Alexi: Orphans in Arms by Alan Huckerby

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Alan Huckerby
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Alexi: Orphans in Arms

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Book review

Watching his uncle shot and his village burned as the entire occupants loaded on to trucks and taken to a work camp on the edge of the Russian plains, four year old Alexi begins a life of survival. But as World War II begins, survival becomes even more important as he loses his parents then his adopted parents during German air Blitzes in London. As World War II closes till his teens, Alexi’s family becomes the matron and other children of an English orphanage. There he learns about right versus wrong and the importance of honor and duty but having nothing meant pride was everything. Hence Alexi’s pride resulted in the teenager facing a choice of jail or the military.
Alexi’s survival continues as finds himself assigned to a new unit involved in unique operations supporting a variety of events as they unfold around the world. The unit’s highly honed skills see them in the hottest operations and assisting with evacuations in the final days of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. But their skills are priceless in humanitarian actions such as organizing rescue efforts in a remote South American town because the unit was the only help that could get into the area immediately after an earthquake. Yet this unique and diverse group with no families of their own, evolve into a close knit family as they travel from event to event: their off duty adventures and hi-jinx often just as daring as their military exploits such as high diving off a loading crane in Gibraltar.
In spite of this, Alexi’s biggest adventure to survive is civilian life as he comes to grips with finding a job and simply ordering a meal in a pub. He finds civilian life is very complicated as he maneuvers through love, marriage and children. Alexi determines this part of his life is more of a challenge than commanding a unique military unit in the heat of battle as he reflects on the success of his survival skills. The skills that have taken him through a lifetime and left him pondering: How a life shaped by death and destruction can still make a positive contribution to the world?

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