We do not argue with those who disagree with us, we destroy them. (Benito Mussolini)_
|Italian journalism is free because it serves one cause and one purpose… mine!
This was the mindset of the Italian dictator Mussolini.
| 3 I so wished I could have loved it stars
5 stars for the bravery that Pino and others showed
This should have been a book I adored. It had all the elements of what I so enjoy in my books, heroes, World War 2, courage, nobility in the face of devastation and yet this novel left me feeling oddly displeased.
This is the story of a seventeen year old young man living in Italy during the war. He is sent away because his parents fear for his and his bother’s safety. They are sent to a school in the Alps run by Catholic priests. The boys are eventually asked to embark on missions to help secret Jews away to Switzerland. The job these boys understood was not only dangerous because of the weather, the climbing, and the Nazis, but it also required the boys to be physically and mentally strong and agile. Pino and Mimo gladly accept the task and they guide many Jews to safety. When Pino approaches his eighteenth birthday, his parents call him home from the school fearing the draft, knowing that the Italian army will send him to fight in Russia which was certain death. They have him enlist in the Nazi army and it is through his facility with languages that he becomes a driver for General Leyes, a powerful Nazi.
Pino Lella and his brother were true heroes and while Pino went on to be a spy while being the driver of a high ranking Nazi general, Mimo eventually joins the resistance. Of course what Pino is doing must be hidden so many of his friends and even relatives abhor his being a Nazi. He, at many times is the recipient of scorn and hatred. The war continues, Pino finds the girl, Anna, working as a maid for the mistress of General Leyes. He had been attracted to her previously. Anna and Pino connect, fall in love, and become lovers.
The tension and the possibility of Pino’s capture and the secrets he carries to his aunt and uncle makes for the bulk of the book. We learn of what he has witnessed, the transportation of the Jews to Auschwitz, the murders committed and the brutality of the Nazi overlords, the robbing of the Italian treasury, the robbing of Italian treasures and the taking of lives of the innocent.
So why did this book fall flat for me? I have to think that sometimes an author tries too hard to cram every thought, every deed, every moment into a story. For me, that often makes for a read that I find overburdened with wordiness. What Pino and others did was amazing on so many levels. Their courage, their ability to face adversity was awe inspiring. I just wish the author had been able to inspire that awe in me.
Thank you to my local library for purchasing this book for all to read.