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Summary

Hailed as Newby's 'masterpiece', Love and War in the Apennines is the gripping real-life story of Newby's imprisonment and escape from an Italian prison camp during World War II.

After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants who fed, supported and nursed him before his eventual recapture.

Love and War in the Apennines is Newby's tribute to the selfless and courageous people who were to be his saviours and companions during this troubled time and of their bleak and unchanging way of life. Of the cast of idiosyncratic characters, most notable was the beautiful local girl on a bike who would teach him the language and eventually help him escape; two years later they were married and would spend the rest of their lives as co-adventurers. Part travelogue, part escape story and part romance, this is a mesmerising account of wisdom, courage, humour and adventure and tells the story of the early life of a man who would become one of Britain's best loved literary adventurers.

©2019 Eric Newby (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"His masterpiece." (Spectator)

"A vivid description of Italian village life, full of notable characters...and the reactions of one sensitive man to being out of the war in the middle of one." (Daily Telegraph)

"It is necessary to state with emphasis that this is a very good book indeed." (Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about Love and War in the Apennines

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What I did in the war

I love Eric Newby's books. This is a step away from his usual travel writing; it's the story of his wartime experiences in the SBS, as a PoW and on the run.

Tense and incredibly touching, and with a happy ending.

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Most enjoyable listen

A gripping true story of the Italian people who helped a Btitish POW ( and many others) escape the Facists and Germans. Their courage thwarting the authorities deserved medals. The shepherds and contadini had skills to survive the mountain winters. Ingenious skills now long gone. The narrator has a warm voice and very good accents and the story has humour and romance too. The whole package. Why hasn’t an Italian company made a film? Svegliati ragazzi!

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Brilliant, evocative, eloquent tale from WW2

I loved this book. It's humorous, thought provoking, charming and moving in a variety of ways. Despite the fact it is the story of war and survival, I found it to be very upbeat and actually quite inspiring in places. The courage and kindness of the Italians who helped and sheltered Newby is genuinely moving and Newby is a brilliant story teller, and a very brave man!

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A great story of courage from all involvef

The book is a great story told with humility and humour whilst stressing the part played by local people at huge risk

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Superb story

Beautifully performed and narrated by James Bryce. Brings the country and its people vividly to life.

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A great real life story

A great real life story from an little know aspect of WW II - I very much enjoyed it

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A GREAT CURE FOR INSOMNIA

This "story" and I use the word very loosely is as boring as they get. It is a non-entity of a story. Somehow I listened to it all as I was working and I can honestly say it was a chore of the ultimate magnitude. The problem is there is simply no story to it. Nothing happens. Avoid.

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A Charming, somewhat melancholy reminiscence

I enjoyed this offbeat rather wistful melancholy account of Eric Newby's times in the Appenines following his capture and escape in wartime Italy. It is written with a good deal of dry humour, perfectly delivered by the narrator. The people he encounters are kindly, brave, and hospitable but his depiction is realistic and thankfully free of Rose tinted spectacles. One is struck by his description of a time long gone, but also a culture of rural simplicity and generosity which one suspects has also not survived Italy's journey into modernity.