Torn between his love of his motherland, Greece, and his adopted land, America, Thanasis Elias Vavaroutsos recounts the horrors of living in war-torn Greece and the strife of daily life in a city under the rule of Hitler's army, starvation, and an agonizing civil war. Simple pleasures and a loving, close-knit family kept a young boy's dreams of America alive.
To readers of Hellenic descendency, this book will bring both tears of pain from the knowledge of the suffering of Greek ancestors, but also joy and pride at being a part of Hellenic heritage, of the brave men and women, their sacrifice, endurance, and love of country.
To all readers, this book will serve as a reminder of what our ancestors have done to pave the current road of life that we travel in America. This is the story of one man, still torn between two loves - two countries - a primer on the history of Greece, and a revelation of the immigrant's struggle to be accepted in a new country.
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This is a story about a child, me, brought up by principled parents and a dedicated priest to become a religious advocate and perhaps, a priest. Sadly, ill-fated events altered my destiny and unavoidable obligations changed my theological hopes. This is a heartfelt story and a touching experience, perhaps unlike anything you have ever read. It is a story of an innocent child born in the midst of World War II and compelled to live a tainted life filled with fear, brutality, hunger and oppression. For the last five and a half years I spent nearly 30 hours per week writing this 404-page.
The book is separated into six different "parts" independent from each other, but the content of each part is important to the reader in order to perceive the total depiction of the book. In addition, although the book's title and the majority of the contents denote my life in Greece and America, a good portion is dedicated to immigration, Hellenic historic events, and the history of Greece - three related and important topics that form the frame to fit the picture. They are educational and informative chapters that construct and identify a much larger picture of Greek immigration, important Hellenic historic events from the past 2,500 years, and an unparalleled Hellenistic culture. The total picture of the book's content creates a highly inspiring, emotional and depressing story, designed to keep the reader attached and captivated.
The Odyssey of an Immigrant, the thesaurus of information and the historical events, will make those who read this book - especially Hellenes and Americans of Hellenic ancestry - feel overwhelmed with emotions and proud of their heritage.
However, this book is not written only for those with Hellenistic genes or immigrants in general. It is written for Americans as well and all other ethnicities around the globe. It is a reasonable expectation for countries that allow immigrants in their land, to know how the immigrants feel about their hosts. Although not as fortunate, the immigrants are equally as proud of their ethnicity, their culture, their traditions and their heritage. Hopefully, the new open-minded generations of privileged nations will recognize the tremendous effect and positive impact the multinational cultures have had in their country, and the stimulus they injected to their economies. Then, they will recognize that with mixed ethnicities, diverse societies, and a variety of cultures, the hosting nations of the world benefitted as much from the immigrants as the immigrants have benefited from them.