This is the true story of a young Ukrainian boy who survived the horrors of war. It was the Bolsheviks who first brought famine and devastation to his small village, and then the Nazis. It was a toss up as to who was worse. Children are resilient and still manage to play and have fun even in the worst of times, but even that was taken away when the threat of a firing squad forced the young lad and his father to run away from their village.
They are then refugees, seeking safety anywhere they can find it, but hoping that the war would soon be over and the allies would be in Germany giving refuge to the thousands of displaced persons that were flooding into the country. His father is killed in an explosion, his brother taken by the Nazis to work in a factory, and his mother was abandoned in the old house that had been their home for generations.
The war is over and he settles in England, but because of the Iron Curtain, he is unable to find his brother or even hear anything about his mother. At the end of the book, there is a reunion and the pieces come together.
It is a story of suffering, survival, and patriotism. It is an interesting story, but so similar to many others of its kind that I have read. It sounds a lot like my own father-in-law's story. In a group of one thousand refugees, there are one thousand stories, all the same, with the small details changed. It is important to know history, and the suffering that war causes, and that is why these stories should be read and passed on and learned from. How sad that these people would have suffered for nothing.
3 1/2 stars