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The Last Soldiers of the King: Life in Wartime Italy, 1943-1945 download epub

by Eugenio Corti


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The second work, "The Last Soldiers of the King", provides additional insight into life as an Italian soldier in World War II after King Victor Emmanuel gave Mussolini his walking papers in July 1943 and, in effect, placed Mussolini under house arrest.

The second work, "The Last Soldiers of the King", provides additional insight into life as an Italian soldier in World War II after King Victor Emmanuel gave Mussolini his walking papers in July 1943 and, in effect, placed Mussolini under house arrest. Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny subsequently famously rescued Mussolini and brought him to Germany.

In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers . On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and the other members of the Italian force.

In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers who were sent to Russia to fight alongside their German ally. Of the 30,000 men in the Thirty-fifth Corps, Corti was one of only an estimated 4,000 soldiers to survive the ordeal. Mussolini's dreams of empire were shattered, and his ill-fated Eighth Army no longer existed

In this narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death.

In this narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death. Painting vivid pictures of the sights, sounds, and smells of war, he shows how these men fought alongside the Allies against the Germans. They fought without hatred, driven by a sense of duty and love for their country and a desire to quickly put an end to a war that was destroying so many lives.

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In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to. .

In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to resign. Italy then signed an armistice with the Allies and ended its alliance with Germany. The Germans immediately occupied northern Italy, which the Axis still held, and reinstated Mussolini in the north. In this unforgettable narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death.

Corti may already be familiar to many readers. After the war, Corti became a noted novelist

Corti may already be familiar to many readers. His 1947 book Few Returned recounts his experiences as a young lieutenant fighting in Mussolini's fascist army on the Russian front. Corti was one of just a handful of Italian soldiers to escape encirclement and make it back to Italy. After the war, Corti became a noted novelist. The Last Soldiers of the King begins in 1943, when the author was based at Nettuno, Italy, as King Victor Emmanuel forced Mussolini from power. The new Italian government then broke its alliance with Germany and signed an armistice with the Allies, who were invading.

On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and 30,000 other members of the Italian force.

The Italian campaign of World War II consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945

The Italian campaign of World War II consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945.

In the sequel to the highly acclaimed Few Returned, Eugenio Corti, one of Italy’s most distinguished postwar writers, continues his poignant account of his experiences as an Italian soldier in the Second World War. In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers who were sent to Russia to fight alongside their German ally. On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and the other members of the Italian force. Of the 30,000 men in the Thirty-fifth Corps, Corti was one of only an estimated 4,000 soldiers to survive the ordeal. Mussolini’s dreams of empire were shattered, and his ill-fated Eighth Army no longer existed.In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to resign. Italy then signed an armistice with the Allies and ended its alliance with Germany. The Germans immediately occupied northern Italy, which the Axis still held, and reinstated Mussolini in the north. Some Italians remained loyal to fascism; many others aligned themselves with the Allies, who were now advancing in southern Italy. Corti’s sympathies were with the Allies, and after a harrowing escape from the German-occupied north, he rejoined the Italian Army fighting on the side of the king. The Last Soldiers of the King is Corti’s account of the Italian Army’s experiences fighting the Germans during the remainder of the war.In this unforgettable narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death. Painting vivid pictures of the sights, sounds, and smells of war, he shows how these men fought alongside the Allies against the Germans. They fought without hatred, driven by a sense of duty and love for their country and a desire to quickly put an end to a war that was destroying so many lives. Corti superbly relates the wandering of the remnant of Italian officers and men as they sought to reestablish themselves as Italian soldiers. The Last Soldiers of the King tells the story of a proud people forced to endure death, poverty, and the virtual destruction of their nation.

Comments: (4)

Clever
"The Last Soldiers of the King" by E. Corti is a narrative about the author's experiences as an Italian soldier in the waning days of WWII.

Other reviewers have noted that the book is interesting, but (at least in their view) perhaps overdoes the religious material a bit.

I haven't read Corti's previous book, "Few Returned" about the Axis retreat from the Soviet Union after their humiliating and disastrous defeat on the Eastern Front, but I have read Corti's masterpiece, "The Red Horse". It was "The Red Horse" that inspired me to buy "The Last Soldiers..." and, in a balanced world, would have won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In my opinion, "The Last Soldiers..." is primarily about the sharp distinction between the nominally Christian Brits et. al, Americans and Italians, and the atheist Germans and Soviets. That was certainly the main point of "The Red Horse" and, it seems to fit "The Last Soldiers..." as well. The historical narrative, which Corti does beautifully, is but background to the foreground of his incisive observations of the impact of Christianity on culture and perhaps especially on cultures at war. One could, in fact, make similar observations today and contrast the treatment of both innocents and combatants in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other (apparently less newsworthy) conflicts around the world.

