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A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

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The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the "moving finale" (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II. In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic milit The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the "moving finale" (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II. In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic military losses, an Italian Resistance was born. Four young Piedmontese women—Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca—living secretly in the mountains surrounding Turin, risked their lives to overthrow Italy’s authoritarian government. They were among the thousands of Italians who joined the Partisan effort to help the Allies liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators. What made this partisan war all the more extraordinary was the number of women—like this brave quartet—who swelled its ranks. The bloody civil war that ensued pitted neighbor against neighbor, and revealed the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together into a coherent fighting force. But the death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule—with its corruption, greed, and anti-Semitism—was unrelentingly violent and brutal. Drawing on a rich cache of previously untranslated sources, prize-winning historian Caroline Moorehead illuminates the experiences of Ada, Frida, Silvia, and Bianca to tell the little-known story of the women of the Italian partisan movement fighting for freedom against fascism in all its forms, while Europe collapsed in smoldering ruins around them.


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The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the "moving finale" (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II. In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic milit The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the "moving finale" (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II. In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic military losses, an Italian Resistance was born. Four young Piedmontese women—Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca—living secretly in the mountains surrounding Turin, risked their lives to overthrow Italy’s authoritarian government. They were among the thousands of Italians who joined the Partisan effort to help the Allies liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators. What made this partisan war all the more extraordinary was the number of women—like this brave quartet—who swelled its ranks. The bloody civil war that ensued pitted neighbor against neighbor, and revealed the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together into a coherent fighting force. But the death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule—with its corruption, greed, and anti-Semitism—was unrelentingly violent and brutal. Drawing on a rich cache of previously untranslated sources, prize-winning historian Caroline Moorehead illuminates the experiences of Ada, Frida, Silvia, and Bianca to tell the little-known story of the women of the Italian partisan movement fighting for freedom against fascism in all its forms, while Europe collapsed in smoldering ruins around them.

30 review for A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Forsen

    This book intrigued me. I have read 2 of the author’s other books. Fascinating amount of facts, however they are sort of hard to follow due to the number of people discussed. My dad’s family is from this exact area, Piedmont in northern Italy. In fact, while I was reading it, I messaged with my cousin who lives there and asked him about his father’s memories of the war. I discovered that at least one of my relatives was a partisan. He survived the war (which on it’s own is incredible after readi This book intrigued me. I have read 2 of the author’s other books. Fascinating amount of facts, however they are sort of hard to follow due to the number of people discussed. My dad’s family is from this exact area, Piedmont in northern Italy. In fact, while I was reading it, I messaged with my cousin who lives there and asked him about his father’s memories of the war. I discovered that at least one of my relatives was a partisan. He survived the war (which on it’s own is incredible after reading this story) and in fact lived to be 89. The history was interesting - Italy had so many different issues with so many groups fighting for control...Fascists, and the Resistance, which was again divided by those who were Communist and those who were not. As you might imagine, this led to difficulties with the differences in ideologies, for Italians but also for the Allied and the Axis. This book highlighted the role women played in this Resistance. Because their intelligence and loyalties were underestimated, it allowed them to be more effective perhaps than if they had been thought of as a threat. As always, it is amazing what people lived through and I am reminded how fortunate to be living in a country with no recent wars on our homeland.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    The story is fascinating but I found the number of characters and minutia too much to deal with so I stopped reading

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cecile Moylan

    This book is niche, but it’s MY niche. It is also so so important. It’s a reminder how women are too often written out of history, how too often their impact is undermined and discredited. The role women played in the Italian resistance is largely unknown but nothing short of incredible. I am in awe. There is also some fascinating commentary on the connection and allegiance between women and other marginalised groups, namely Italy’s working class and Jewish population. Actually, maybe this book i This book is niche, but it’s MY niche. It is also so so important. It’s a reminder how women are too often written out of history, how too often their impact is undermined and discredited. The role women played in the Italian resistance is largely unknown but nothing short of incredible. I am in awe. There is also some fascinating commentary on the connection and allegiance between women and other marginalised groups, namely Italy’s working class and Jewish population. Actually, maybe this book isn’t niche. After all, women’s histories should really be anything but.

