20th century classical modern works, particularly Cubism, Futurism and Abstract Expressionim led to public relations work for Bugatti Automobillii and for an Elon Musk-Richard Branson engineering innovation start up in Los Angeles. The intersection between high art and great engineering is to me the foundation of all that is to be appreciated in civilization, classic or modern.
I am an author and a former journalist, fascinated by the role of History upon the present. After college I took trains across Europe, from London to Istanbul, in search of an overseas reporting position. I ended up living in the Balkans as a contributor to The Wall Street Journal Europe, living in and reporting on the periphery of the war-zones of Yugoslavia during the wars of the 1990s. This resulted in my first book contract and my non-fiction narrative, Shadows on the Mountain, a story about the monarchist-nationalist resistance in Yugoslavia during the two world wars. It also describes the culture of war literature and poetry that was the poignant consequence of those eras.
Of my book a critic wrote at Amazon: "The analysis is scrupulously objective, unbiased, and balanced. The focus, however, is on the philosophical dimension, the lessons of history that can be drawn from this tragedy.... [T]his is an invaluable book on this subject and one that should be read by anyone who wants to understand the World War II history of Yugoslavia". In the words of another reviewer: "This exquisite work is accompanied by biographical vignettes of key figures whose undaunted heroism bring deep appreciation of who they were, what they accomplished in the preservation of a nation, and why insurgents revered and feared their very existence." Another wrote at the Barnes & Nobles site: "This is a distinguished scholarly achievement, that is also accessible to the layperson. It is hard to imagine one reading this work, without being changed, without one's humanity and understanding opening and deepening." You may see more reviews of the work here. (Above and to the right a famous photo of British soldiers blinded by gas: a reminder of the experimental horrors of World War I in mustard gas, chemical warfare, and modern air combat technology).