A book review from The Movie Snob.
Love and War in the Apennines, by Eric Newby (1971). First, a word about how I came to discover this book. In the course of internet surfing, I came across a website for Slightly Foxed, an independent British quarterly devoted to books, especially books that have been forgotten and fallen out of print. Additionally, Slightly Foxed republishes worthy books that have fallen out of print. Curious, I subscribed to the journal and for good measure ordered a few of its reprints. Love and War in the Apennines is the first one I’ve read, and it is pretty good. It’s a memoir in which Newby tells part of the story of his experiences as a young British soldier during World War II. In August 1942, he was part of a woefully underpowered band of soldiers sent to knock out a Nazi base in Sicily. The mission flopped, and the Italians took Newby prisoner and shipped him off to mainland Italy. Most of the book is about what it was like to be a prisoner of war and then a fugitive hiding in the Apennine Mountains after the Italian government collapsed in September 1943, all the POWs escaped, and the Germans took over. Also, shortly before his escape, Newby met and fell in love with a Slovenian woman living in Italy; thus, the title. It’s a good read, and very impressive to a not-very-courageous couch potato like me. Newby wrote another memoir about his life after the war called Something Wholesale, and I look forward to reading it someday.