Inspirational saga of overcoming adversity in A PILGRIM FOR FREEDOM

by Michael Novakovic

Verdict: Inspirational saga of overcoming adversity in the face of imminent danger resonates in A PILGRIM FOR FREEDOM.

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Patriot Michael Novakovic and his family embark on a harrowing journey of survival and redemption in the midst of bloodshed, civil strife, genocide, and unimaginable sorrow, ultimately earning honorable medals—including the South Vietnamese Medal of Honor and the Bronze Star Medal.

A PILGRIM FOR FREEDOM chronicles Novakovic’s arduous trek down multiple paths in his lifetime, which serve to significantly and profoundly influence his dynamic evolution from an adventurous, mischievous child to a courageous and decorated soldier.

The admirable resilience of Novakovic and his family to persevere against seemingly insurmountable odds, such as the author’s childhood in Croatia and being a refugee in Italy during World War II—by way of Europe, South America, and America—is a powerful testament to the unshakeable human spirit and the will to survive. Novakovic brings his family and experiences to life from the pages of his book in such a poignant way, that this reviewer was moved to tears at points in the book: specifically, the author’s vivid memory relative to the unspeakable horror of war.

“We turned a corner on that winding, dirt road leading to Viggiu and saw a horrific scene. A woman was lying in the middle of the road, pleading for mercy from a group of men who were attacking her. Communist Partisans were stabbing her with bayonets and torturing her. They seemed determined to inflict as much pain as possible on her and other victims and to prolong the agony as long as possible before killing them. Around the woman, strewn on the sides of the road, were dying Italian body guards who had been assigned as protection for the woman.”

While major portions of the book portray grim situations experienced by Novakovic, the author also cleverly interjects humor. For example, in Chapter 5, Novakovic recounts inserting horse dung into boxes usually filled with cigarettes for Italian soldiers. The author also describes how he placed a burning box under an Italian military truck, resulting in blowing it up. No one was in the truck, of course!

A PILGRIM FOR FREEDOM is structurally sound in terms of narrative, flow, and characterization. The book would be more manageable in terms of ease of readability if it were published in two volumes or if chapters were condensed. Clocking in at 61 chapters, A PILGRIM FOR FREEDOM seems lengthy for an e-book. It should be read at least twice to fully appreciate the value of patriotism and freedom Novakovic so nobly expresses.

~George Furukawa for IndieReader

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