  4. 5 out of 5

    wade

    This is a well researched and written book for a narrow audience. My only complaint is the book's subtitle "the women who liberated Italy from fascism". The insertion of the word "helped" would have made the cover much less misleading. The book generally follows the lives of four women who became members of the resistance against Mussolini and his government during World War 2 and after with their disappointment when women didn't get their well deserved credit and benefits they hoped to get in This is a well researched and written book for a narrow audience. My only complaint is the book's subtitle "the women who liberated Italy from fascism". The insertion of the word "helped" would have made the cover much less misleading. The book generally follows the lives of four women who became members of the resistance against Mussolini and his government during World War 2 and after with their disappointment when women didn't get their well deserved credit and benefits they hoped to get in post war Italy. Well worth reading if this topic appeals to you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    DNF. I got about 1/3 of the way through and although it is a fascinating book and topic, it was just too much of a history lesson that an interesting book to read all the way through.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    A bit tedious

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Okay, putting this in my read bookshelf is a bit of a lie since I couldn't get through it (got about 1/2 way). I wanted more of a story, and this read like an encyclopedia or timeline. Okay, putting this in my read bookshelf is a bit of a lie since I couldn't get through it (got about 1/2 way). I wanted more of a story, and this read like an encyclopedia or timeline.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vendela

    This is an extraordinary book. Violent and at times really tough going, but such a riveting story you can’t put it down nonetheless. And the women. Ada. Silvia. Frida. Lisseta. So damn brave, so damn bright, and such an important part of the partisan resistance. Read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donna May

    I have found this book to be intriguing and insightful. I am impressed at how courageous these women were.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Today’s Nonfiction post is on A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead. It is 416 pages and is published by Harper. The cover has a picture of three of the women on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in World War II history and women’s history. There is foul language, discussion of rape and sexual abuse, and lots of violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the dust jacket- In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke Today’s Nonfiction post is on A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead. It is 416 pages and is published by Harper. The cover has a picture of three of the women on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in World War II history and women’s history. There is foul language, discussion of rape and sexual abuse, and lots of violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead. From the dust jacket- In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic military losses, an Italian Resistance was born. Four young Piedmontese women—Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca—living secretly in the mountains surrounding Turin, risked their lives to overthrow Italy’s authoritarian government. They were among the thousands of Italians who joined the Partisan effort to help the Allies liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators. What made this partisan war all the more extraordinary was the number of women—like this brave quartet—who swelled its ranks. The bloody civil war that ensued pitted neighbor against neighbor, and revealed the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together into a coherent fighting force. But the death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule—with its corruption, greed, and anti-Semitism—was unrelentingly violent and brutal. Drawing on a rich cache of previously untranslated sources, prize-winning historian Caroline Moorehead illuminates the experiences of Ada, Frida, Silvia, and Bianca to tell the little-known story of the women of the Italian partisan movement fighting for freedom against fascism in all its forms, while Europe collapsed in smoldering ruins around them. Review- A great overview of the Italian war front and what information we can find on the women who fought there. Moorehead, who is an excellent writer and researcher, turns her eye to Italy> There is so much information going on in this book at times it can be overwhelming but the women are barely there. At least that is what I felt like. I know that most of the problem is what the people in power at the time did not understand or see what the women give to be free but that makes this book less about them more about the italian front in general. That said it was interesting and I have never really read anything about Italy after it fell and what happened to the people who were trapped with the Italian fascists and the Nazis. Not my favorite of her books but still a solid read. I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I have read a fair number of books about World War II in various countries; the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and Poland, but never Italy. My father fought in Italy during the war, but all he talked about was the funny things that happened. A House in the Mountains is about the 22 months of the Italian Resistance, and specifically the women in the resistance, fighting against the Italian Fascists and the Germans, after Benito Mussolini was removed by his own cabinet in July, 1943. Between I have read a fair number of books about World War II in various countries; the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and Poland, but never Italy. My father fought in Italy during the war, but all he talked about was the funny things that happened. A House in the Mountains is about the 22 months of the Italian Resistance, and specifically the women in the resistance, fighting against the Italian Fascists and the Germans, after Benito Mussolini was removed by his own cabinet in July, 1943. Between July and September 9, 1943, a revolution of sorts took place in Italy. Mussolini was put in jail. Romans danced in the streets. Prominent Fascists began to be shot in the street. The Italian government signed an armistice with the Allies. It was a short-lived revolution. When the armistice was announced, the Germans moved in. They took over the railway system, the telephone exchanges, the army and naval bases. The Italian military hardly resisted at all. Over 600,000 Italian soldiers were sent to Germany on trains to work as slave labor. Caroline Moorehead, the author of A House in the Mountains, focuses on Turin, the center of resistance in the north, and the part women played. To appreciate how amazing this was Moorehead discusses the way Fascism dictated sex roles in Italian society. Women did not have the vote in Fascist Italy. In fact, women were inferior, and should not be allowed to work around machinery or in the professions. If they wanted to go to university, they had to pay twice as much tuition as men. Their role was to be mothers and have children, "many little soldiers for the Italian empire." Women in the Piedmont were not content to be walking wombs. They had been taking an active part in combating Fascism even before Mussolini was deposed. But once the Germans came, they participated in strikes at the factories of Turin, acts of sabotage, and hid Allied prisoners of war and urged Italian soldiers to leave their barracks and go home. The book focuses on four women,`Ada Gobetti, Bianca Guidetti Sera, Freida Malan and Silvia Pons, who were instrumental in the Resistance. This is an inspiring and depressing story of ordinary people brought to heroic acts in the hope of a better future. Read this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This book was well researched and captures a part of WWII history that was unfamiliar to me. It is a powerful book that can be brutal, yet captivating. I will read her other books. I did not give it 5 stars because, at times, I found the writing cumbersome and too dense.

