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More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis Paperback – April 11, 2017
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The tale is simultaneously inspiring and harrowing, and the author skillfully portrays both DiMarco's valor and his horror. Annechino colorfully draws the action scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life.
Reminiscent of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Annechino subtly and effectively signifies Angelo's emotional transformation from naive recruit to battle-scarred soldier fighting not only for his physical survival but also to sustain his capacity for empathy both for his "brothers" and enemy soldiers. Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier's coming-of-age. (The iRead Review)
About the Author
Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels--all thrillers. But his latest work, MoreThan a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.
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Top Customer Reviews
More than a Soldier, the incredible true story of Angelo DiMarco as he fought, was captured, and escaped from the Nazi's, did something truly incredible for me. First, it allowed me to see through another person's eyes. I had always felt that soldiers, regardless of who they were or where they fought, deserved our respect and our honor for their dedication and their sacrifice. I felt that soldiers, who were willing to give blood, limbs and even life to protect people who sometimes didn't even understand what they were going through, was as close to a living example of God's love as I could get. What I never understood before was how the mindset of a soldier could so totally change. How seeing firsthand what war really was could affect them. That was something I could hear, something I could think, but not something I could truly understand.
Until I read this book.
I have always felt that I would be willing to listen to a soldier if they wanted to talk. That I would let them know that I had the greatest respect for them, and that it was okay to talk about what they had been through.
Now I understand that for some, there are no words to convey what they have been through. That talking about it somehow lessens it, and takes away from the honor to those who never came home to share their stories. That sometimes, it's better to let them have their peace.
In the end, Angelo DiMarco shared his story with his son, who shared it with his cousin Daniel Annechino, who so gracefully and touchingly shared it with all of us. I am unendingly grateful that they did. There is one line from the book that I think sums it all up for me. It's such a powerful line, that I bookmarked it (something I have never done in a kindle book before) so that I could go back to it.
It says simply this:
Never in my life had I understood the fragility of life so profoundly.
It didn't take long for me to see a movie in my mind. I've watched all the movies about the 1st Rangers of WWII; DARBY'S RANGERS with James Garner, ANZIO with Robert Mitchum, and THE GREAT ESCAPE with Steve McQueen. All good stories, but this first hand account from a Ranger captured at Cisterna and the daring train escape, well, it is a very good story and it is well told in the book.
The tragedy of the Rangers being decimated and taken prisoners at Cisterna is a classic Army FUBAR, in the words of Tom Hanks' character in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. It was Army "intelligence" which made weapons of mass destruction look like a Holy Grail of intel.
As sad as the fate of the 1st Battalion Rangers was, the spirit of Pfc Angelo DiMarco and his brothers in arms, with a miraculous escape and a will to survive, was uplifting.
I could see the Italian country market place, with farmers bringing their goods to sell, business as usual as the world around them was crumbling.
These early days of American involvement in the European theater brought horrific revelations about how the NAZIS treated POWs. The sacrifice the Rangers made, and the POW survivors, like Angelo, gave valuable information to Gen. Patton for his march to Berlin.
Angelo DiMarco's bitterness and reluctance to talk about his experience is deeply felt, how could he not think about all the lives lost, and his friends of one of the most unique fighting units ever created, the 1st Battalion Rangers?
War brings tragedy and sadness as it shows the darkest side of man, but the spirit, the camaraderie, and the will to survive and retain one's humanity is a good takeaway from this very good story.
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