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Love And War In The Apennines

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  634 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Eric Newby escapes through a hospital window to become a POW on the run in Italy in 1943. With the Nazis moving in from the North and no certain way back to England, his situation appears grim. But with the help of local farmers and villagers, who risk their lives to shelter him, he survives. Hiding in shepherds' buts and even a cave, he achieves three precious months of f ...more
Published May 1st 1996 by MacMillan General Books (first published 1971)
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Luke Marsden
Jan 10, 2015 Luke Marsden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, autobiography
This true story captures a time, a place and its people perfectly. Set in Italy near the end of WWII, Eric Newby is captured by the Italians during a raid in Sicily, but is later released when they turn against the Nazis. Relying on his wits and the help of charismatic locals, he retreats to ever more remote locations in the Appenine Mountains to evade the advancing German military. The tranquility of his surroundings and selfless generosity of the people, always described beautifully, sit in st ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book 20 years ago, and I knew I would want to read it again. Having just done so, I can say that it was every bit as good the second time around as it was the first.

Newby was a young POW in Italy during WWII. He was able to escape in 1943 while hospitalized for a broken ankle. With the help of sympathetic locals, one of whom was later to become his wife, he spent a year in hiding, being recaptured only late in 1944.

Newby tells his story with a charming, self-deprecating humor t
Jun 28, 2008 Katy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: memoir
This is an extraordinary account of Eric Newby's survival as a prisoner of War in Italy during World War II. More importantly it is the story of the heroic generosity of the Italian peasants who secretly, and at great personal risk, sheltered the released prisoners after the armistice in 1943, but before the end of the war. The Germans were still fighting the allies in Italy and the Fascists declared death for anyone who aided former POWs. It is also a a story of a time and a sensibility so rem ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: walks, ww2, war, 1970s, hills
Love and War in the Apennines (1971) was a perfect holiday read. An adventurous tale of escape and romance set during the collapse of Fascist Italy, the book is a monument to sacrifice, courage, and gratitude.

In 1942, Eric Newby (A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, Slowly Down the Ganges) was captured in a botched attempt to raid a Sicilian airfield from the sea. He spent much of the Second World War in prison camps, first in Italy and later in Czechoslovakia. But in the autumn of 1943, he enjoyed
Feb 17, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
What an enjoyable book! Eric Newby has such a positive attitude that this is really a very positive, life affirming book, despite the fact that its a WWII POW escape tale. It quickly became apparent that Eric Newby's memoir of his journey out of an Italian prisoner of war camp was at times an enjoyable adventure for him. He has such an optimistic attitude about life it's as though at times he forgets that there's a war on. The true heros of the story are the numerous Italian farmers and families ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books. I grew up in the 1970s reading The Colditz story and The wooden horse, and they were exciting stories, but this is different. It's like getting a glimpse of many lives. There's the landscape of the Apennines, as it was lived in between September and December 1943. There are the people, as seen by a young foreigner but one who had a traveller's attitude (Newby became a travel writer for the Observer). Newby writes honestly about himself as he goes through the war, and g ...more
Michel Dignand
Dec 28, 2014 Michel Dignand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having sailed around the world on one of the last grain tall ships at age 19 (I think), at the outbreak of the second world war Eric joins the British army, and heads to Sicily on a commando attack on a German airfield, landing by canoe from a submarine in terrible weather. The attack is failure, and Eric finds himself a prisoner of war. On the capitulation of the Italians, hundreds of allied serviceman are released to fend for themselves, but Eric had fallen down a staircase a few days before, ...more
Mar 14, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the summer of 2008 when we went to Italy, the tour company suggested this book as a background read. It's based in the WWII era and is fascinating. The author tells of his experience as a British soldier captured by the Italians and then the Germans, of his excapes and recapturing, of his falling in love with Wanda, who befriends him although neither speaks the other's language. Whether or not you are planning a trip to Italy, this one is well worth your time.
Jul 17, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Newby's writing can be rather dry, but in this recounting of his escape from the Germans in WWII Italy, he strikes a fine balance between mawkish sentimentalism and tough-guy posturing. An engrossing narration about the extraordinary measures ordinary people can and will resort to, to stay alive and to do what they think is right. Encouraging, inspiring, and highly recommended.
Martin Watts
Jun 11, 2015 Martin Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read this book many years ago I was expecting a conventional POW escape story. This was something different. Rereading it now I came to appreciate the account of Eric Newby's life in the Appennines, and particularly the efforts made by the ordinary Italians (and Slovenes) to keep him supplied and out of captivity.