  13. 4 out of 5

    M

    The title and subtitle of the book are all that's captivating. More than a dozen times, I've tried reading it with the intention to invest thoughtful consideration, but there's so much jumping back and forth to different timelines, adding too many new characters, not allowing me to stay interested in one long enough to care. Two chapters in with three months of trying, I do not recommend this book. The title and subtitle of the book are all that's captivating. More than a dozen times, I've tried reading it with the intention to invest thoughtful consideration, but there's so much jumping back and forth to different timelines, adding too many new characters, not allowing me to stay interested in one long enough to care. Two chapters in with three months of trying, I do not recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cathleen

    While I learned some interesting history from this book, most of it was HIStory. When I heard the male narrator's voice on the audiobook, I should have known that this would not be great. I mean in this day and age, who doesn't know enough about perception to realize the implications of not having a woman read women's history (and don't tell me you can't find qualified readers - I know plenty who speak the languages used in this text). Actually SHAME on Moorehead for allowing her book to be read While I learned some interesting history from this book, most of it was HIStory. When I heard the male narrator's voice on the audiobook, I should have known that this would not be great. I mean in this day and age, who doesn't know enough about perception to realize the implications of not having a woman read women's history (and don't tell me you can't find qualified readers - I know plenty who speak the languages used in this text). Actually SHAME on Moorehead for allowing her book to be read in this manner and for allowing a text that focuses mostly on general, male history rather than women's for most of text - at times it's as if she's said, "Oh sh*t, I need to find something about women to stick in here." Luckily I'm well versed in how to use references, so eventually I'll be able to learn about the women this book purported to be focused on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    Some members of my family were involved in the Italian Resistance and I was more than happy when I got this ARC. It's well researched and the explanations of what happened is detailed and clear. I loved to read the story of these women and I'm more than happy that their names are remembered. It was a book that moved me, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine Some members of my family were involved in the Italian Resistance and I was more than happy when I got this ARC. It's well researched and the explanations of what happened is detailed and clear. I loved to read the story of these women and I'm more than happy that their names are remembered. It was a book that moved me, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  16. 5 out of 5

    Harry Alleva

    Truth be told, I had a very difficult time keeping all of the characters' names in memory. That and the numerous political parties that were formed etc. etc. Somewhat a tediouos read. Truth be told, I had a very difficult time keeping all of the characters' names in memory. That and the numerous political parties that were formed etc. etc. Somewhat a tediouos read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane Justice

    I really admire these women but I didn’t find this book as exciting or inspiring as the subject matter should be. Instead it reads like a tedious textbook. I did, however, find that I am horribly uninformed about Italy from 1943 to 1945.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lance Hillsinger

