Monday, 6 June 2016

Book Review- Looking into the Sun by Todd Tavolazzi

“The title of the civil war literally defines a war where the participants are the members of the same community but has nothing to do with civility. Small battles are won and lost every day by all sides. But the consistent losers are the people of Syria who must live, sacrifice and die in the horror created by people who claim to be fighting for their best interests.”
-Page 221

Looking into the Sun is honest, touching, thrilling, disturbing-all at the same time. Based on the Syrian conflict, the book will move you to the core. The literature is narrated to capture details about the conflict which makes it easier for a reader not aware of the issue. It also delves deeper in some parts to give a different perspective for the well-informed reader. The author does a good job to make you sit up and think hard about what going on around you in the name of power, religion and politics.

Angus is a freelance journalist who travels across the world to passionately cover news related to issues what others prefer to conveniently over-look. When he spends time in Syria to cover allegedly the deadliest conflict of 21st century, he is moved by the plight of women and children orphaned and left desolate by tragedy. He decides to help them get out but in a country which has closed its boundaries to all foreigners including foreign media personnel, this looks almost impossible. The alternate plan needs funds which become available when a movie star Jake Westin offers to pay Angus if he agrees to take Jake on his next project. Both of them land up in Al Waer, a small border town in Syria which has endured the brunt of the war. What follows is a roller-coaster ride for both of them with ISIS, FSA and the regime on war with each other all the time.

There are many reasons to pick up Looking into the Sun. It thrills you to read about the lingering danger. Human compassion even in the most unanticipated situations warms your heart and makes you smile.  The brutalities on civilians and captives will make you shudder. The hardships borne by the war-struck population make you humble and thankful for what you usually take for granted. But what the book does most is, make you angry. Somebody someday will win a war, but children will always lose. And that is happening in Syria too.

Tavolazzi has a wonderful and seamless style of storytelling which will keep the reader hooked. The author’s passion is relayed to the you through this book. And it will stay with you for all times to come.

My rating- 

About the Author:- Todd grew up in San Diego, California where he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991. He served in the Marine Corps Reserve as an Infantry Scout and Light Armored Vehicle Crewman at Camp Pendleton, California, before he attended the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of 1998) where he earned a Bachelor of Science in History. After graduation, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and served as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard a supply ship stationed in Bremerton, Washington, before he was granted a transfer into Naval Aviation. He earned his Navy “Wings of Gold” in 2002 and flew both the MH-53E Sea Dragon and MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters. He earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University where he studied Europe and the Middle East extensively. He also served with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in Naples, Italy (2011-2014), where he spent time studying international relations, global strategy, and regional conflicts throughout Europe and the Middle East. It was on this tour of duty that Todd saw the horrific toll the Syrian conflict was taking on innocent civilians, particularly, Syrian children.His research drove him to write his debut novel, LOOKING INTO THE SUN, to raise awareness and garner support for Syrian children. He and his publisher, Pandamoon Publishing, are donating a percentage of proceeds to Save the Children’s Syrian Children’s Fund.Todd is still serving on active duty in the U.S. Navy and lives in Virginia with his wife, Bonnie, and their two children. (Source:- https://toddtavolazzi.com/about/)

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