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THE BEGUM'S MILLIONS is a little-known work by Jules Verne which follows the contest between two men, the inheritors of a vast fortune.  The men, one French and the other German, believe in their innate superiority of their respective nations--and each man sets out to prove it.  The Frenchman, Dr. Sarrasin, establishes a utopian city-state along the Oregon coast.  With an emphasis on sanitation and quality of life, Sarrsin's city contrasts with that of Dr. Schultze, the German whose city in the interior of Oregon is built on heavy industry and mining.  The German city (Stahlstad) soon prepares to war against the French using chemical weapons. 

Jules Gabriel Verne (1828-1905) was a French author who, along with British writer H. G. Wells, is considered to be one of the founders of the science fiction genre.  Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater  travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of space travel had been devised. He is the second most translated author of all time, only behind Agatha Christie.  A number of his books have been made in films several times.

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