Book Review: Cowboy from Prague
Reviewed by Madeline Barbush
The inspiring true story of a young Czech refugee finding success in America
Charles Ota Heller’s autobiography, Cowboy from Prague, is an uplifting and inspiring story about an immigrant achieving of the American Dream. Although his story begins as a young refugee fleeing the brutal Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, it proves to be a beautiful celebration of the strength and courage of immigrants from all over the world.
Heller divulges his greatest fears, hopes, and dreams in this book. It is a pleasure to look back with him, as if we were old friends, and see all that he has accomplished.
As a young boy, Charles and his parents were forced to flee Czechoslovakia after over 20 family members were captured by the Nazi efforts. Throughout the book, Heller jumps from the past to future and makes it clear that although the life he created for himself is thriving and practically luxurious. Still, he will never forget his roots—which were anything but a luxury. Each of these chapters is filled with both the struggles and the overwhelming successes that ultimately fulfilled his father’s bequest to become a great American.
Charles’s father always hoped his son would be wealthy enough to play golf. This book does an excellent job of discussing the complexities of achieving success enough to golf but not having your father here to play with you. The most touching moments in this story are when Charles reflects on these subtle abrupt changes in his life.
Back in his home country, young Charlie and his family were one of the wealthiest families around, and later on he admits to the guilt he felt knowing his fellow Czechs were suffering, while he was thriving in the land of the free. I loved reading about his innermost conflicted thoughts as an immigrant. If anything I wish he had touched on the subject even more.
A great portion of Cowboy from Prague is about Charles’s success in America. This includes stories about his work life as a writer, investor and entrepreneur. I appreciated how open he was with his successes and wealth. His eclectic career is something many people probably strive for. But at times it feels like it focuses too much on money.
Heller’s life story is sure to inspire you to keep pushing beyond obstacles small and large. Cowboy from Prague acts as an important reminder to persevere and push through adversity.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Immigration
Print Length: 306 pages
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