Footnote: I first discovered Eric Newby's writing at about the age of seven when our class library had a book featuring what I later found to be an excerpt from "The Last Grain R
Peter Spencer
Aug 25, 2015 Peter Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We were captured off the east coast of Sicily on the morning of the twelth of August, 1942, about four miles out in the Bay of Catania. It was a beautiful morning. As the sun rose I could see Etna, a truncated cone with a plume of smoke over it like the quill of a pen stuck in a pewter inkpot, rising out of the haze to the north of where I was treading water."

A remarkable story of the author's capture and escape during WWII. His adventures around Italy, evading both the Nazi's and the Italian
Patricia Bracewell
Sep 10, 2012 Patricia Bracewell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I found this story of a WWII British soldier, an escaped prisoner of war in Italy, very moving. The villagers helped him survive, kept him safe for a long time. In particular, this sentence struck me -- the end of a scene where he and a fellow prisoner have had to run for it in the night after someone has betrayed them: "That night something happened to me on the mountain. The weight of the rice coupled with the awful cough which I had to try and repress broke something in me. It was not physica ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Eric Newby's war was dangerous and eventful but contributed nothing to eventual victory. An abortive project with Special Boat Services, capture and escape, life in the Italian mountains protected by brave Italians before betrayal and recapture. Many another serviceman experienced similar frustration of escape from captivity but impotence to return to the battle for the greater freedom. Understandably, in choosing not to write about his experiences immediately he says they "did not seem exciting ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it
Newby was captured in Italy during WWII. Following the armistice of 1943 he became a fugitive hiding out in the mountains and forests south of the Po. This is the story of the local people who sacrificed their scarce food and, sometimes, their own freedom to assist Allied soldiers hiding amongst them. This is a great memoir filled with unforgettable characters and told with humour and humanity.
Bob Schmitz
Oct 21, 2015 Bob Schmitz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-wwii, memoir
I read Newby's "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush," left behind by a tenant and decided to read his "most famous" book. An easy read and fascinating in it's detailed descriptions of the authors capture, escape and evasion during the WWII. Newby was in the British equivalent of special forces and was send ashore ahead of an invasion of Italy to blow up some German airplanes. The scheme was poorly thought, failed and left him captured by Italians who desire to execute him was interrupted by Germans. ...more
A great memoir about Eric's time as a prisoner of war (maybe two chapters worth) and the rest of his time after he escaped and is hiding from the Germans and facists. Lots of humor, and down playing of what he did (or what little he did) and the trumedous sacrifice and willingness of the Italians. A much better Tribute to them than what they received right after the war.

When reading the parts of when he was a POW, reminded me of how different his situation was and how differently his guards wher
Sep 27, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good old Waterstones. Not often I find myself saying that, but, last year they brought out a series of books in conjunction with the Sunday Times, all for 99p and quite a few of them were books I wanted to read anyway and this was the first I chose. This is an unimaginable story/memoir quite beautifully told. I've read his book in the Hindu Kush and that is magnificent. It is the magnificence that is the strongest link between them. In the Hindu Kush he is travelling through remarkable and hosti ...more
Matthew Calamatta
Sep 04, 2015 Matthew Calamatta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Refreshingly free of sentimentality. An Englishman abroad in the North of Italy.

Excellent despite some of the most convoluted sentence put to paper in the 20th century.

Brisk, evocative description of military misadventure, the kindness of mountain folk, peasant life and romance in WW2 Italy.

Very necessary epilogue gives us a taste of the same place in 1956, when the carbonari have gone and the place begins to join the modern world.
Jan 07, 2010 Hayes rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
A lovely memoir.

