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Donald Gallinger

Donald Gallinger
Occupation Novelist, Short story writer
Genres Literary Fiction, Coming of Age
Official website

Donald Nelson Gallinger (born May 4, 1953) is author of several novels. His most recent work, The Master Planets,[1] (a novel that has received acclaim from sources such as ForeWord Magazine[2]) tells the story of one Polish partisan fighter’s savagery during World War II and its devastating effects on her American family years later. Centering on the fictional woman’s teenage son, Peter, the novel seeks to show how the unknown past can reach into the unwary present.




Early life

Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Gallinger grew up hearing first-hand stories of World War II partisan fighters from friends of his parents. These stories, absorbed during childhood, probably inspired a more scholarly interest in the politics of resistance later captured in his fiction. The question “Why didn’t more victims fight back?” or, more pointedly, “What happened to the people who did fight back?” became one of the thematic building blocks of The Master Planets. Gallinger sought answers in source materials at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, and from real-life accounts in books like The Bielski Brothers, The Avengers, and A Partisan's Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust. The search in turn gave rise to more impenetrable questions: At what point does self-defense become indefensible, the victim become the perpetrator? Does violence ever actually stop violence—and if not, then what? Can we fight against monstrosity while keeping in check the monster within ourselves? How many generations are touched by a war long after the peace treaty is signed? And finally: After experiencing the world’s brutality, can the human heart find its way back to peace?

Don's love of Rock & Roll also permeates The Master Planets. Like most people of his generation, he watched the first live American television appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. At age ten, he knew instinctively that, in the span of a single hour-long television program, the world had undergone a sea-change in attitude towards youth and creativity. From that moment on, he listened rapturously to every new song on the radio, every new innovation in popular music. He recognized in rock n’ roll, in all its permutations, a music that resonated with feelings he had about himself and world around him.

Education and adult life

Don received his BA English from Connecticut College, his MA (English) from Rowan University, and his Doctorate (Education) from Rutgers University. For 23 years he has taught high school English in Southern New Jersey. Don’s the recipient of numerous awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Dodge Foundation, and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation (which funded his study of source materials at the U.S. Holocaust Museum). He lives in New Jersey, with his wife. His first completed novel, Ain’t No Sin to Rock and Roll, was optioned for film by Miles Chapin. His second, Tina’s ’68 Mustang, is under revision. The Master Planets is Don’s third completed novel. Currently he is working on his next novel, Stupid School, and a collection of short stories.[3]

External links


  1. ^ Gallinger, Donald (2008). The Master Planets. Kunati. ISBN 978-1601641595. Retrieved 2008-04-14.  
  2. ^ Morris, Edward (2008). "Review of Donald Gallinger's The Master Planets". ForeWord Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-25. "Gallinger deftly orchestrates this clash be-tween [sic] the glitzy, egocentric rock world that first enchants Peter and the grim, self-sacrificing world his mother was forced to confront, without distorting or minimizing the significance of either. With smooth shifts from the balmy Jersey shores to the frozen Polish forests, this intriguing tale reads like a movie in embryo."  
  3. ^ "Meet author Donald Gallinger". Donald Gallinger official website. Retrieved 2008-03-27.  


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