Richard Lamb, one of the few Italian-speaking officers in the British Army during World War II, has relied in part on newly opened Italian archives to present a surprising and unprecedented history of the war in Italy from Mussolini's fall until the final victory. Chronicling an unbroken sequence of Nazi infamies, Lamb reveals how German troops massacred thousands of surrendering Italians in the Aegean islands, deported Italian Jews to Auschwitz, and slaughtered Italian hostages and POWs. Had it not been for Mussolini's frenzied attempts to protect his countrymen, Italy would have been treated even worse than Poland.Lamb answers important and controversial questions, such as why the Allies did not land unopposed in Italy before the Germans poured over the Brenner Pass, and why Pope Pius XII did not take a stronger stand on behalf of Jews and the victims of the Ardeatine massacre. He details Anthony Eden’s opposition to an aid for Italian partisans, and the disastrous order form the War Office that British POWs should stay in their camps. He unfolds the extraordinary stories of the Cossack settlement in the Fruili, the attempted annexation of northern Italy by de Gaulle and Tito, the contributions of the Royalist Army to the Allied cause, the Italian civilians who helped Allied POWs escape, and the German generals who failed to obey Hitler's order to "scorch" all of Northern Italy. War in Italy will long remain the most complete account ever published of one of the most terrible dramas of World War II.
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Richard Lamb is the author of five other books on modern history, four of which were named "Books of the Year" by the London Spectator. One of Britain's most respected military writers, he lives in Salisbury.From Publishers Weekly:
Based in part on newly opened Italian archives, Lamb's review of the final two years of WW II from the Italian viewpoint offers several surprises. Chronicling the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis against Italian civilians, the persecution of Italian Jews and the widespread slaughter of surrendering Italian soldiers, he also dwells on the attempted annexation of northwest Italy by de Gaulle and of northeast Italy by Tito (Lamb argues that the Yugoslavs treated the Italians more brutally than had the Germans). He documents as well the significant contributions of the Royalist Army to the Allied cause in the final months of the war, showing how the performance of Italian troops in battle earned the confidence of British and American generals alike. In a minor but dramatic passage, Lamb shows how extraordinarily helpful Italian civilians were to escaping Allied POWs, often risking their lives to provide shelter and share sparse rations. The book includes a clarifying analysis of the Salo Republic, the Fascist puppet regime set up under Mussolini by Hitler, and Il duce 's frenzied but unsuccessful efforts to protect his countrymen from Nazi tyranny. Lamb ( Montgomery in Europe ) served with the British Eighth Army in Italy during the period under discussion. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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