Iron or Steel: A Memoir on Living Dreams
Linda M. Best, contributor
Marek Maria Pienkowski was born in Łódź, Poland, on Sept. 8, 1945, with a hereditary title of nobility in the country enduring the tribulations of World War II longer than any other in Europe. Pienkowski’s rebellion against Poland’s loss of independence after the war began at age five or six, when he became a founding member, with two friends, of the modestly-named “Organization to Liberate Poland.” The trio recognized that liberation required secret identities—so the author was Snake and his friends were Fox and Wolf. His conflicts with the Polish Communist Party escalated to the point where he left Poland rather than accepting an offer of party membership. He eventually made his way to the United States, where he pursued opportunities in Philadelphia, Baltimore, East Lansing, and Detroit before settling in Knoxville, Tennessee. A noted Polish-American scientist, biomedical entrepreneur, and founder of a network of clinics, Dr. Pienkowski advanced cancer research, genetic engineering, and treatment of immunological disease. He has been a prolific patron of the arts, formally accredited cultural ambassador, and counselor to US governors, representatives, senators, and presidents. From breaking the suffocating confines of Communist rule to making groundbreaking medical discoveries, achieving great financial success, and acting to bring human cultures together, the author looks back at his extraordinary life in this inspirational memoir.