The Other Italy: Italian Resistance in World War II

Maria Wilhelm, Author
Maria Wilhelm, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-393-02568-2
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
The Italian resistance began as a spontaneous uprising against both Nazi occupiers and native fascists after Italy's unconditional surrender to the Allies on September 8, 1943. Unwilling to wait for the arrival of the Allied armies, civilians, often armed with little more than sticks and stones, protected industries, public works and art treasures while slightly better-equipped partisans hastened the retreat of the German army. Drawing on material gathered from archives in Italy as well as extensive interviews, Wilhelm pays particular attention to three resistance minorities: the Jews of Italy who, partly because of the support of the populace in general, played an aggressive role; the Catholic clergy who, ignoring the official neutrality of the Vatican, contributed significantly; and Italian women, who in addition to their patriotic commitment, were fighting for their own emancipation. As the author makes plain, the cost of the resistance was severe, but its achievements were an essential element in restoring Italian morale and self-confidence. Photos not seen by PW. (August)
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