Why I Wrote The Last Freedom

I met Viktor Frankl in an orphanage in Brazil.

Well, at least that’s where I read his amazing book Man’s Search for Meaning.

I’d heard about it from a Frankl fan I’d met at a reception. Astonishingly, after our short conversation about it, she sent me a dog-eared copy of it in the mail! Some time later, I took it with me to read while visiting a friend’s shelter for street children in the north of Brazil.

Michael F. Ryan
Dr. Viktor Frankl
And so, in a sweltering children’s refuge on the fringe of the Amazon territory, I discovered the full richness of life’s meaning.

I was blown away. Here was a man, Viktor Frankl, who endured the worst of what man has to offer man in the Nazi death camps of World War II, and yet his love for life was completely intact. In fact, his belief in life’s beauty and meaningfulness seemed even more powerful after his liberation.

I wondered: How is that possible? And if he is right – that life has meaning under any circumstances, up until one’s last breath – then isn’t that an urgent message for all of mankind?

In a word, yes! Look, I’ve worked in newspapers all my adult life, and I’ve noticed the light in the eyes of people in our wedding section, or those in the business section who’d just been promoted or given some award; likewise, I’ve seen the heartbreaking emptiness in the eyes of those who’d just been arrested. What’s the difference between them? One word: meaning.

I knew that this was a story and a message that could bring hope to those drowning in despair – and that even the world’s happiest souls could be uplifted by it. So, I dived into this tale head-first, writing a novel, The Last Freedom, that I hope will get the attention of Hollywood and make Viktor Frankl even more widely known.

Along the way, I had the thrill of a lifetime – meeting Dr. Frankl’s family, especially his extraordinary widow and life partner, Elly. And every time I’ve told someone about this story, I re-live the spark that ignited in me when I first read it, and it seems to turn a light on inside those I’m telling about it.

My dear friends, life does have meaning in every circumstance, and there is an indescribable urgency in shouting that from the highest peak. Get to know this amazing story, learn the “last of the human freedoms,” and let it make your light burn brighter so as to be a guide to others.

Trust me. I know from experience. It’s the most meaningful thing that will ever happen to you.


Michael Ryan

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Click here to read a few pages from The Last Freedom to sample the book.





All contents © Copyright 2015 Michael F. Ryan