Mira Slovak was born in Czechoslovakia and endured both the Nazi occupation and the brutal Russian liberation. He joined the Czech Air force, rising to captain by the age of twenty-one. When he could no longer tolerate life under the Communists, he hijacked an airliner and flew across the Iron Curtain to freedom.
He went to work for the CIA and was eventually sent to the US and given a job as Bill Boeing, Jr.'s personal pilot. When Boeing began racing hydroplanes in the late 1950s, Mira was his driver.
During his ten-year career as a hydroplane driver, he won many races and two national championships. He met presidents and dated movie starlets. After a serious hydroplane accident, Slovak switched to airplanes, and won another national championship. When he retired from racing, he became a stunt pilot and public speaker and talked about the value of freedom and how we should value it above everything else.
He outlasted Communism and when it collapsed in 1990, he returned to his home, only to realize that his true home was, and always would be, the United States.
David Williams is the executive director of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum and has been involved in hydroplane racing his whole life. Through his work with the museum, he has restored over a dozen of the world's most famous race boats and has become one of the foremost authorities on hydroplanes. He has been driving race boats for over forty years. Williams was the race boat coordinator and primary stunt driver for the MGM film, Madison. He began writing about racing in 2000 and A Race to Freedom: The Mira Slovak Story is his ninth book on the sport.