In Lover, Soldier, Reprobate by Alexander DeVolpi, Alex has written a revealing historical biography of his father, who was a soldier-of-fortune.
“My father was – most of all in his life – a soldier of fortune,” offers Lover, Soldier, Reprobate by Alexander DeVolpi.
Fighting for different nations in up to 13 military conflicts, including the Indian Wars in Oklahoma, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine Insurrection, Lover, Soldier, Reprobate by Alexander DeVolpi says, “Those assignments were during his three enlistments in the U.S. Army. He also fought for the Canadian Army, Princess Pats regiment, in World War II.”
Alexander DeVolpi further explains in Lover, Soldier, Reprobate that “In addition, it looks like his military ventures took him to a civil war in Chile, the Boxer Rebellion in China, the 1910 Mexican revolution, and combat against the Ottoman Empire just before World War I.”
Of particular interest are his Italian roots and military service. Born in Venice in 1873, that’s where he later embarked with the Alpini to fight for Italy in the first Italo-Turkish War. He also fought for Italy in the subsequent 1912 Balkan War.
Lover, Soldier, Reprobate by Alexander DeVolpi says this book, “tracks my father’s life, starting in Italy, shanghaied on the way to America, and adventuring around the world. The entire saga represents a tour de force in genealogy, revealing his ancestral roots back to the 1300s in Italy, his wives around the world, and his children – two of us surviving, in the United States and Italy. Once alone in the world, now we have family all over, especially in the United States and Canada – thanks to genealogical research.”
DeVolpi says he has been able to trace his family back in Italy to Trento, and that family from Como in the 1300s, with a branch that split off to Bari in the 1400s.
There is so much to tell that it all became a 500-page book, with over 100 illustrations, including photos passed on down of his grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, and the newly discovered relatives.
Dr. Alexander DeVolpi, a retired nuclear physicist, has had almost 40 years of relevant professional experience in reactor instrumentation, experimental diagnostics, and specialized technology at Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, Illinois. He has a PhD in physics, an MS in nuclear-engineering physics (both from Virginia Tech), and a BA in journalism (from Washington and Lee), as well as being a graduate of the International School of Nuclear Science and Engineering (at Argonne).
His research and development work in reactor safety grew in part from active military service in the U.S. Navy, followed by assignments as a Reservist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory in San Francisco. This affiliation lead to specific applications in reactor-safety research and instrumentation later developed and utilized at the Idaho Nuclear Engineering Laboratory.
Several now-expired patents in reactor safety and instrumentation were granted, and numerous technical papers describe his work in reactor physics, radiation instruments, nuclear safety, plutonium nonproliferation, and material diagnostics. In later years, he moved on to applications involving arms control and treaty verification, which included technical assignments from the Defense Nuclear Agency and professional collaboration with many non-government organizations in the United States and overseas.
Beginning with his first thesis project at Virginia Tech — which involved building and instrumenting a (subcritical) nuclear reactor — and subsequently in his entire professional career, Dr. DeVolpi has specialized in developing instruments for nuclear applications, as well as retaining an abiding interest in the safe and durable operation of reactors.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been a long-time member of the Federation of American Scientists, once serving on its Board of Directors.
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