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Love and War in the Apennines

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,139 ratings  ·  117 reviews
‘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 physical; it was simply that part of my spirit went out of me, and in the whole of my life since that night it has never been the same again.’
It was the winter of 1943 and young Eric Newby, later to
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Cloth hardback, 360 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by Slightly Foxed Editions (first published 1971)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  1,139 ratings  ·  117 reviews


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Daren
Like most of Eric Newby's writing, this book is excellent. It is his story after the Italian Armistice when POWs were released into the local area. Newby had been captured in a failed raid with the SBS, and by bad luck had broken his ankle a few days before release.

More than anything the story he tells is of the generosity of the local Italians who assisted Newby, and other POWs, sheltering them, providing food and drink, assisting them in moving from place to place, always at great risk to
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Paul Alkazraji
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escaped P.O.W., Eric Newby, hides out from German soldiers and fascist sympathisers in the Apennine Mountains of Italy in this true story of Second World War romance and adventure. As you scramble and trek through the wild scenery with this sensitive fugitive (and later accomplished travel writer), the eccentric Italian peasants, alfresco meals and love-interest with Wanda, his Resistance helper, are evoked as vividly as if it all happened yesterday. A charming and absorbing read.
Pamela
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eric Newby was captured during a failed raid on a Sicilian air base in 1942 and spent time in a POW camp. This memoir tells the story of his captivity, his escape and the subsequent period that he spent hiding in the inhospitable terrain around the village of Fontellanato. For several months, he was sheltered and fed by local people, despite their fear of the German army and the scarcity of their own resources.

Amazing story of courage, resilience and human kindness. Newby's style is quite
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Lois
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing. Told brilliantly, Eric Newby brings every moment to life, taking you right there into the Italian mountains during the last few years of the war. It's incredible how brave and selfless the local people that Eric encountered were, not thinking twice before helping him and others escape and evade the occupying Germans and fascist militias. Eye-opening, awe-inspiring, fascinating. So so glad I read this book.
Luke Marsden
Dec 08, 2014 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 ...more
Katy
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Angela Petch
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this classic more than 5 stars. I’ve just read it for the second time since I bought it in 1976. All these years later, it makes sense, now that I live in a similar area in the Tuscan Apennines that he describes so beautifully.
Anybody with the slightest interest of WW2 in Italy should read this book. It’s autobiographical. Eric Newby, at the tender age of 22 was an escaped POW and his account shows how truly generous and courageous ordinary Italians were to young British men.
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Kathleen Fowler
Dec 09, 2010 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
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Ben
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I've liked Newby before, but in this the writing was surprisingly bad. (Just one example: ten "and"s and two pages into a sentence, maybe it is time to start a new one?) The story is also not exceptional. Still, Newby is honest. The story picks up when he gets into dialog, and there are several humorous anecdotes, including meeting a German soldier hunting butterflies in the mountains.

> "Do not be afraid," he went on. "I will not tell anyone that I have met you, I have no intention of
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Jennifer
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was given to me by a dear friend, who always pushes me out of my comfort zone. I loved this book and the wit/humor of the author. I will read more of his.
David Evans
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, war
Startlingly good: funny and astonishing in turns. I read this as we were going to Sicily on holiday this month. By sheer coincidence, Newby and I converged toward Catania airport; he from the east having disembarked from a submarine into a canoe and bravely paddling ashore to try and destroy German Junkers on the ground as part of an SBS squad in 1942, and me from the west drinking warm white wine on our Thomson package tour. Newby and his ill-fated team fail to destroy even an electricity pylon ...more
Scott
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hills, walks, war, ww2, 1970s
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
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Lyn Elliott
Jan 26, 2013 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
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Peter
May 25, 2010 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
Jane
Mar 14, 2011 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.
Linda
Jul 17, 2008 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.
Patricia
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
His chapter on "an encounter with a member of the master race" (a German lepidopterist assigned to teach Renaissance culture to men bent on destroying it) was humane, funny, and as powerful an indictment of the absurdity of war as anything I've ever read.
Chrissie
Jan 31, 2010 marked it as p-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Hayes
The font is miniscule!!! My sweet husband will read it instead and give me uppdates.
John Ollerton
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable book, really insightful, just got a jolt I the sentence near the end
Amy
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prior to seeing the collection of Eric Newby books at the bookstall at the Tavistock Pannier Market, I had never heard of him. I now realize two things: I should have purchased them all, and I am kind of smitten. In this memoir of being an POW in Italy during WWII and then a fugitive from the Germans after the Italian Armistice, he recounts what life on the run in Italy is like. It's a pretty surreal experience. Not only does he meet his future wife, he is helped by many Italians who risk their ...more
Graychin
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eric Newby was captured by the Fascists after a flubbed attack on an Axis airbase in Sicily. He eventually found himself in a prison hospital on the mainland, injured by falling down stairs, when the Italian Armistice was signed. The temporary peace resulted in his release from prison but also in the Nazis taking control of Italy and putting the Fascists back in charge. Newby and other former prisoners of war were hounded through the mountains for months on end.

