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Love and War in the Apennines Paperback – 28 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (28 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007367899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007367894
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'His masterpiece' Spectator

'Superbly funny … as civilizing, generous and affecting as “Vivere in Pace”, and the men, women and children, weather and woodsmoke are as fresh as yesterday' Observer

'A vivid description of Italian village life, full of notable characters … and the reactions of one sensitive man to being out of the war in the middle of one' Daily Telegraph

'It is necessary to state with emphasis that this is a very good book indeed' Times Literary Supplement

'An exciting story, superbly told. And wisdom, courage and generosity illuminate it' Punch

From the Back Cover

After the Italian Armistice in 1943, Eric Newby left the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year and evaded the advancing Germans by going to ground high in the mountains and forests south of the River Po.

In strange isolation he was sheltered and protected for over three months by an informal network of Italian peasants. Newby has written a powerful account of these idiosyncratic and selfless people and of their bleak and unchanging lifestyle – full of funny, bizarre and dangerous incidents interwoven with his hopes of the local girl who was to become his wife.

"An exciting story, superbly told. And wisdom, courage and generosity illuminate it."
PUNCH

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 31 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
A tender and enormously inspiring little book about his experiences in Italy during World War 2, this is Eric Newby reflecting on his loss of innocence, twenty-eight years after the event. Newby would leave soldiering behind and go on to become a first-rate travel writer, a man capable of portraying passion, excitement and mystery in a calmly sophisticated prose style. In "Love and War in the Apennines" we get a mature account of his Italian exploits rather than a contemporary journal or diary.
Newby makes no apologies for transforming his memories into a seemingly seamless narrative. He delivers an enriching and thrilling account of his experiences: life is experienced as a continuum, not as edited highlights, and life in the face of danger, in prison, or on the run from recapture is one long stream of conscious awareness of what might happen next day or next moment.
Newby was captured after an abortive attempt to play a rather amateurish 'special forces' role and blow up German bombers on a coastal airfield in Italy. He describes himself as a failed soldier, and the lack of planning, blundering ineptitude of the exercise, and the humiliation of capture still, evidently rankled twenty years later.
His captivity by the Italians would not last - Mussolini was deposed shortly after his incarceration and he was liberated before the Germans could take over his prison. There then followed a period of evading recapture, dependent on the good will and courage of the locals. The war is the backcloth against which this tale is told, but its subject is liberty, the freedom of people to maintain their humanity and their cultural integrity, and ... of course ... love.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pat Cat on 31 Oct. 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
This audio version of Eric Newby's tale of his experiences during WW II after the invasion of Italy is enthralling. Richard E. Grant is the perfect choice to read Newby's story. He reads the book with great passion and a fondness of a wonderful tale of survival and love. The vividness of his voice, the loving descriptions of the countryside and the people Newby came to know, the voices used for the people and the tale itself had me listening to the whole three hour book in one sitting. Well worth a evening curled up in a comfortable chair relaxing. Will undoubtling listen to again and again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lazy Lee on 28 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
Eric Newby must be one of the most under-discovered travel writers of recent times. While everyone has heard of the likes of Peter Mayle and his adventures in Provence, if you want real stories read Eric Newby's.

This was my second Eric Newby and I have no doubt I will read them all. Love and War in the Appenines is a heroic tale of human endeavour, survival and heroism by the author, together with untold human kindness, compassion and courage on the part of the many Italian families and individuals who helped Eric Newby hide when he was a prisoner of war in Italy after a military mission which went wrong. All this, set against the backdrop of a war that everyone hated, and the developing romance between a young lady Newby meets early on during his imprisonment, who manages to smuggle messages to him while he is being discretely shuffled around in the mountains - we learn that she will eventually become his wife - make for a gripping tale. Through all this, including multiple close brushes with death, Newby remains witty and charming.

You will enjoy this book.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My initial fears that this was going to be a "Boy's Own" story of military escapades proved unfounded. In fact this book is a marvellous blend of escape story, adventure, travelogue, autobiography and love story. More than anything it describes the timelessness of rural life in the Italian mountains and the self-sufficiency of such communities. It is as entertaining as it is thrilling, and the author's admiration and affection for those who assisted him is very evident. One criticism, it could have done with a more maps, and a glossary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KenM on 14 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
I first read Eric Newby's account of his time in Italy in WW2 some years ago. I found it interesting & enjoyable. I was prompted to return to it by a recent holiday in Tuscany & feel that this has deepened my appreciation of his book - it will certainly remain in my collection now. It is the kind of book which gives an insight into wartime service life & how it deeply affected individuals. I appreciated his description of the class system at work in the army, even in wartime, & it certainly tallies with my experience as a national serviceman in the 1950's; I wonder how much it has changed? A good read for those who lived through those times, & a useful insight for those too young to know!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Fitzpatrick on 8 Aug. 2013
I first read this book about 30 years ago and was surprised to find that it has held it attraction.

It recounts the writer's experience as a fugitive in Italy after he escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp and found himself alone in the Apennine mountains.

Newby waited until long after the war before publishing this account of his experiences as there had been a plethora of PoW stories like The Wooden Horse.

In contrast to these mainly gung-ho accounts written as boy's adventure stories, Newby's is downbeat and centers on his struggle for food and shelter which was provided by Italians who were risking their lives in helping him.

Many of them were sympathetic to him even though he was technically the enemy because their own sons were in Russia and they hoped that if something similar happened to them, the local people would look after them.

His Italy is not the sun-drenched tourist cliché but the wild and remote mountains of the north where the winter is bleak and survival an ordeal.

The "Love" part refers to his future wife Wanda, an ethnic Slovenian, who popped up in the middle of this chaos and stole his heart.

Their initial conversations in his broken Italian and her broken English are enormously funny as anyone who has ever tried to form a romantic relationship with a linguistic obstacle in between will instantly sympathize with.

Overall, this is a good read despite the stiff upper lip English approach that tries to play down the horrors that were happening all around as the British and Americans were fighting the Germans up the Italian peninsula in one of the bloodiest episodes of the war.
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