The Anatomy of Survival by Stephen M Nadukkudiyil
An Odyssey of Global Adventures

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The Anatomy of Survival, An Odyssey of Global Adventures charts a journey of heroic proportions that unfolds against the backdrop of the twentieth century's timeline of turmoil and transformation. The lovingly recounted lyrical memoir offers a first-hand account of not only changes and challenges confronted, but also of generations and ways of life now consigned to the remote reaches of memory and collective lore. Illuminated and enriched with worldly humor, it is certain to appeal to world travelers and armchair travelers, as well as anyone who champions triumph against adversity.

In this remarkable autobiographical novel, Stephen M Nadukkudiyil guides the reader through eighty years of his life, and fifty years of his teaching career. It is "a straightforward and good-humored narration of a fascinating life" that spans his early life in a colonial India suffering in the aftermath of the Second World War and the privations of the Great Depression, through the extraordinary times of India's struggle for independence, colonial Aden, Imperial Ethiopia, newly independent Nigeria, and back to India.

Imbued with nostalgia and romanticism for a time now lost, this affecting memoir offers illuminating glimpses of life in foreign countires and diverse cultures, as well as insights on social and political events of the time.

With adept storytelling, rich in color and historical detail, personal adventures set the stage for moving tales of perseverence in the face of economic harships, from the realities of earning a college degree while essentially living in a state of homeless destitution, to a defining decision to depart India in pursuit of employment in the unkwn, distant port of Aden - a destination so remote that it took a professor's consultation of Gandhi's autobiograpphy to establish it as a point between Bombay and South Africa, either in Arabia or possibly in Africa.

After three years in hot and humid Aden, a fortuitous recommendatioin and the author's desire to see new places, meet with new people, and know about their cultures result in a new teaching post in Ethiopia, at the time ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie I, descendant of Solomon and Sheba, and now revered as the messianic head of the Rastafari movement.

But visions of life in the fabled empire of the Lion of Judah and glimpses of comfort in Adis Ababa soon fade in the stark reality of his assignment to Buno-Bedelle, a remote village three days by mule-train from the nearest cattle-field-airstrp at Gore, the capital of Illubabor Province, where he found himself a veritable, modern-day Robinson Crusoe.

The unexpected transfer to Asmara, a historic and modern city that is the present- day capital of the Republic of Eritrea, considerably improved the quality of life for the first time. The author's habit of brushing shoulders with history which started in his early childhood in India, and accompanied him throughout his globetrotting, is highlighted by the reflective recounting of his visit to the war cemetery in Keren, the site of ferocious fighting during a relentless siege in which Allied and British army divisions made mostly of Indian troops, unseated the heavily fortified Italian garrison, the military coup in Ethiopia while the emperor was on an official visit to Brazil, the 1966 military coup in Nigeia in which his boss the Finance Minister of the First Republic was brutally assassinated, and the 1967 - 69 Nigerian Civil War in Nigeria.

Interwoven with idioms, proverbs, and folklore from the author's native language Malayalam, and his acquired languages - English, Arabic, Amharic, Italian, Tigringna, Yoruba and Hausa - this engaging memoir is told with a welcome burst of laughter that capturess ways of life now lost to time and a sense of wonder for countless little things in life that elude our shared memory.

About Stephen M Nadukkudiyil

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Published March 18, 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 579 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs.

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Upon graduating college, he set out to teach in first the port city of Aden (now part of Yemen), then rural Ethiopia, less-rural Ethiopia, Eritrea, and finally Nigeria, where he stayed for 25 years through a bloody coup and the Nigerian civil war.

Jan 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Anatomy of Survival: An O...

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