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Posted July 10, 2003
We always hear the German version of the Eastern Front in that the Italian front collapsed and they fled. Rigoni tells of the coolness and bravery of the men. When they realized they were trapped, they dismantled every gun and retooled and tempered the springs in the guns to work in the below freezing weather. I felt like I was with the Alpini who had to fight their way out of the encirclement. It certainly wasn't a rout like the history books depict. The book is well written but the regional dialect and sense of the unit is preserved by word choice and syntax. Rigoni's unit retreated with a German panzer unit and the fighting was fierce, but Rigoni tells about this with great humanity. He tells of Ukranians who fed the Italians and Germans. He entered a hut where Soviet soldiers were eating and the woman told him to put his gun down; he sat and ate with the Soviets. He tells how the Germans busted doors down and charged into homes, while the Italians knocked and entered while apologizing. When the Alpini CO found out how many men he had lost, he died from a broken heart.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.