Email this review


Ugo Pirri's earlier book, The Camp Followers, (Dutton-1958) was also a first person account, and this, while is more extensive, again uses the experiences of an Italian officer in World War II-and his shifting attachments, political and amatory, parallel the chaos of Italy at war and to transition from monarchy to fascism and then to antifascism. Pirri's use of his own name- as the narrator- and much of the bleak and brutal incidents which take place contribute to the realism of the book. The narrator identifies with the fascists at the beginning, just after the break with Germany, and seems to fall in love with Emilla, the wife of a fascist official. He then vacillates, and thinks only of returning to his home and family, when he is attracted by the young Miranda who hopes to leave the now ravaged countryside of Sardinia. After an incident in which he fires at American troops, he escapes to the hills, then to Rome, where he becomes an anti-fascist and now he falls in love with an American nurse who leaves him regretfully. The book closes as he is threatened by his anti-fascist friends when they go off to fight with the Allies... in spite of the authenticity of the background, the sincerity of the intentions, this will be limited in its appeal for an American audience.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster- Trident