This work of fiction from Primo Levi documents the journey accross Europe of a band of partisans caught behind enemy lines during World War Two. The story is based upon truth, after Levi himself encountered young, hopeful Zionists whilst trying to get back to Italy after his internment in Auschwitz. The novel pulls no punches; it gives an honest account of the conditions the partisans find themselves in; often starving and hungry, living in underground camps or shot down aeroplanes, they are relentlessly brave and determined to survive. It may be a work of fiction, but as an insight into the war of the largely unsung heroes of the resistance movement of Eastern Europe, and the survival story of the Jewish community that lived upon their wits in the woods of Poland and Russia, it is noteworthy. It took Primo Levi over a year to return home to Italy after the war, and on the way he was to hear many stories of survival, as well as having his own adventures.It is written in a style those who have previously read Levi will be familiar with, it is both compelling and compassionate, whilst retaining the distance a scientist puts between himself and his work. Levi addresses one of the recurring themes of his work - how does man act during adverse circumstances? What happens to our morality during war? Relationships are forged and broken, and both the best and the worst of human nature is depicted and, ultimately, that is what makes Levi one of the most important writers of the twentieth century: his examination of the human condition. I would recommend this book, and all his other works, to anyone.