War in Italy, 1943-1945: A Brutal Story

Richard Lamb, Author
Richard Lamb, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (335p) ISBN 978-0-312-11093-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-306-80688-9
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Based in part on newly opened Italian archives, Lamb's review of the final two years of WW II from the Italian viewpoint offers several surprises. Chronicling the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis against Italian civilians, the persecution of Italian Jews and the widespread slaughter of surrendering Italian soldiers, he also dwells on the attempted annexation of northwest Italy by de Gaulle and of northeast Italy by Tito (Lamb argues that the Yugoslavs treated the Italians more brutally than had the Germans). He documents as well the significant contributions of the Royalist Army to the Allied cause in the final months of the war, showing how the performance of Italian troops in battle earned the confidence of British and American generals alike. In a minor but dramatic passage, Lamb shows how extraordinarily helpful Italian civilians were to escaping Allied POWs, often risking their lives to provide shelter and share sparse rations. The book includes a clarifying analysis of the Salo Republic, the Fascist puppet regime set up under Mussolini by Hitler, and Il duce 's frenzied but unsuccessful efforts to protect his countrymen from Nazi tyranny. Lamb ( Montgomery in Europe ) served with the British Eighth Army in Italy during the period under discussion. Photos. (July)
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