Love and War in the Apennines
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Love and War in the Apennines is a 1971 Second World War memoir (with some changes of names and people and places, and some composite characters) by Eric Newby. It was dramatised as the 2001 film In Love and War starring Callum Blue and Barbora Bobulova.
After the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces in 1943, the author left the prison camp in which he had been held for a year and evaded the Germans by going to ground high in the mountains and forests south of the Po River. In enforced isolation, he was sheltered and protected by an informal and highly courageous network of Italian peasants. Newby writes a powerful account of these idiosyncratic and selfless people and also of their bleak and very basic lifestyle. He undergoes a series of bizarre, funny and often dangerous incidents, and in the process meets Wanda, a local girl who later becomes his wife.
Newby is imprisoned in an orphanage at Fontanellato in the Po valley. With the Armistizio, the Italians let the English prisoners escape. Because Newby has a broken ankle he is abandoned and is hidden in a farmer's hay loft until an Italian doctor takes him to the hospital. Here he is visited by Wanda, the daughter of a Slovene teacher, who gives him Italian lessons in exchange for English lessons and they fall in love. The Germans discover he is there but Newby escapes and hides, moving from one house to another.
Newby is nearly captured and moves into the mountains to stay with a shepherd; villagers build him a camouflaged cave. Further exciting adventures follow, and a meeting with Wanda.
Read the book and you are there in the Italian mountains with him: You can feel the stony soil, smell the wood smoke in the air, sense the snow on the wind. He conjures up the stubborn, fatalistic, bloody-minded locals who risked their lives for him so vividly that they seem to be standing in front of you. You share his fears and his hopes. He makes you laugh and he makes you weep. It's quite an achievement for an author commonly labeled as a travel writer. — Simon Mawer
Travel writer John Gimlette, writing in The Guardian, comments that "For sheer charm, there's nothing quite like Eric Newby's Love and War in the Apennines." He adds that while it is plainly a celebration of Italy, "At a more profound level, it's a beautifully philanthropic yet unsentimental work. However miserable the times and awkward the place, Newby's characters are usually endearing, and often complex."
- Love and War in the Apennines, Picador (1983) ISBN 978-0-330-28024-2
- Fox, 2006.
- Mawer, Simon (2010-01-22). "Avanti! Author Finds Italy Between 'Love And War'". National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- Gimlette, John (2011-09-16). "My favourite travel book, by the world's greatest travel writers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "Obituaries: Eric Newby". The Daily Telegraph. 2006-10-23. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- "Eric Newby: At the frontiers of the language". The Daily Telegraph. 1999-05-22. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- "Love and War in the Appennines by Eric Newby". italian-mysteries.com. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- "Book Reviews: Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby". ExperiencePlus.com. 2002-04-01. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- Fox, Margalit (2006-10-24). "Eric Newby, 86, Acclaimed British Travel Writer, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-05-28.