I loved this wonderful "true" story, as told to Italian novelist, Fabio Geda (who meets the boy 10 years later after his ordeal). A 10-year-old Afghan becomes a refugee when his mother is forced to abandoned him in Iran, to save him from the dangers of remaining in their small village where the Taliban and other Afghan groups threaten his life as well as that of his family. The boy, tells his incredible story of survival, trekking, to find a safe haven as a refugee, through Iran, Turkey, Greece and finally to Turin, Italy. It is such an amazing survival story and it is heartwarming as well as heart-breaking to read. The tenacious will of Enaiatollah Akbari to survive illegal border crossings, mountain pass marches, a treacherous raft crossing from Turkey to Greek, the endurance of cruel and dangerous labor situations enforced by shady police and unscrupulous human traffickers -- is all riveting to read about. His determined spirit and undaunted courage and decency shine through no matter how dire the circumstance. It is really a miracle that he lived to tell his story. To think that today there are thousands like him making similar journeys and having doors slammed in their faces and almost every step of the way -- it is too sad to even contemplate. How cruel the world treats these innocents. Everyone should read this book or listen to the audio.
I thought this book was very well written and I learned a little about a "small" war that I previously knew nothing about -- the War in Cyprus just after WWII between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the English colonial occupiers. The book explores a marriage and the war experience of a young English military family -- the husband, a British Major and his wife and young twin daughters who are living on a Cyprus military base and experiencing the ugly side of military life, war and colonialism. The old "glory" of war and the ideals of the British militarism and Empire building are quickly fading -- when reality strikes home for this family caught in the midst of the events of this tragic conflict. The book is written with very sensitive attention to the emotional experiences of the characters involved. I loved the story, and the characters. I feel that this story relates universally to any war experience -- there is no such thing as a "small" war and the suffering all wars create bring suffering to all who get caught in it's cross currents. I highly recommend the book. Review by Rosediane Heffernan
This is a wonderful book. Watching the trials and successes of these incredible boys as they grow into men as part of the University of Washington crewing team and then go on to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics --- it is a riveting story told against the depression and the ominous, pre-WW11 historic backdrop. I also learned alot about the beauty and history of the sport of rowing and once I started reading -- I couldn't put the book down. --Rosediane Heffernan