Holly (2 Kids and Tired)'s Reviews > Innocent War

Innocent War by Susan Violante
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Jun 26, 2009

really liked it

About the book:
It is 1940. The dawn of Italy’s WWII for the Italian colonies of Libya has arrived. Young Nino woke up to his regular routine; but by the end of the day, his life would have changed into a nightmare – but through Nino’s eyes, it was an adventure. Follow a boy’s exploits, through a child’s innocent view of the war’s hardships, dangers, and tragedies. Accompany him as he shares his growing up years, spiced up with Nino’s humor, innocence, and awakening. And more experiences are about to be unraveled as he continues his story…


Personal histories have always been compelling to me. There is no need to fictionalize anything: the drama of real life experiences is enough. Nino Assenza's story is told as his daughter listens to his life history, as he has recorded it on audio tapes. His story begins as Italy enters World War 2 and Nino is a young boy living in the Italian colonies in Libya.

Nino tells how the excitement of war turns to the fear for survival: seeing his father called to the front lines, daily bombings, losing his childhood friends to death, seeing the Jewish families taken away and scavenging for food. Through it all, his mother's faith and determination to persevere keeps her family safe and together. Like all curious young boys, Nino finds adventures, even as the world is changing around him.

Fascinating and compelling. I read it in a couple of hours. The opening prologue is a bit awkward to read because of its mixture of tenses, but the story really moves once we begin reading Nino's first person narrative. I learned a great deal about the history of the time, from a perspective most Americans don't ever hear. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can easily recommend it.

From my understanding, this is the first in a fictionalized series written by Nino's daughter Susan and is based on his historical experiences. I look forward to learning the rest of Nino's story.
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