    A House in the Mountains: The Women who liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead starts poorly. In the first third of the book, some paragraphs have an inordinate number of proper names. In one passage, the last sentence of the paragraph ends with so-and-so did such and such, but so-and-so hadn’t been mentioned for several sentences. The reader has to go back and figure out which of several proper names so-and-so was. In another passage, Moorehead writes about an attempt to get an Ame A House in the Mountains: The Women who liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead starts poorly. In the first third of the book, some paragraphs have an inordinate number of proper names. In one passage, the last sentence of the paragraph ends with so-and-so did such and such, but so-and-so hadn’t been mentioned for several sentences. The reader has to go back and figure out which of several proper names so-and-so was. In another passage, Moorehead writes about an attempt to get an American serviceman spirited into Switzerland, but the reader is left hanging out about what happened to the serviceman. Also, the narrative frequently uses the Italian word staffette. However, it is not until more than a hundred pages that she defines the word staffette, but because of its frequent use, the reader already knows its meaning. However, about a third of the way through, it is as if Moorehead had a new editor. The transitions back and forth between the lives of the women she profiles to the progress of the war are much better. The writing is more organized. The complicated politics of the time are explained more clearly. In both the first third and the second two-thirds, Moorehead brings extensive research to bear. Whatever one’s opinion about the writing style, A House in the Mountains is certainly “data-rich.” As the sub-title implies, Moorehead’s focus is women’s involvement in the resistance. Their brave efforts, especially as couriers of information, were certainly critical. However, Moorehead’s focus is not just on fighting Nazism but recognizing the value of women, particularly in traditional Italy. (Women in Italy did not get the right to vote until 1945). Her focus, at times, goes a little too far. For instance, the subtitle should read “the women who HELPED liberate Italy from fascism" the subtitle as written is as if the women did all of the liberating. For its “data-rich” narrative and two-thirds of a well-written book, A House in the Mountains deserves four stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ddoddmccue

    Within the past few years the literature on the role of women in WWii resistance movements has grown, with much emphasis on activities in France. Moorehead expands that coverage by targeting women in the Italian resistance, 1943-1945. The time and context offer important contrasts based on the increased instability experienced in Italy as a result of shifting and external political alliances: who was friend or foe a fluid status. She emphasizes that the Axis-Allied conflicts were further complic Within the past few years the literature on the role of women in WWii resistance movements has grown, with much emphasis on activities in France. Moorehead expands that coverage by targeting women in the Italian resistance, 1943-1945. The time and context offer important contrasts based on the increased instability experienced in Italy as a result of shifting and external political alliances: who was friend or foe a fluid status. She emphasizes that the Axis-Allied conflicts were further complicated by within Allies conflicts, labor-management conflicts, and an Italian civil war deepening regional divisions. Moorehead anchors her account on four Italian women operating in Turin and Northern Italy. While her sketches of the four vary in clarity and thoroughness (even with photographs of each), this weakness is offset by the description of the different and often conflicting forces involved in shifting alliances in the rugged mountains. Marginalized groups were recognized and gained influence, though it often was short held. Women, under Mussolini relegated to traditional roles, gained voice in economic and political spheres- leading to suffrage in the post-war era. The contributions of women, personified here by Moorehead's foursome, warrant praise. A House In The Mountains is well researched, the passages dense. Introductory pages include descriptions of the individuals highlighted, a time frame of events, and maps. Including these materials significantly aided in reading about this confusing but important period in Italian and world history.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    What particularly struck me about this book was the end: so much hope for a better world, and less realized than hoped for. It was a tragedy throughout with so many brave, young, and moral resistant fighters killed by the Fascists. Italy’s history of fascism was far longer and deeper than that of Germany. The fascists were deeply imbedded in Italian society; they ended up in control of many levers of power following the war. I really had a better understanding of modern Italy because of the imme What particularly struck me about this book was the end: so much hope for a better world, and less realized than hoped for. It was a tragedy throughout with so many brave, young, and moral resistant fighters killed by the Fascists. Italy’s history of fascism was far longer and deeper than that of Germany. The fascists were deeply imbedded in Italian society; they ended up in control of many levers of power following the war. I really had a better understanding of modern Italy because of the immediate post-war struggles. The story of the last twenty-odd months of the Second World War is one of resistant fighters. The Mussolini government was in collapse, the Germans in direct control, the Allied armies controlling a growing portion of Italy: chaotic, brutal, desperate. German control was really only about slowing an inevitable defeat, and everyone knew it. The resistance forces in Italy tried to accelerate the German withdrawal while protecting their own. The book focuses on a group of women, four friends, who are from Turin. The story of the Turin resistance, the roll of women, the strategic travels from mountain towns to Turin: all are part of this brave and dramatic story. The hopes for a post-war world of greater equality across gender, politics, economics – most of those hopes sustain them, but often are only partially achieved. It is a brave story tinged with tragedy because of deaths and disappointments. Very interesting and insightful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    The story of women’s role in the Italian resistance to fascism is a truly great one. Moorhead deserves all the credit in the world for keeping the facts of that heroic effort in play, especially at a time when fascism raises its putrid head in America and other democracies. But the book needed an aggressive editor. Moorhead begins by attempting to focus the narrative on four particularly notable women, but their stories soon are lost in a Russian novel-like accumulation of names and details of e The story of women’s role in the Italian resistance to fascism is a truly great one. Moorhead deserves all the credit in the world for keeping the facts of that heroic effort in play, especially at a time when fascism raises its putrid head in America and other democracies. But the book needed an aggressive editor. Moorhead begins by attempting to focus the narrative on four particularly notable women, but their stories soon are lost in a Russian novel-like accumulation of names and details of events probably cobbled together from her extensive writings about the resistance in general. We lose track of the four women’s unique stories, and that’s a shame. Still, the detailed narrative of the resistance by normal people to the brutal tragedy Italy experienced between Mussolini’s return by Hitler to Duce until liberation is an important reminder of the depths of human courage possible in the face of human depravity. There is always hope.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    The fourth book in the Resistance Quartet followed the lives of four Italian women during WWII and their activities in the Italian resistance between 1944 and 1945. It's a detailed history of their activities, their work to overthrow the Nazi and Fascist regime in Italy, most especially in NW Italy in the Piedmont / Turin area (along the French border). Brave women and many men fought against Antisemitism, roundups of Jews to concentration camps, outright murder of resisters, and the destruction The fourth book in the Resistance Quartet followed the lives of four Italian women during WWII and their activities in the Italian resistance between 1944 and 1945. It's a detailed history of their activities, their work to overthrow the Nazi and Fascist regime in Italy, most especially in NW Italy in the Piedmont / Turin area (along the French border). Brave women and many men fought against Antisemitism, roundups of Jews to concentration camps, outright murder of resisters, and the destruction of their country. While many of us know about the resistance movements in France and in Eastern Europe, those in Italy (and Greece) are often forgotten. The reader had a slow, steady voice which captured the struggles and austerity of this period and WWII. He was a fairly unemotional reader who's voice droned a little when reading the frequent lists of dates, events, and people. For a review of the performance, see AudioFile Magazine http://www.audiofilemagazine.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Historical fiction set during WWII inevitably contains scenes of horror or sadness, but the endings vary. But this book is non-fiction, so we know how the story will end...or do we? Kudos to the author for turning history we thought we knew into more than a bit of a mystery. I wish now that I had been taking notes to keep track of all the abbreviations and Italian words and hundreds of characters. Thank goodness for the map, partial list of characters and timeline of history in the beginning of t Historical fiction set during WWII inevitably contains scenes of horror or sadness, but the endings vary. But this book is non-fiction, so we know how the story will end...or do we? Kudos to the author for turning history we thought we knew into more than a bit of a mystery. I wish now that I had been taking notes to keep track of all the abbreviations and Italian words and hundreds of characters. Thank goodness for the map, partial list of characters and timeline of history in the beginning of the book. And, of course, everyone who knows me knows how much I adore a brief epilogue. In the year 2020, it feels critical to read as many books written by and about women as possible. (If I had a better vocabulary and didn't have to look up the meaning of some word on EVERY SINGLE PAGE, I would have rated this book five stars.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Avery

