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Full Circle: Escape from Baghdad and the Return Hardcover – January 18, 2006
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"Full Circle" by Saul Silas Fathi is a remarkable book about a prominent Iraqi Jewish family. It takes place during World War II when Nazi propaganda and policy threatened the lives of all Jewish citizens, many of whom were forced to take drastic measures in order to survive. The Fathi parents elected to smuggle two of their sons to Israel in an attempt to save some of the family from persecution and potentially, death. For a time, the two boys lived in a Kibbutz. They remained there until a reunion with their family.
The life of the author was punctuated by the wanderlust and fantasies of a life of freedom and adventure. As a young man, he left Israel to seek his fortunes in Brazil and this, in turn, led him to obtain a student visa allowing him to enter the United States. Having no money and no means of earning it, he joined the military and was stationed in Korea where he learned many life lessons about poverty, power, prejudice and the trials and tribulations of maturing to adulthood. Even with an education and good working conditions, Mr. Fathi struggled to understand a world which seemed both cruel and kind, depriving and generous and his search for meaning in life continued to the end of his story when he had buried both of his parents.
The author tells his story simply and honestly and this is the great appeal of the tale. Historical events are described in detail, both as they were observed and as they were experienced by the author. This book could be a point of education for thousands of people in this country alone.
He was born into a well to do Jewish family in Baghdad in 1938, which in that part of the world presented some very real dangers. The book shares with us his early years and how he was smuggled out of Iraq at 10 years of age and eventually ended up in Israel. He studied at the Israel Air Force Academy of Aeronautics and then worked his way to South America. This long out of the way journey eventually takes the author to New York to study where he ends up joining the US Army and was shipped off to Korea to join up with the First Cavalry Division. The book goes on to chronicle his exploits and personal adventures including becoming a top level executive for several large high-tech companies.
His book deals with having his family being falsely accused of treason against the Iraqi government and of being labeled a Zionist and Communist. Those labels alone were more than enough to cause them to be concerned for their safety, in addition to just being a Jew in a Muslim country.
This book deals with the hardships and persecution that this Jewish man faced in his lifetime. In the face of all that the author lived through and what he learned about life, his personal outlook and drive to succeed are a real tribute to his inner strength and character. Reading this book will inspire you and entertain you as well. The author has lived a full life and his book allows you to experience it through his memories.
2005 Distinguished Honor Award!