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Naples '44: A World War II Diary of Occupied Italy Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B00DU45UAS
- Publisher : Open Road Media; Reprint edition (July 30, 2013)
- Publication date : July 30, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 2397 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 196 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #341,310 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This in-depth exposure to Arabic, despite the author's relatively lack of formal education ... he never attended college... led to his discovering an aptitude for languages, and he was a gifted linguist, speaking French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, German, and Italian. This early entry, in WWI, into a 'spying career" also led to his recall, in the second world war into the Field Security Service, rather than Secret Service - the author himself said, the difference being the FSO's actually "got their boots dirty" - and as Lewis mentions, rather smugly in the book, he was issued with a pass that bore the legend; "The bearer is entitled to be in any place, at any time and wearing any uniform he chooses" ...so he did indeed, just go wherever he liked, and this allowed him to get the material and experiences that he later used to write what is considered his masterpiece, Naples '44. After a rather logical deployment in North Africa, to use his Arabic, he was deployed - and subsequently, with his colleagues, totally ignored - to the USA Headquarters of General Clark for the invasion of Italy, landing at Salerno.
Clark was subsequently criticized by British historians and General Montgomery for the near-failure of the landings at Salerno, as a result of poor planning and at one stage, the author states, the General actually planned to withdraw from the hard-won beach-head, deserting his own men and retreating to the off-shore battle fleet. Clark's conduct of operations remains controversial, particularly his later actions in ignoring orders from his Army Group Commander and rapidly advancing towards Rome to be the first to enter and thereby allowing a large number of German troops to escape. Lewis also mentions his horror at the order passed to the troops that any Germans surrendering were to be killed - by the butts of their rifles. War, of course is brutalizing and provides the evidence that all of us can become dehumanized by it and discards our morals.
But not - by his own and his contemporaries accounts - not Lewis, who as rapidly as he becomes disenchanted by his peers becomes enamored of the Italians, those starving, grasping, mafia exploited "scugnizzi' of Naples he meets and treats.
The author evidences his compassion and that engages ours.
Top reviews from other countries
I am so pleased I did. I had no pre-conceived ideas about this author or knowledge of his literary value.
I am not surprised to learn that he was a contemporary of Graham Greene having read and listened to his voice through the words recorded here.
Naples ‘44 is a diary set in the aftermath of the Allied liberation of Southern Italy. Lewis had a great affinity for Italy which enhances his account of the struggle of a people in abject poverty.
The author recounts the story, shares the facts as he understood them and like a modern day animal behaviourist, an Attenborough, commentates on the antics and realities of life on our planet.
This though isn’t a view of the Serengeti but a proud European nation and the city of Naples.
But in just everyday reflections, like sharing a personal conversation the author recounts and reveals the past. As fascinating as being with an archeologist in Egypt gently peaking back layers lost over time. Nuanced observation through events recorded in his diary, not by his own commentary or analysis, but a leisurely stroll and keen eye of life surviving, somehow around him. Above all where he needed lacked knowledge, providing clarity by allowing the people and their actions to speak for themselves.
A passage through time and space; like any great travel book, journal or documentary - without leaving your own chair.
A scratch and sniff book that arouses all your senses
Especially your sense of horror at the impact of war. Please note, by default, this must be similar to postwar life in Iraq, Afghanistan and The Sudan today.
There seems no victors in any war just casualties and enduring misery. There are spoils of war; black market racketeers and mainly Allied officers and their own command complicit to carry off all that can be contained in crates for safe homeward passage.
This isn’t the message of this book.
It is just a faithful record of an eye witness that is so powerful it evokes such passion in his readers.
I feel for these people, their poverty and marvel at their resilience and humanity.
I loved the journey this book takes you on. The clear and easy going sense of a story told by a firsthand observer. Using a rich language and with a clear love of a people and their history and heritage. I hung on his every word and enjoyed each page.
As stated some of the realities and lack of justice appalled me. It has left me more compassionate, less judgemental. I see dignity amid poverty, life where there is nothing but hunger, disease and death.
I think back to stories told to me by others visiting Southern Italy in the 70s and 80s bemoaning the lack of tourist facilities and the threat of crime and the constant fear on the street of robbery.
I understand now why rich people, perhaps with no language to share or appreciation of culture and shared history should not travel unprepared. They should not just tick off destinations. Etna, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast as seen.
Books like this would enhance anyone’s travel and perhaps, if we need such knowledge, to understand more than reading a guide book alone.
The publication by Eland of such lost literary treasures is a good one. But books are only as good as a read item. Mine lay unread for a couple of years.
I will research more now, before I travel, try to be less arrogant in my attitude and with any opinions on a country and its people. In this author I have found a writer I trust and want to read more of his work.