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Love and War in the Apennines (Picador Books) [Paperback]

Eric Newby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 May 1996 Picador Books
Eric Newby escapes through a hospital window to become a POW on the run in Italy in 1943. With the Nazis moving in from the North and no certain way back to England, his situation appears grim. But with the help of local farmers and villagers, who risk their lives to shelter him, he survives. Hiding in shepherds' buts and even a cave, he achieves three precious months of freedom - and meets the determined and courageous young woman who would become his wife. "Love and War in the Apennines" in an intimate account of the horror and surrealism of war, and of the heroism and selflessness of those caught up in its madness. Eric Newby creates an unforgettable record of the resilience of human nature in the face of despair, and forcefully reminds us of the pointlessness of war.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (10 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330280244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330280242
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Nobody covers the world like Lonely Planet.' --New York Post, May 2004

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."

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful evocation of love, freedom and Italy 31 Dec 2004
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Tale 31 Oct 2000
By Pat Cat
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just love and war 28 Feb 2009
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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Books remembered 14 Oct 2011
By KenM
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book by Eric newby 27 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For some reason I have a soft spot for the stories of peoples experiences of life in Italy.
This is probably my favourite of this type, told in a very self deprecating manner he gives the impression of being "lackadaisical" in everything he does in the book but I think anyone who has been in the scrapes he was in was clearly more resourceful and determined than he depicts himself.
The characters seem too good to be true and he probably understates the peril he was in at times but it is after all a story with a happy ending ( he lives, marries the girl he met in Italy and had a wonderful life afterwards)
If you like this "An Italian education" and "Italian neighbours" by Tim Parks express a similar warmth and insight into the Italian way of life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Newby molto bene
Newby finds love and courage on the run in war-torn Italy. As good as any WWII fiction.
Published 3 days ago by Neil
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 8 days ago by michael lehane
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
What a fascinating story.
Published 11 days ago by SCAI MOTOR SRL PACE CHRISTIAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Newby book on wartime Italy as an (ex) prisoner ...
Good Newby book on wartime Italy as an (ex) prisoner of war trying to evade capture and really nice descriptions of the mountains and local live in an occupied country.
Published 14 days ago by guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite the passage of time between his wartime experiences and ...
Despite the passage of time between his wartime experiences and writing about them, the author's description of people, places and feelings are as fresh and vibrant with immediacy... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Bruno Bubna-Kasteliz
3.0 out of 5 stars A part of World War 2 you dont hear so much about.
A touching story of life as a solider in Italy trying to escape out of the mountains to get back to Blighty. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tony Bendall
4.0 out of 5 stars You can really sense Eric's experience
He has had dramatic experiences and describes something of his inner responses. For me the descriptions of landscape go on a bit but he has remarkable memory for detail.
Published 2 months ago by David Collander-Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept best beloved quiet for hours!
The story of his stranding in Italy during the war and the kindness and helpfulness of the locals. My wife read it whilst we were on holiday in Italy which brought the tale to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tim W
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, tense, thrilling and also mildly hilarious
I am getting to know Eric Newby's delightfully understated and self deprecating style and this book does not disappoint. This book has everything. Read more
Published 3 months ago by BankofDad
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens a window on the treatment of British POW's in Italy following...
Much of the material I had read concerning British prisoners of war during WW2 relates to those captured by the Germans or Japanese. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Barry E. Sheridan
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