Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Soldier's Journey: Book Review

“A Soldier’s Journey through Life with Two Wives” by Brigadier Lakshman Singh VSM (Retd) (NOIDA : BLS Publishers, 2009) pp..306, Rs. 450, ISBN 978-81-901855-1-6.
BOOK REVIEW by Major O A Pereira (Retd)
This is a largely factual story, mostly autobiographical, written in the author’s endearingly open, honest and frank style. He comes across as a superb – and fearless – raconteur!
While the book could have done with some serious proof-reading and grammatical reconstruction, nothing can detract from the fact that the story itself emanates straight from the heart and is laid out without any undue camouflage or prevarication! It is a gripping account of a soldier’s life, in peacetime and in war – a very touching story indeed!
It depicts, vividly, the searing tensions that invariably exist between soldiers and their families due the prolonged periods of separation, brought on by the operational demands of the Army. While it is set in the Indian context, it could well apply to any country with long and difficult borders to defend.
The author has a uniquely special flair for bringing to life, as it were, the situations he describes. From the very outset, the reader is drawn into the story, experiencing all the emotions the author feels as he lays bare his soul! He does this not only with regard to his professional experiences but also with his personal feelings for the wife to whom he was so devoted – and to whom his devotion remains undimmed, a full decade after she had succumbed to cancer!
One’s heart goes out to him as he struggles to live with and reconcile the impossibly divided loyalties with which he has to contend right through his life. This book would be a thrilling revelation to those in civilian life who have not had any contact with personnel in the Armed Forces.
I commend this book to readers of all categories, whether in the Forces or elsewhere, in service or retired, young or old, male or female – it is indeed a very captivating story! It will move you to tears – as it did in my case!
Major O A Pereira (Retd)
20th June 2010

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