Every day Italians risked their
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Lawrence Patterson
A really good read with great descriptions of Italy during WW2, the people, the situation just before and after the Italian armistice and in particular an area in the Apennines. The real situation of the authors efforts to evade capture after escaping as a prisoner of war showed his determination and the help he received from the local country people in Italy's mountains. The story is fast moving but very detailed as to the circumstances and his time on the run from the Germans and the Italian ...more
Peter Staadecker
Eric Newby was born for adventure. In the case of "The Last Grain Race", the adventure was signing onto one of the last commercial tall sailing ships lugging grain around Cape Horn, all at the tender age of 18. Not only did Newby have to contend with being thrown into a world of sailing he knew nothing about, but he had to establish himself in the pecking order of the rough and tumble crew, and all this in Swedish, a language he had to pick up on the voyage.

In the case of "Love and War In The
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David
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to David by: Not sure . . . have read quite bit about WW II in Italy, so perhaps learned of it in one of those books
Memoir of WW II English soldier's several months in hiding in the mountains after escape from Italian prison camp. Author survived on the selfless kindness of the people; this account is, in a way, his “thank you” to them. It was written and published more than 25 years after-the-fact; he explains a bit about how he was able to do that in the preface.

One can appreciate this book as a war memoir or as an essay on experiencing a peasant culture that's probably no longer common in Italy. Either
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Lynda
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
Eric Newby, escaped British POW in wartime Italy, gives a moving but chilling portrayal of life in 'Fortress Europe' in September 1943, when Italy surrendered, and the Germans were blindsided but seemed invincible. Anyone who sheltered Allied escapees would face terrible reprisals, even death, but for those who hated the Fascists/Germans, this was the only way of fighting them - helping Allied men. The struggle to survive - both for the Italians who lived in the unforgiving mountain terrain of ...more
Hazel Stones
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on life as a prisoner of war and escapee in the Italian appenines. I found it particularly interesting as the daughter of someone who was in a similar situation in the Florence area, especially as he was reluctant to discuss much of his experiences. It does provide a useful antidote for all those gung-ho 'look at me wasn't I a hero' stories I have read in tbe past. Be warned however, Eric Newby is a man of his time and class. There are a few times I "sucked my teeth" a bit at ...more
Conrad
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following a failed raid in Italy, the author was taken as a POW until the armistice when Italy laid down its arms and the prisoners had a brief window of freedom before the Germans moved in and the Fascists worked with them to round up as many foreigners as possible. Fortunately for Eric Newby there were sympathetic Italians who risked their lives to give him shelter. This book recounts his experiences in a colorful and entertaining fashion. It is told in Newby's very distinctive and often ...more
Felicity J
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book at a walking pace because I wanted to savour it. It tells the true story of the author's living in hiding in the Emilia region of Italy in World War II. He was living the real life of a contadini, Italian country peasant life, not the stuff they put in fashionable coffee table books nowadays. It was hard and the characters he encounters are, well, characters that only real life can produce. Despite the hardship, there is something appealing about the rawness and poverty of it ...more
Katy
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really struggled to get going on this book at the beginning as it seemed more like non fiction , with detailed description of army manoeuvres.. however really improved with great descriptions of his life in the war hiding out in the apennines with the amazing help and support of the Italian people. Lots of laugh out loud funny moments as well as hand in mouth scary moments as he is nearly captured repeatedly!
Sally Edsall
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography, italy
I just love Eric Newby's writing, and this autobiographical account of his experiences in Italy during WW2 is beautifully realised. This is worth reading at the same time as Carlo Levi's 'Christ Stopped At Eboli' , which I have also reviewed. The warmth and generosity shown Newby, an English POW soldier on the run by the mountain people is touching and bitter-sweet. This is a fitting testament to them.
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George Eric Newby CBE MC (December 6, 1919 – October 20, 2006) 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 frequent
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“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.” 2 likes
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