Different cultures, lives connected by friendship

By admin October 17, 2012 18:16

Different cultures, lives connected by friendship

Different cultures, lives connected by friendship

Santana and Saúl: A Dual Memoir

By Saul Diskin and Santana Acuña

Available at Amazon.com

Hardcover: $28.99      Paperback: $15.96      Kindle version: $3.03

Local Phoenix author Saul Diskin’s new book, Santana and Saúl: A Dual Memoir, is a fable for our turbulent times when people and cultures are divided by politics and media. The book is a timely illustration of how men of of disparate views can live in harmony with each other, and written in a way that makes it hard to put down.

It would be difficult to imagine two men, Santana Acuña and Saul Diskin, who are more different from each other. Of all the superficial characteristics that identify a person they share only two: they are almost exactly the same age, and they are both sons of immigrants whose families fled their desperate circumstances to make a home in the new land.

Santana’s parents fled the Mexican revolution and the depredations suffered by those in the countryside as the marauding combatants destroyed their traditional existence and settled in southern California. Saul’s parents, fleeing the institutional persecution suffered by eastern European Jews and were drawn to the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York.

Santana’s father died ten days before he was born. His overwhelmed mother gave him to her mother to raise. His loving abuela, an old country woman, saw no need for Santana to have shoes, learn English or have friends.

When he was ten, his mother reclaimed him. From the protection of his loving grandmother he was plunged into a world of violence and discrimination. Married and drug addicted at 17, a career criminal soon after, his long prison career began at age 26.

Saul, the author, spent several years as a restless wanderer. In California, the two of them met and became immediate friends. Circumstances intervened and they lost contact with each other for 48 years.

When they eagerly resumed their friendship they learned how different their lives had been. Santana, after spending most of his adulthood in prisons was now a Christian, the pastor of a small church in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The book explores their return to the closeness they once shared despite their differences. Their lives are shown in alternating chapters, detailing the fascinating experiences that shaped them.

Many topics are covered: the treatment of the Mexican-American underclass, the failed prison system, the unresponsive public mental health system, drug addiction, and others.

By admin October 17, 2012 18:16
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