Czechmate: From Bohemian Paradise to American Haven

Front Cover
AuthorHouse, Mar 15, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 792 pages

These reminiscences are an intimate account of Mila Rechcgls saga, his fascinating life, his varied and successful professional career, and his highly visible public life, encompassing some fifty years, since the earliest childhood in a small hamlet in northeastern rural Bohemia to his government career in the Worlds Capital, Washington, DC and spending his retirement years in active scholarship and voluntary work for non-profit organizations. He views his life as a chess game, in which he confronts various challenges head-on, usually ending with a checkmate in his favor.

He describes his idyllic youth at family mill, in an area known as Bohemian paradise, talks fondly of his parents and grandparents, the time he spent in a one-class rural school, followed by eight years in gymnasium in Mlada Boleslav, four during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and four in the post-War era under the communist threat. After successful escape from communist Czechoslovakia, he immigrates to America, spending his greenhorn years in New York City, working in a glass jewelry factory. He gets a scholarship, is accepted by a prestigious Ivy League school (Cornell) and with skimpy English manages getting his bachelors degree in biochemistry in two and half years, followed by Masters and Ph.D. Gets hired by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda where he conducts some pioneering research on enzyme turnover and later is offered training in science policy and administration, leading to his appointment as Special Assistant for Nutrition and Health, and later is put in charge of research at the US State Departments Agency for International Development.

Beyond the call of duty, he publishes numerous books and in his spare time, devotes energies to organizing an international Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences into a first-class institution and does premier research on immigration history.

 

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Contents

A The Land of My Ancestors
3
The Czech the Musician
14
The Czech Character
21
B Growing
29
My Grandparents
37
My Earliest Memories
43
My Primary Education
49
The War Years and the Aftermath
57
Visiting Our Czech Relatives
403
Research Program Policy and Development
411
Research and Institutional Grants Council Review
417
Research Project Evaluation
423
Overview of Malaria Research Program
431
Institutional Grants Program
439
Taking Part in
447
Reorganizing the Agency
456

Not Just Room and Board
64
My Professors
70
Russians Are Coming
82
Maturita
89
The First Days of Freedom
95
12
96
A Close Call
103
Emigrating to the
109
A Greenhorn in the New World
115
First Days on the Smiths Farm
121
My First Semester
128
Once a Czech Always a Czech
134
My InLaws
143
Becoming a Nutritionist
150
Research Can Be an Obsession
162
Probing Amino Acid Metabolism
172
B Making a Living
180
Getting Accustomed to New Surroundings
186
Its a
193
Buying a House
200
Keeping up with Jack
212
Its a Girl
219
ParisLondonEdinburgh
229
Happening of the Unthinkable
241
First Contacts with the Old Homeland
250
20
256
At the Crossroads of My Career
263
Making New Friends
272
As Special Assistant for Nutrition and Health
279
Community Nutrition Program
285
A Retrospective Look at My Science Record
293
B On the Home Front
299
Life Goes
305
Almost Normal Again
313
On Becoming Forty
320
When the Tragedy Struck
328
Our Silver Anniversary
335
Jack Getting His Masters
341
Karen Graduating from College
347
Going Home
354
19
360
Velvet Revolution
367
The Real Homecoming
374
Kevins Arrival
383
Kristin Kollecas Is Born
389
Pauls Arrival
396
With the AID Office of Science Advisor
466
Becoming Research Review Director
474
x
476
Developing Procedures for the Review of SCI Proposals
482
Issues of Special Concern
488
The PSTC Program Benefits to the
497
Areas of Emphasis in CDR Program
504
Assisting East European Science
516
Introducing East European Scientists to Peer Review
528
State of Science and Technology in East Europe
537
Developing Food Security Indicators
546
A The Last Five Years in the 20th Century
553
My Class Reunion after Fifty Years
560
My Memorable Seventieth Year
571
In Pursuit of My Ancestors
577
B The New Millennium
587
8
593
Aftermath of 911
600
46
603
The Jamaican Vacation
612
Birds of Feather Flock Together
618
In Shadow of Iraqi Conflict
628
An Unexpected Invitation to Prague
636
From the Groundbreaking to the Dedication of New Center
646
Step by Step into the New Year
655
My 75th Birthday
661
In Jacks Limelight
670
Jacks New House
683
Time for Sunny Florida Beaches
691
Visiting the Czech Republic
697
What Prompted My Extracurricular Activities?
707
Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food
717
1
723
12
724
23
726
Postscript
729
6
735
28
744
Index
749
5
750
64
755
31
759
72
761
42
764
56
766
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About the author (2011)

Mila Rechcigl, as he likes to be called, is a versatile person with many talents, a man of science and organization professionally, and renaissance man by breadth of his knowledge and scholarly interests. Born in Czechoslovakia to a son of the youngest member of the Czechoslovak Parliament, he spent the War years under Nazi occupation and after the communists coup dtat escaped to the West and immigrated to the US. He received training as biochemist at Cornell University and later served as a research biochemist at NIH. Following his additional training he became a science administrator, first at the DHEW and later at US Department of State and AID.

Apart from his scientific and science administrative pursuits, he served as an editor of several scientific series and authored more than thirty books and handbooks. Beyond that, he is considered an authority on immigration history, on which subject he had written extensively. He was also one of the founders of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) and for many years served as its President.

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