Eric Newby, an English soldier, finds himself (during WWII) in the middle of a botched mission to destroy an Italian air base, is captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp in Italy. The prison camp is not such a terrible place to be, all things considered, but the Italians are having their own problems with the Germans (they don't know which side to fight on, for example), and the Allied forces are arriving from the south to liberate a country held by the Italian Fascist
Michelle Holden
Intriguing title as I found that this book lacked a rapturous love affair and a definite heroic war effort. Instead I found a wonderfully written story about the unsung heroes of the war and their efforts to save the life of one soldier. Full of poignant and humour full instances all against the backdrop of the wonderful Appenine scenery. It was no surprise that Eric spent his post war career as a travel writer. We read this for a book club and the consensus was that this would be a good first b ...more
Cindy Oxman
Jun 20, 2015 Cindy Oxman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading anything by this author. He writes beautifully and sensitively in this book of the Italian people who assisted him in his escape from a prisoner of war camp. Wonderful story of people, place and time.
Lyn Elliott
Sep 01, 2014 Lyn Elliott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have just reread this some years after I first discovered it, and was surprised to find how much of the story came as a surprise to me as I had forgotten all but the barest outline of the story.
Newby has a great gift for storytelling and this one, his own experience as a prisoner of war and then escapee in Italy from 1942 to 1944 is remarkable, the stuff of true adventure stories and told with considerable modesty and with warm, deep gratitude to the mountain people who enabled him, and others
Kristi Sawyer
Oct 12, 2015 Kristi Sawyer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: factual
An interesting read...Eric tells his story about the kindness of the Italian people. They took him in and protected him, at great personal risk to themselves while he was trying to find his way back to England. Unfortunately, I didn't find the book very gripping overall, which is evident in how long it took me to read it!
Garth Johnson
This is one of those really great books. I read it first over 30 years ago and it was fun to read it all over again. It's dated to some degree but the story telling remains as great as ever. It's also a wonderful true love story. Eric and Wanda married just after the war until he died about 7 or 8 years ago. Wanda died just a few weeks ago.
Aug 16, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it
Low 4. Newby tenderly recounts his wartime experiences and in relating the timeless constancy of life in this Italian mountain community, provides proof that man's sense of humanity can endure at times of conflict. Upon the surrender of Italy in 1943, Newby found himself finally free from his POW camp, yet still in danger of falling prey in occupied territory to the retreating German forces. This memoir not only reveals his genuine modesty about his own exploits, but also captures the warmth and ...more
Eric had a story book war really - not much in the way of maiming or torture, no PTSD, mud but not endless, met the woman he eventually married and sheltered by gnarly rustics. The main problem seemed to be insufficient (decent) food.
OK, so I'm being a (little) facetious but it is a relatively gentle amble through WWII - I laughed out loud in several places. Oh and it's one of the few war books I've read that acknowledges gay service men - and the particular difficulties they faced.
Mar 06, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book - felt lost when I finished it and then ordered several of his others to keep going - a truly amazing story!
Simon Mccrum
Jun 09, 2015 Simon Mccrum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I have just re read this book for the third time, I'm a huge fan of Mr Newby and this is one of my favourites.
Apr 04, 2015 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Uninspiring. Hellishly long sentences, 'which' overused to an alarming degree, I laboured through it and wonder why.
Sep 14, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are interested in WWII accounts, this one is very good. Newby's personal experience as a prisoner of war and then an escaped prisoner in hiding is fascinating stuff. The surprising aspect of the book is that Newby is a fine writer. He vividly but economically describes the landscape and conditions, the individuals who shelter him, and the sometimes frightening, sometimes boring, sometimes beautiful atmosphere of the mountain area in which he hides. He includes the reader in his changing e ...more
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George Eric Newby CBE MC (December 6, 1919 – October 20, 2006[1]) was an English author of travel literature.

Newby was born and grew up near Hammersmith Bridge, London, and was educated at St Paul's School. His father was a partner in a firm of wholesale dressmakers but he also harboured dreams of escape, running away to sea as a child before being captured at Millwall. Owing to his father's frequ
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