Dreams of My Comrades // A Dream Come True for Local Author Scott Zuckerman
Not every 'wannabe' author gets the benefit of having a Pulitzer Prize winning author as a high school english teacher. Scott Zuckerman was mentored for three semesters by Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, at Stuyvesant High School. "He was a wonderful teacher. Colorful. Memorable. When I write, I can still hear his voice in the background as he looks over my shoulder." McCourt was among the first to encourage Scott to continue his writing, but then a medical career got in the way.
Dr. Scott Zuckerman moved to Park City from New Jersey in 2001. The shift in location precipitated a shift professionally as he changed from pediatrics to medical acupuncture for adults. Through one of his patients, Scott met a man he felt could be the subject of a book that needed to be written.
"I'm interested in WWII history and have a special place in my heart for veterans. They've experienced and witnessed things we can not imagine and their lives have been irreversibly changed by their service, often without appropriate recognition or appreciation” notes Scott.
Scott's subject insisted his name not be used and the book not be published until after his death. "I do not know why he shared his story with me, when he spent his entire life keeping it a closely guarded secret, not even revealing the details to his psychologist at the VA Hospital."
The book tells the story of a troubled, old man who develops a friendship with a younger man from an entirely different background. "It's about the evolution of that friendship. It asks and tries to answer the question, what is the truth? I think Dreams of My Comrades could be described as the bastard lovechild of Unbroken, Tuesdays with Morrie, and The Usual Suspects. It should appeal to anyone interested in history, and even more so to anyone interested in the human condition."
The process had a profound effect on both of them and hopefully, was cathartic as well. "His psychologist at the VA felt in her final meeting with him, he seemed greatly unburdened. For me the greatest change in my perspective is that I now realize anything we think we 'know' about history is conjecture at best, manipulative propaganda at worst. At no time in our history is this realization more pertinent than today, in our era of 'alternative facts' and 'fake news'. We think we know history, but we only really know what those in power want us to know, or what we choose to hear."