Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars59
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£9.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 31 December 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.
Newby fell in love with the Italian girl with whom he shared an exchange of language - she taught him Italian, he taught her English. It's a sweet, almost coy observation of the emergence of a burning love. It's also an evocation of the way of life of the people who sheltered him and the emergence of his love for the simple honesty of their peasant economy and lifestyle. This, you imagine, is where Newby learned his compassion and his willingness to understand other people.
This is a delightful commentary on war from the perspective of a man who sees nothing he does as heroic, but who sees heroism in everyone around him. It's also a useful corrective to fictional accounts of what it's like to be a prisoner of war - . A very human, humble, yet passionate work which will thoroughly entertain.
22 comments|65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 October 2000
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.
0Comment|15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 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.
0Comment|10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 September 2000
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.
0Comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 September 2013
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.
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 October 2011
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!
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 April 2013
I read this many years ago, and loved it. Reading it again was just as absorbing and once again brought to mind the amazing resiliance and bravery of servicemen on the run. they were only able to survive with the incredible help from the local Italians
who risked their lives to do so.One really does feel as if you are living the moment as his journey progresses.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 October 2011
Can't add much to previous reviews. My only 'but' is that even if Newby states at the begginning that the book only wants to return the help and affection received from the italians, I found it too positive. Erasing all, absolutely all, the bad moments he lived when he was a fugitive/POW in Italy. Besides that, the book is delicious.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 November 2011
For fans of Eric Newby, one of the last of the independent travellers, this is a fascinating tale. Set in Italy during the Second World War, it traces his capture and subsequent escape and life on the run. Very sympathetic to the Italians who befriended him, hid him and supported him, it is also very funny. Not a typical war story!
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 April 2014
Much of the material I had read concerning British prisoners of war during WW2 relates to those captured by the Germans or Japanese. This account details what happened to certain captives following the surrender of Italy after the allied invasion of Sicily. It opened my eyes a bit because I little realised how helpful and courageous many Italian citizens had been in sheltering POW's from the German forces who were more than interested in transporting and locking them up in Germany. It is a worthy read for those interested in the fate of our service men at the time.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)