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This review is from: Naples '44: An Intelligence Officer in the Italian Labyrinth (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written war diary, and it is all the better for being without cynicism or bitterness. Lewis was a soldier who so much appreciated the finer things about Italy - its olive groves, fireflies, birds singing and blue sky - that he is finally seduced by the country and its people. He works as an Intelligence Officer in Naples in the latter stages of the war and writes of the many farcical wild goose-chases he went on looking for spies and of his dealings with wholly unreliable Neapolitan informers, corrupt police officials and the like.
These stories illustrate the hopeless and futile character of war where all is chaos and confusion. It is not a glorious or heroic war diary - Lewis fired no shot in anger in the war - but it offers a description of the mundane and the unspectacular. It plots the experiences of a somewhat naÔve British officer as he seeks to come to terms with the intrigues and the cultural contradictions and ambiguities - what Lewis calls `the genial trickiness' - of the Neapolitans.
I agree with the description on the back cover of the book as "reading like prose but singing like poetry". Every page is a delight. These are great stories told by a great writer with sensitivity, humanity and good humour.