Inset shows Author Donald McPhail, with background photo of the author taken in 1959, at Giza.

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“The Millionaires Cruise: Sailing Toward Black Tuesday” is a unique first novel by Donald McPhail, now 78 years old. He was a longtime freelance writer, and for more than forty years a marketing executive in the airline and hospitality industries.

"The Guest From Johannesburg" is a sequel, and a powerful examination of human cruelty, hope and resilience. Despite explosive scenes of war, this is a gentle book, and an unwavering anti-war story. Meticulously researched, “The Guest From Johannesburg” is alive with tales of conflict and love, deceit and honor, politics and idealism.

Set in Hawaii, Asia and South Africa, “The Guest From Johannesburg” is a provocative and original saga that tells Duff Malone’s story, through conversations and flashbacks that vividly illustrate moments in his life, and the lives of family and friends. Narrator Marcus de Villiers is in Honolulu to write a story about Malone as he retires from a long and respected career with Pan American Airways. During his interviews, old friends are moved to tell their personal war-stories. These examples of cruelty and resilience — from Shanghai and Johannesburg in the thirties, to Pearl Harbor, Omori and Amache internment camp in the forties, to My Lai and San Francisco in the seventies — have startling consequences for Duff and his family.

“The Guest From Johannesburg” begins late in 1934, contrasting the debilitating worldwide depression with the exciting startup days of Pan American Airways in the Pacific. The brewing conflict with imperial Japan presents complications and delays for the airline, and crucial battles for America and its allies. This war and those that follow have grave implications for Duff and his family, and for America itself, as a nation in perpetual war.

Born in Santiago, Chile in 1940, McPhail was raised in Palo Alto, California. He traveled the world for many years, gathering ideas and observing different cultures. McPhail first discovered his interest in people and places in 1959, when he visited his father’s home country, South Africa, a place he loves and has visited many times since.

An avid sports fan, he attended Menlo College on a football scholarship, then joined the U.S. navy and spent two years as a sailor before qualifying for the Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he lettered in football and baseball. While at the Academy he was drawn to literature and the arts after visits to St. John's College, just outside the Academy’s main gate. He transferred to San Francisco State College, where he graduated in international relations and world literature and continued his football career.

During his full and varied life, McPhail has taken a unique path. While his career was in marketing and strategic planning, his passions were athletics, music and writing. Along the way, has sung with iconic singer Joan Baez, coached and trained with Olympic decathlon champion Bill Toomey, and was backup quarterback to the legendary Roger Staubach at Annapolis. At San Francisco State, he was twice voted all-conference quarterback, and was inducted into their athletic hall of fame in 2001. At twenty-eight he was national sales manager for the world's largest airline, and for the next forty years he managed and consulted for leading airlines, resorts, hotels and tourism bureaus in Hawaii, Oregon, Las Vegas and California. As a freelance writer, his first article was featured in the San Francisco Examiner in 1984. Since then his travel articles and political commentaries have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the globe.

McPhail lives in Northern California with his wife Gretchen, and coached Little League baseball with his grandson Jack, at the same ballpark in Palo Alto where his own baseball career began. For the fifteen years he devoted his energies to Hanna Boys Center, a leading residential school and treatment center for troubled boys. When he isn’t deep into his writing, he volunteers his time to organizes reunions and fundraising events for his old high school and college.ed