A Pilgrim for Freedom
by Michael Novakovic
Novakovic Publishing

"For seven years we had endured war and migration while finding ways to stay together as a family. The war experience only deepened our bonds. The war could not break us up, even if it did briefly at times when we went in separate directions with each parent during artillery attacks or in a combat environment. As much as our purpose during the war was to stay together as a family, the point of migrating to America was to find a safe and free home."

A comfortable and beautiful life by the Adriatic Sea is disrupted by armed conflict forcing young Michael and his family to flee from Split, Yugoslavia. Escaping into the mountains of northern Italy, they begin a long and difficult journey through war-torn Europe in search of normalcy and a home. Surrounded by violence, gunfire, bombs, and famine, Michael relies on smarts and creativity for survival. Then a chance encounter with an American fighter pilot that inadvertently saves his life instills in him a lifelong admiration for the United States military.

Arriving to Ellis Island on Christmas Eve, 1949, Michael faces a new life and new prospects in America. On his path to becoming a citizen, he finds work, finishes high school, and soon attends Syracuse University where he meets his future wife, Phebe. He joins and is welcomed into the United States Air Force, swearing by oath to serve with pride and honor. Throughout his military career, he dedicates himself to the continuing fight against communism before finally transitioning from military to civilian life and newfound success as a businessman.

In this timely memoir, Novakovic blends together a deep and richly layered narrative of political and familial history. Through Novakovic's firsthand experience we are guided on an arduous pilgrimage demonstrating the sacrifices made by refugees and immigrants seeking freedom. Detailing key moments of his career and life, Novakovic is clearly humbled by and appreciates the opportunities he's been given and feels indebted to America. The fondness for his country and love for his family is evident through his memories as he examines and juxtaposes his new and past identities. His tale will certainly inspire and appeal to fans of historical autobiographies.

Return to USR Home