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Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy Paperback – January 3, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a remarkable account from a gifted observer. Lewis as a British intelligence officer assigned to the Area occupied by American forces immediately following the expulsion of the Germans was in a unique position to observe many aspects of the struggles and adaptations of the locals under these extraordianry conditions. The ingenuity and superstition of the Italian people is displayed from a point of view that is neutral in it's judgements while sparing the reader nothing of the darker side of the stuggle to survive at the same time.
As somone who has read extensively about WWII I was surprised this one got by me for so long. I stumbled on it while browsing Amazon and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the War ,Italy or just a good entertaining read.
In addition to being superbly written, NAPLES '44 stands out on two scores. First, it belongs on the top shelf of WWII books, not as a report of combat (though Lewis had a few experiences of front line danger which he describes in the book) but as an account of the chaos, bureaucratic claptrap, and occasional callousness of the Occupation. Just one of far too many examples from the book: A 10-year-old boy was brought into the hospital with three fingers chopped off and wrapped in newspaper; he had been part of a gang that specialized in jumping onto the backs of moving army lorries and then tossing out to confederates whatever might have value, but he became a victim of a British campaign to stop such theft by hiding soldiers in the backs of supply-trucks with bayonets and orders to chop down on the hands of any boys who grabbed the tailboards as a preliminary to hauling themselves in.
Second, NAPLES '44 is an indelible portrayal of Naples, "that anthill of humanity", and its countryside neighbors, including the wretched poverty and Dark Ages living conditions and the proclivity of many for banditry, lechery, and superstition. In the Cathedral there was an ampulla of the congealed blood of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought for trip to Italy. Was stationed in Naples late 90's but unaware of father's WWII map which covered North Africa, Sicily and Italy (Naples to Livorno and Rome). Read morePublished 5 months ago by T. White
Read excerpts from this diary in war diary (or general diary) anthologies. Sounded very interesting and so it turned out. Superb book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by TheBeagle
The of the best WWII books written about occupied Italy. I couldn't put it down. Beautifully written and always intelligent and compassionate.Published 9 months ago by Abelard
An extraordinary memoir: grim humour; horror; humanity
A parable of power run amok, the corruption it inspires, and the decency of ordinary local people that. Read more
Norman Lewis is a wonderful writer and astute witness to one of the most interesting places in Europe. I loved every story he told and admired his writingPublished 9 months ago by Don
Never mind historical facts, Lewis is an entertaining writer.Published 12 months ago by Old Pismire
This is an account of the real unbiased events of WW2 in Napoli. The struggle in whatever means possible to survive by the ordinary Neapolitans and the less than admirable... Read morePublished 15 months ago by kadiya