- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 17 hours and 43 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 1 May 2017
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B06XS5GCKZ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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I hadn't, until I read this book, taken too much interest in the Italian experience of World War II. To my shame, I had assumed that they had pretty much as a nation fallen in with the Nazis. How wrong that thinking is. I read Scarlet Sky whilst on a break in Krakow, Poland - and I learned simultaneously about these countries' experiences under Hitler's control. I learned from both that measured "compliance" can be far more effective than blind and instinctive resistance.
The desperate problem - as we learn in this book - comes at the end of the conflict when euphoria coupled with intense anger and the desire to punish collaborators spills out during the period of anarchy before order is restored. Nobody knows who has actually worked for the enemy and who has risked their lives to defeat the enemy from within. The injustice of the summary executions - Italian on Italian - is for me the most distressing aspect of this book. It is shocking to see how normal people can change to wild blood-thirsty avengers, looking for the blood of anyone who just might have collaborated - and, of course, many of those murdered suspects were innocent.
This story excellently describes the transition of a 17 year-old boy living with his well-off family in Milan from innocent teenager to alpha male in a matter of months. From using his mountaineering skills to help Jews to escape from Italy to finding himself in the presence of Mussolini himself, Pino Lella becomes a true hero - albeit a flawed hero tormented by guilt and traumatised by his experiences.
So well-written, so moving, so shocking, so educating, so thought-provoking. I am so pleased I learned of this man's life. He richly deserves to have his experiences recorded for posterity.
The story itself is one of huge courage against the background of horrific actions by the German forces that had taken over Italy and also by the partisans resisting them. This should have been a brilliant book. Unfortunately, the way it is told lets the story down. There are some longueurs, where the author dwells at too much length on fairly mundane domestic and other happenings. The portrayal of Pino’s thoughts and feelings is simplistic, and in places repetitive. The style smacks of the jejune, like something out of The Boys’ Own Paper.
This is a great pity. Despite the weaknesses of the telling, though, the book is worth reading: Pino was someone whose heroism was never recognised - and for decades he tried to put all these events behind him; and many of us know too little about what life was like in Northern Italy as WW2 drew towards a close.
I loved this i stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning not able to put it down it was sleep that took me away from the most seductive account of events that I have read. Every bit as good as pappillion which was my favorite book of all time and now I have two. I will never forget all the hard work you went into writing this and will be forever a better person for reading this. I feel truly blessed to of shared this story with loved in my heart and a teari thank you Mark Sullivan
A story of life, romance, espionage, high danger, self sacrifice and tragedy. Situations eliciting every human emotion are imposed on this brave young man, in a story beautifully recounted by Mark Sullivan. Although based on true events the book is billed as a novel, for reasons explained in the preface, so not a true memoir, but don't for a moment let this put you off buying to he book if you are a memoir fan.
As a reader, having become so drawn into the fate of the protagonist, I was delighted to find a decent epilogue detailing how young Pino's life panned out after his extremely character-testing war years which occupied his late teens.
To have done what he did is impossible to imagine