    A House In the Mountains shines light in the many roles women have played throughout history. While the backdrop is WWII, the feature is resistance, the main character is women. Caroline Moorehead illustrates just how strong and resilient women are, our resourcefulness and our ability to rise to every occasion. This book is dear to me shedding a sliver of light to what is/could if been my own families history. It illustrated how deep our mothers, daughters and sisters will go to fight against inj A House In the Mountains shines light in the many roles women have played throughout history. While the backdrop is WWII, the feature is resistance, the main character is women. Caroline Moorehead illustrates just how strong and resilient women are, our resourcefulness and our ability to rise to every occasion. This book is dear to me shedding a sliver of light to what is/could if been my own families history. It illustrated how deep our mothers, daughters and sisters will go to fight against injustice. With our current work engulfed in a resurgence of fascism, distrust and racism this book shows that not all will fall to the easy tide, most will push back for what is right and just in the world and women will be at the forefront of it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Read this along with Moorhead's other book about Italian antifascist resistance, A Bold and Dangerous Family, has really brought home for me that we over-focus on Nazism when studying early 20th century events,and do so to our detriment. Fascism in Italy lasted twice as long and was deeply ingrained, and those who fought for liberation no less impressive than their better-known French and German counterparts. This book focuses on the many brave, resourceful women who were active partisans throug Read this along with Moorhead's other book about Italian antifascist resistance, A Bold and Dangerous Family, has really brought home for me that we over-focus on Nazism when studying early 20th century events,and do so to our detriment. Fascism in Italy lasted twice as long and was deeply ingrained, and those who fought for liberation no less impressive than their better-known French and German counterparts. This book focuses on the many brave, resourceful women who were active partisans throughout the war, and in particular after the period of civil war that lead the occupation by Germany. A great start to filling the gaps in our popular history.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Bedford

