Several years ago Guareschi published a segment of hilarious autobiography entitled The House that Nino Built which proved to be a highly personal and somewhat erratic portrait of his marriage. Now in My Secret Diary his 19 months of internment camp after he was captured in World War II is given equally iconoclastic- from the accepted tenets- treatment. In segments of personal recall, in random jottings, in occasional- too rare- bits of anecdote, k the grim months unfold. One gets isolated vignettes of his fellow prisoners; one gets moods and echoes of philosophical meanderings. Best of all are some of the penetrating reflections on the changing values, with perhaps homesickness and hunger as the dominant factors. One of the most wryly amusing incidents deals with a smashed food package, and the creative but abortive attempts to untangle the mess and make edible portions out of a hopeless entanglement of oil, soap, pepper, cheese, etc. There are occasional barbed comments on the lack of imagination and effort of the home folks in their attempts to alleviate the cruel shortages. There are other comments on the Italian temperament, its values and shortcomings. Of political aspects there are only veiled allusions- little of factual significance. the wholly is enlivened with the author's unique brand of humor- a sort of muted Bemelman's treatment. Not apt to approach even remotely his sale for the unforgettable Don Camillo books.