Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, Jochanan Stenesh whose recent book, A World At Risk has just been published.
Jochanan is Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. He received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and has a long career of teaching, research. He has published many scientific papers and books.
Norm: Good day Jochanan and thanks for participating in our interview.
What motivated you to write A World At Risk?
Jochanan: Good day Norm and thank you for having me for this interview.
As to my motive for writing A World At Risk, let me put it this way. Having lived through, and personally experienced, two existential threats — first the rise of Nazism and its persecution and extermination of the Jewish people and then the birth of the State of Israel against overwhelming odds — I am keenly aware of gathering political storm clouds and imminent dangers to liberty and survival.
Today’s world seems to me to have many of these; it strikes me as indeed being a world at risk. This prompted me to want to sound an alarm, a warning, a wake-up call, if you wish, about what I saw as looming threats on the horizon.
In writing the book, I had two goals in mind. First, I wanted to provide readers with enough background to be able to appreciate the intricacies of these flash points and controversial issues. Second, and most importantly, I hoped that the imagined scenarios would, in some small measure, contribute to a much-needed effort to make sure the fiction does not become reality.
Norm: In view of their current trajectory, many of the scenarios you write about may be plausible, nonetheless, is predicting the future futile or even necessary?
Jochanan: You are quite right, predicting the future is not necessary, but it may be useful if it encourages people, especially those in leading positions, to take steps to prevent undesirable events from happening.
So I don’t think that predicting the future is futile; on the contrary, I think that it is beneficial. Take, for example, George Orwell’s novel “1984.”Rather than being futile, I believe that the book did a great service by alerting us to the dangers of losing privacy and freedom should “Big Brother” be allowed to take over.
Norm: How well do you feel you have achieved the goals and intentions of the book?
Jochanan: I hope that I have been successful in sketching out clearly the backgrounds of the flash points and controversial issues and shown convincingly how the imagined events could arise from them.
Norm: What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
Jochanan: Some of the references I used were the Encyclopedia Britannica and other like library sources, guide books to specific countries, articles on environmental and political issues, and the internet.
Norm: What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?
Jochanan: I felt that to make the imagined scenarios plausible, they had to segue from current realities. The challenge was to provide concise, but accurate, factual backgrounds, and then have smooth transitions from them to believable fictional events.
Norm: What would you say is the best reason to recommend someone to read your book and why do you think this is an important book at this time?
Jochanan: I recommend A World At Risk to readers to gain insight into the background of the flash points and controversial issues dealt with in the book and to become aware of the dangerous developments that can arise from them. That the book is timely and relevant to current affairs is indicated by the fact that, as it was in the process of being published, actual events were almost on the verge of overtaking the fiction.
Norm: To what degree has your scientific background influenced the writing of A World At Risk?
Jochanan: My scientific training has led me to be careful and meticulous in researching the backgrounds covered by the dispatches and to make sure that all of my facts were correct.
I am sure that my training is also responsible for my use of concise and precise writing, whether for the non-fictional portions or the fictional segments.
Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing A World At Risk?
Jochanan: Most amazing was the fact, mentioned before, that during the process of publication actual political events were almost on the verge of overtaking their respective fictional scenarios.
Norm: Do you worry about the human race?
Jochanan: Yes, I worry very much about the human race and the future of planet earth.
Unfortunately, wars have been with us since time immemorial. However, the current arsenal of weapons — especially biological and nuclear ones — is so much more formidable than it has ever been that wars now take on a vastly increased threat, both in terms of scope and intensity, than has ever been the case before.
Moreover, past wars, even the two world wars, were more or less localized geographically. But any future war involving biological and/or nuclear weapons, could engulf the entire globe. Particularly worrisome is the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists who would be even more reckless than crazed dictators and other unscrupulous rulers and might not flinch from actually using these weapons.
The brutality, the hatred, the bigotry that is till so wide-spread in the world today, the twenty-first century, does not bode well.
Norm: What do your plans for future projects include?
Jochanan: At the moment I am concentrating on the marketing of A World At Risk. I would like to see the book gain exposure and, hopefully, lead to some constructive thinking and deeds to bring about a more peaceful world.
Norm: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Jochanan: I look at this book as a call to action, so the question is what can we do now to avoid or, at least, forestall these futuristic scenarios.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and A World At Risk?
Information about me and the books I have written can be found
on the internet.
Norm: Thanks Once Again and Good Luck With All of Your Future Endeavors