GOLDEN GHETTO: HOW THE AMERICANS AND FRENCH FELL IN AND OUT OF LOVE DURING THE COLD WAR
(Red Hen Press published September 1, 2013)
“Golden Ghetto” is a Cold War tale from France of
birth, growth and death of a huge U.S. Air Force base
as relived through the heretofore dormant memories
and voices of both the occupier and the occupied.
Tens of thousands of American GIs passed through Dèols-Châteauroux Air Station during the sixteen years that it was the largest U.S. Air Force supply base in Europe. Hundreds of hours of interviews and long forgotten photos provide for the first time a unique blend of voices seldom if ever heard. French citizens describe what it was like to have foreign troops roaming the streets of their city. The Americans recount what it was like to be viewed with initial distrust and suspicion, if not outright hatred, fueled by a local communist anti-American propaganda machine under the direct control of the Kremlin. When the end came and the base was padlocked, it was our reluctant friend and ally Charles de Gaulle who administered the coup de grâce and NATO vanished from France. Although “Golden Ghetto” is uniquely a French and American story, this saga is also a microcosm of what was experienced by the 120 million American men and women who served in the military during the Cold War, 27 million of them overseas. Considering the suspicions, jealousies, bigotry, and crass opportunism inherent whenever one foreign power occupies another, “Golden Ghetto” pieces together an improbable love story.
“I belonged to a communist family and I remember walking in the streets with petitions against the U.S. intrusion in France. People later realized that the Americans were manna from heaven who improved their lives. They were happy because of them. But I must say, I am surprised that it is an American not a Frenchman that is giving an in depth account of this period.”
Leandre Boizeau, Communist publisher of “La Bouinotte,” a leading regional magazine in Central France.
"As the only American who has tackled the task, Steve Bassett, in his book "Golden Ghetto" has provided a one-of-a-kind insight into the sixteen year life of an extraordinary air station closed by Charles de Gaulle's imperial edict. I found it fascinating reading and an accurate portrayal of military life that will probably never be seen again."
Air Force Major General John Riddle (Ret.)
“Steve Bassett's book demonstrates to his readers that across the Atlantic, in a provincial town of France, the memory of this American period is very long-lived.”
Jean-François Mayet, a member of the French Assembly, Senator l'Indre County, Mayor of Châteauroux
“Your book is one of a kind. There have been many books written by French authors about the Americans in France during the Cold War, but never one by an American writer. I know the books that have been written and have read many of them myself. There has been nothing to match what you offer.”
Mme. Lydie Gerbaud, press secretary for Jacques Chirac during his tenures as French President and Prime Minister.
"Steve Bassett sadly notes in his book,“Thousands of jobs for the French supported the local economy which grew by more than 33% in a few years with Uncle Sam…There was a time where one in six Berrichon received a cheque from the Golden Ghetto." And all that remains today is nostalgia."
Jean-François Donny, French journalist and author whose books include “U.S. Go Home.”
You can also pre-order through Amazon, click on red cover below.
THE BATTERED RICH (Ashley Books)
"The Battered Rich" presents an intimate
and incisive look of the buried phenomenon,
the rich battered woman in today's society.
The battered woman is never talked about
when it involves the rich. The rich are beaten behind closed doors. It is easier to find relief when one has the economic means. Poor women go to social agencies, but rich women go to Palm Beach, Bergdorfs, Cartier's, La Costa, and other expensive playgrounds. Through frank revealing interviews, we learn the pathetic plight of the affluent battered wife, the one with the credit cards and the socially prominent friends.
Through these shocking interviews of several battered wives we learn what led to the battering, what reception they found from the police, and other agencies, and why, when they were getting soundly beaten, often savagely, by their husbands, they chose to hide the cruelty. One Los Angeles plastic surgeon has rebuilt the faces of no less than ten rich women beating by their husbands. One is a wealthy former New York debutante, another a Newport Beach wife married to a rich dentist.
As Los Angeles Daily News reviewer Karen Kenny observed, "They live in places like Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, La Jolla and Del Mar, and belong to a secret sisterhood whose members prize alabaster reputations and 24-karat status above personal safety."
Available through Amazon.
Steve Bassett's World