A remarkable and gripping account of a boy fleeing a war-torn nation and eventually flourishing in America.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

A Pilgrim for Freedom

As the rumble of World War II draws closer, a young boy leaves behind his once-comfortable life in Split, Yugoslavia, to embark on a turbulent adventure.

This debut memoir opens in July 1943, with the 11-year-old Novakovic in flight from his hometown, where “the Axis Powers made life impossible for us.” He recalls street executions and even recounts a time when he was shot at on the way home from school. This new existence, lived in perpetual fear, stands in stark contrast to his past, when he would explore the catacombs beneath the Diocletian Palace, a part of which was owned by his wealthy family. He describes his father possessing three automobiles “when simply owning one was a novelty” and, while dining, how his grandparents would place a gold ducat under the children’s plates as a reward for finishing the meal. Leaving almost everything behind, the family begins an odyssey that first takes it westward to Italy. Suffering with a toothache on the road to Maggio, young Novakovic is unaware that his own personal journey will lead to Buenos Aires and New York. The memoir is divided into four parts, determined by a key moment in the author’s life: “From Split to Milano,” “Becoming an American,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” and “From an Officer to a Businessman.” Each section remains engaging in its own right. Many passages are so vivid that they startle the reader. At one point, the author describes a fighter plane bearing down on him: “He was also shooting in my direction. I could have decided, like Cary Grant in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, North by Northwest, to run and try to find cover….But I did not choose to use my speed. Instead I stood, looked up, and waved at the pilot.” Yet, beyond war’s chaos, this work examines a life punctuated by achievement, as the author reflects on a dazzling career in the military and as a successful entrepreneur. Written with humility and elegance, Novakovic’s memoir displays a solid command of transnational history, which he wraps effortlessly around his own story, giving the memoir a greater cachet. This book should appeal to readers manifesting an interest in World War II or anyone searching for inspiration in the tenacity of others.

A remarkable and gripping account of a boy fleeing a war-torn nation and eventually flourishing in America. 

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-77010-8

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

more