Fireball Lily: Christa-Maria's (Extra)Ordinary Travels, 2000–2014 (Memoirs, Part II)
Christa-Maria Beardsley


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  • Retail List Price: $33.00
  • Shipping & Handling: $3.00 for one or more copies in continental US
  • ISBN: 978-1-941799-78-9
  • Publication Date: Apr 3, 2018
  • 6" x 9", cloth-bound hardcover with dust jacket, 454 pages
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Fireball Lily offers a vivid, firsthand account of Christa-Maria Beardsley's wide-ranging global travels, an endeavor she pursued energetically for a full fifteen years after her retirement from academia. From the Buddhist monasteries of Thailand and Japan and the imposing grandeur of Victoria, Niagara, and Iguazù Falls to the moai of Easter Island, the North Pole's otherworldly beauty, and the stark poverty of Hong Kong's fishing communities, Ms. Beardsley's destinations elicit her fascination with the varied expressions of both nature and human culture. Informed by a rich personal history and an enduring concern for human suffering, the author's keenly appreciative eye takes in the full range of socioeconomic conditions – from the tragic to the unimaginably luxurious – and the virtually endless quirks of human personality. Indeed, at the heart of the author's travelogue are the people she meets along the way, a cast of characters she treats with her hallmark blend of curiosity, humor, and moral discernment.

About The Author

Christa-Maria Beardsley

Born in 1932 in Hannover, Germany, Christa-Maria Beardsley immigrated to a Michigan farming community in 1954. In 1968, after spending her junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, she graduated from Indiana University–Bloomington with a BA in Germanic languages and literature, and she earned a PhD in the same discipline, again at IU–Bloomington, in 1972. She taught at IU–South Bend for the next twenty years, developing several summer programs for overseas study in Germany and publishing two books of literary criticism: E. T. A. Hoffmann: Die Gestalt des Meisters in seinen Märchen (1975) and E. T. A. Hoffmanns Tierfiguren im Kontext der Romantik (1985). Passionate about classical music, Ms. Beardsley moved back to Bloomington in 1995, when she began hosting house concerts that spotlighted performances by students from IU's Jacobs School of Music. Since her retirement, she has traveled extensively around the world, visiting places as far-flung as Antarctica, Mongolia, and the North Pole.

The author is proud to donate all proceeds from the sale of this book to the following charitable organizations.

Doctors Without Borders, in memory of my late, beloved husband, Major Wayne Roscoe Beardsley, MD, and his deceased son, Captain Peter Beardsley, MD.

The Carter Center, also in memory of my late husband.

The Christa-Maria Endowed Scholarship Fund, created by the author, which will provide scholarships annually to college students enrolled in the Vienna music program offered by the Institute for the International Education of Students.


"This autobiography includes part of historical interest about the taking over of power in Germany by Hitler, about the hardships endured during WWII, and about the life and government in East and West Germany prior to their unification. It includes great insights into the cultures . . . of Germany, France, and Italy, where the author lived, studied, and traveled extensively. The work includes analysis of American universities, both as to strengths and weaknesses, from one who had a basic education in Germany, started her life on a cattle farm in Michigan as an 'au pair,' and after being widowed at the age of 25, obtained a Ph.D. in the U.S. when 40. She then became a generally admired professor who exerted much effort to enrich university studies through innovative summer programs in formerly East and West Germany. . . .

"I too was in Germany prior to Hitler's taking power, heard a major speech by Hitler, and stayed at a home where the son finally, not much unlike the author's father, appeared in a 'brown shirt' Nazi uniform."

—William Whipple, Jr., Brigadier General, United States Army (1909–2007)