    Fascinating book telling some of of Italy’s story in World War Two. It is such a complicated story, dealing with the various branches of fascism and partisan groups that sprang up before & during the war, & I found following the women’s stories too was a complicated procedure in a book with so many facets to cover. But that didn’t take away from the tale of these incredibly brave,resourceful & intelligent women, four women friends in particular,based in & around Turin. I knew very little of Fasci Fascinating book telling some of of Italy’s story in World War Two. It is such a complicated story, dealing with the various branches of fascism and partisan groups that sprang up before & during the war, & I found following the women’s stories too was a complicated procedure in a book with so many facets to cover. But that didn’t take away from the tale of these incredibly brave,resourceful & intelligent women, four women friends in particular,based in & around Turin. I knew very little of Fascism in Italy & the role of Germany, the Allies & the Partisans in this conflict, so for me the book despite being quite dense was a fascinating & revelatory read. To be read slowly!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    A fascinating look at a part of WWII that is generally not known. My husband and I listened to this in the car over several months, and reading the book with a list of characters may have been easier given how many there are. In some ways the author seems to be straining to make the facts relate to her theme of women’s key role in resisting the Fascists and Germans, but that may just be because women’s roles had been highly restricted under Mussolini. The author emphasizes a separation between N A fascinating look at a part of WWII that is generally not known. My husband and I listened to this in the car over several months, and reading the book with a list of characters may have been easier given how many there are. In some ways the author seems to be straining to make the facts relate to her theme of women’s key role in resisting the Fascists and Germans, but that may just be because women’s roles had been highly restricted under Mussolini. The author emphasizes a separation between North and South in Italy, and surprisingly, South includes Rome. Finally, the book also helps to show that the continual dysfunction of Italian politics is deeply rooted.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Munro

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book tracks four women who were prominent in the Italian Resistance during WWII. and the role of women in general who supported the many organizations that rose up to fight the Fascists and Nazis after the Allied landings in 1943. Despite the cast of characters listed in the front of the book, it was difficult to keep track of the many men and women who participated in the fighting to liberate Italy from its oppressors. The author emphasizes the fact that the role of women in the conflict wa The book tracks four women who were prominent in the Italian Resistance during WWII. and the role of women in general who supported the many organizations that rose up to fight the Fascists and Nazis after the Allied landings in 1943. Despite the cast of characters listed in the front of the book, it was difficult to keep track of the many men and women who participated in the fighting to liberate Italy from its oppressors. The author emphasizes the fact that the role of women in the conflict was under-appreciated for many years, and the rights they fought for were slow in developing

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandie Nease

    I really enjoyed this book, but it’s definitely not for everyone. It took my some push to get into it, but after moving past the initial hump I couldn’t put it down. The information was interesting, and offered some thought provoking insight for me. I did not know much about Italy during this time in their history, but I have acquired new found appreciation for the tenacity of its people as they fought tyrannical rule, Nazi occupation, and Fascism. This is a part of history not talked about enou I really enjoyed this book, but it’s definitely not for everyone. It took my some push to get into it, but after moving past the initial hump I couldn’t put it down. The information was interesting, and offered some thought provoking insight for me. I did not know much about Italy during this time in their history, but I have acquired new found appreciation for the tenacity of its people as they fought tyrannical rule, Nazi occupation, and Fascism. This is a part of history not talked about enough.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Though entertaining and informative, Moorehead's insistence on using first names for her primary protagonists and last names for other figures was confusing for a work already littered with names. I also wish she expanded on the nature of sexual violence the Germans and Italian fascists visited upon on Italians, as well as its use against collaborators after liberation. The book would have benefited from a more coherent account of the Allies' duplicity, disorganization, and indifference towards Though entertaining and informative, Moorehead's insistence on using first names for her primary protagonists and last names for other figures was confusing for a work already littered with names. I also wish she expanded on the nature of sexual violence the Germans and Italian fascists visited upon on Italians, as well as its use against collaborators after liberation. The book would have benefited from a more coherent account of the Allies' duplicity, disorganization, and indifference towards the resistance.

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