Like father, like son: Utahn finishes writing father’s novel after it went missing for 55 years

Dec 17, 2023, 2:54 PM

A book started by Julian Bernstein in 1965 was lost to knowledge until his son, Charlie, found the ...

A book started by Julian Bernstein in 1965 was lost to knowledge until his son, Charlie, found the outline in 2019 and finished writing the story for his dad. (Charlie Bernstein)

(Charlie Bernstein)

MURRAY — Charlie Bernstein had never planned on becoming a fiction author, and didn’t know his dad had planned to either.

After Julian Bernstein had published a few textbooks, it appears he wanted to branch out. Fifty-two years after he died, his son, Charlie, discovered the science fiction outline Julian had started working on and decided it was a story that needed to be finished.

It takes place post-World War III, where main character Jimmy Hale and his friends are beginning a journey in their newly post-apocalyptic land to find resources. Throughout the journey, Jimmy has been entrusted with a secret, and it could mean life or death for his loved ones.

On the cover page of the thin typewriter paper Charlie Bernstein found, World War II veteran Julian Bernstein explained that he wanted to tell the story of another world war, dedicating this book to “those who died 1939-1945. May they rest forever peaceably, in the certain knowledge that their sacrifice has made the following story an impossibility.”

The dedication at the beginning of WWII veteran Julian Bernstein’s book, where he says the threat of a third world war has been made an impossibility because of sacrifices made in WWII. (Photo: Charlie Bernstein)

“It really does come out of his experience as a soldier in World War II,” Charlie Bernstein said.

Charlie Bernstein was 6 years old when his father died in 1967 from what Charlie calls poor health habits, and no one knew Julian Bernstein had started the book until Charlie was going through old folders in 2019.

“He wrote the description of World War III — effectively … the world’s changed, the United Nations is gone. They have something new, and they just couldn’t hold it together. And eventually, everyone bombs each other. … As far as we know, everyone’s gone. That’s kind of where it starts,” Charlie Bernstein said.

While the 372 page book, called “Jimmy Hale and the Last Tribe,” is completed and edited, Charlie Bernstein said he has yet to find a publisher.

“You can’t call publishers up, you can’t call literary agents up, you have to send a query letter, and I’ve been writing these query letters — but they get so many of them. Only 1-2% of the books get published,” Charlie Bernstein said.

If he can find a publisher, he has ideas for a prequel and two sequels to this first book.

To learn more about the book, watch this video or visit the new Facebook page for the book.

World War II veteran Julian Bernstein pictured before he died in 1967. (Charlie Bernstein)

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Like father, like son: Utahn finishes writing father’s novel after it went missing for 55 years