Few enjoy “Nature’s Gift” of extraordinary physical prowess and the sweet fruits of excellence that are its rewards. Men such as Babe Ruth, Jessie Owens and Tiger Woods are amongst them. So too is Mark Fein, an exceptional individual whose physical attributes led to his success in sports, and then celebrity, wealth and fame. The long journey, beginning with that of his forebears who survived the Holocaust, and culminating in his rise to fortune, is chronicled in Jonathan Kuhn’s new book.
“Nature’s Gift” is an action novel of sports, sex, love and growing up spanning three generations, from the hero’s grandparents in the Warsaw and Vilnius ghettos under Nazi subjugation during the height of World War II, to his parents who came to the United States searching for a brighter future amidst the racism and anti-Semitism pervading their environs. Their hopes and dreams would ultimately be realized by their son, Mark Fein, whose superior athleticism naturally led him to gravitate towards sports, which he excelled at beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The success of his pursuits would come hand in hand with his search for love in its myriad forms, degrees and shades, from pure sex to the Western ideal. This odyssey, of physicality, sensuality and celebrity is chronicled with utmost detail by the author. Kuhn shows the details, the perks and the problems Mark experienced, the highs of his romances and the downsides of the throngs of women he enjoyed, from his first love to his many mistresses, to the feelings that come from becoming a target of both terrorists and unrelenting nigh omnipresent paparazzi. This is a tell-all tale of an incredible man, a revelation not of his athletic achievements as a sportsman, but of his journey in love and life.
Befitting its subject matter, Kuhn’s work reads quickly and touches on many matters that will appeal to readers regardless of background as they explore the origins and the nature of a real-life sports hero, worshipped by media and fans, by pop culture and a celebrity-fixated society. “Nature’s Gift” shows Mark Fein for the complex multi-faceted being he is, placing his existence and his achievements within historical context, presenting the sequence that began with those who came before him, and ultimately revealing the summation of the past that defines his present and, perhaps, his future.
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