This is not to say that "The Last Soldiers..." is a religious book. Far from it. It is a historical narrative. But religion was, in the eyes of the author, the primary cultural difference that influenced the horrific violations of human rights by the Germans and the Soviets and the rather more humane (if not perfect) treatment of civilians and prisoners by the Commonwealth, American, and Italian armies... despite the fact that the Germans and Italians were both Axis powers and the Russians were part of the Allied coalition.

I give it five stars, easily.
Velan
I really enjoyed Corti's book about the Italian retreat from the Russian Front and I wanted to know more of what became of him after it.
Last Soldiers of the King, gave me more of the same and tied up loose ends for me.
Being interested in the history and actions of the Italian Army in WW2, this book sheds light on the Italian contribution to the Allies cause from 1943 on and the whole situation for Italy as a country at that time.
Like his first book, there is not a lot of combat depicted here, but what he does detail, shows the reader what it was like to fight in Italy.
Corti again, does a very good job of showing national differences in military and attitudes of the combatants.
He does play a fair hand to all involved and while the first book had many instances of the German disdain/mistreatmment of the Italians and the hard feelings of Italians towards the Germans, this book does show Cortis respect to the German soldier.
You also get a glimpse of the relationships between the British, Americans and Italians.
To me, the one drawback of this last book are the long passages related to religion.
Corti seems to be a very religious person and occasionally that comes through like a lecture in this book.
But through it all, you can feel what a long hard struggle the battle for Italy was and the post-war strife looming on the horizon.
Hasirri
Unlike his proceeding book "Few Returned", which was about the struggle of the Italian Army to get out of the Donets Pocket after the Russian breakout around Stalingrad, this continuation is Conti's excuse for what happened to the Italians after the Armistice in 1943. Most of the book is taken up not by the plight of the soldiers, but at complaining about the way the Italian Army was seen by the Allies.

Parts of the Italian Army had been imprisoned by the Germans after the Armistice of Rome and Conti complains that they were treated like a defeated Army by the Allies. Uh. When you lose a war, whether on the battlefield or at the negotiations table, your defeated. Conti who was a twenty-three year old second lieutenant, was 'banished' from two different Army groups. During the time he writes about, it seems that all of the fighting was done by the Poles, with the British and Americans as back-up.

Conti spends half the book writing about 'Christian' Europe but considered the Allies to be half-Christian. That the Allies came to Europe (especially the Americans) and spent their fortune and youth to clean up the 'mess' the Fascists had made, doesn't seem to mean anything to Conti. He just complains about the Communists and Germans and how the Allies weren't doing enough to protect the Italian people.

Conti especially likes to go on about the 'peasants' and how they live a life at harmony with nature. But, it sounds so condescending in the translation, you wonder if something is missing. His paean to the Catholic Church (which was arm and arm with Mussolini) seems to come from a different time and place.

According to Conti, most Italians weren't fascists and had great respect for the traditions of the parts of Italy they grew up in. Everyone is referred to by their pre-reorgimento names and he is able to distinguish them by the way they look and act. We are introduced to poor salt-of-the earth priest who live lives of poverty. His stories of chastity towards the woman he meets and his 'angel' Margharina can get downright 'sappy'.

Personally, I found his comments about Jews who created 'Marxism' and "refusers" of Christ, reaping what they had sowed to be both 'stupid' and anti-semetic. He speaks about hearing from the Poles about the people who are being systematically rounded up and put in the "Lagers", but makes it sound like only "Christians" were rounded up. He mentions the millions killed by the Communist atheists (which they did) but never mentions directly those millions rounded up by the Germans (who are and were Christians).

He speaks lovingly of the Catholic Church and the Pope but never mentions the 'silence' from the Vatican when it came to the "Nuremburg" laws being enforced in Italy after the "Armistice". The Jews of Rome were rounded up within view of St.Peter's but not a word was ever printed in "L'Observatore Romano".

If the only thing you knew about WW2 in Italy was Conti's memories, you would think that the Italians were forced into war by a few 'hot heads' and that the rest of the country suffered because of this.

Zeb Kantrowitz
The Last Soldiers of the King: Life in Wartime Italy, 1943-1945 download epub
Historical
Author: Eugenio Corti
ISBN: 0826214916
Category: Biographies & Memoris
Subcategory: Historical
Language: English
Publisher: University of Missouri Press; 1st edition (November 14, 2003)
Pages: 344 pages