Few Returned: Twenty-Eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943

Overview

After World War II more than one hundred books appeared that dealt with the experience of the Italian army in Russia, and particularly the terrible winter retreat of 1942-1943. Few Returned (I piu' non ritornano) is the only one of these that is still regularly reissued in Italy.

Eugenio Corti, who was a twenty-one-year-old second lieutenant at the time, found himself, together with 30,000 Italians and a smaller contingent of Germans, encircled on the banks of the River Don by ...

See more details below
Paperback
$19.53
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$24.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $6.98   
  • New (4) from $15.85   
  • Used (9) from $6.98   
Sending request ...

Overview

After World War II more than one hundred books appeared that dealt with the experience of the Italian army in Russia, and particularly the terrible winter retreat of 1942-1943. Few Returned (I piu' non ritornano) is the only one of these that is still regularly reissued in Italy.

Eugenio Corti, who was a twenty-one-year-old second lieutenant at the time, found himself, together with 30,000 Italians and a smaller contingent of Germans, encircled on the banks of the River Don by enemy forces who far outnumbered them. To break out of this encirclement, these men undertook a desperate march across the snow, with constant engagements and in temperatures ranging from -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas supplies were air-dropped to the Germans, the predicament of the Italians was far more difficult: lacking gasoline, they were compelled to abandon their vehicles and to proceed without heavy arms, equipment, ammunition, or provisions. Even the wounded had to be abandoned, though it was well known that the soldiers of the Red Army"enraged by the brutality of the German invasion"killed all the enemy wounded who fell into their hands. After twenty-eight days of encirclement, only 4,000 of the 30,000 Italians made it out of the pocket.

Why is it that Corti's book, which was first published in 1947, continues after fifty years to be reprinted in Italy? Because, as Mario Apollonio of the University of Milan said, when the book first appeared: "It is a chronicle . . . but it is much more than that: behind the physical reality, there is the truth" about man at his most tragic hour. Apollonio adds: "The power of the writing immediately transforms the document into drama"; the result is a "novel-poem-drama-history." The philosopher Benedetto Croce found in Corti's book "the not infrequent gleam of human goodness and nobility." Few Returned is a classic of war literature that succeeds in bringing home the full hatefulness of war.

Eugenio Corti began writing his diary at a military hospital immediately after being repatriated from the Russian front. When in September 1943 Italy found itself cut in two by the Armistice, Corti, loyal to his officer's oath, joined up with what remained of the Italian army in the south and with those few troops participated in driving the Germans off Italian soil, fighting at the side of the British Eighth and the American Fifth Armies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Published in 1947 and now available for the first time in English, this work is a stunning portrayal of the Eastern Front campaigns of World War II written by a common soldier. Corti, an artillery officer, was a member of the Thirty-fifth Army Corps, one of three corps of the Italian Army to serve with the invading Germans in the Soviet Union. He chronicles the destruction of his corps, beginning with the Soviet offensive of December 16, 1942, and the survivors' breakout of the encirclement on January 16, 1943. The monthlong march carried out in subzero weather by troops with little or no equipment or food is terrifying and heroic. This book is on the same level as Guy Sayer's The Forgotten Soldier Brassey's, 1990, pap. for its honest depiction of brutality and heroic resistance to defeat. Highly recommended.David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826211156
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Pages: 253
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Besana Brianza, Italy, in 1921, Eugenio Corti marked his debut as a writer with Few Returned. He went on to write many works of historical fiction, including The Red Horse and The Last Soldiers of the King: Wartime Italy, 1943-1945 (University of Missouri Press).

Peter Edward Levy teaches English at the University of Siena in Italy. He has published translations of contemporary Italian poetry and critical essays on British poets.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    War Insanity

    : FEW RETURNED :BY EUGENIO CORTI The famous translation of 'I piu' non ritornano' in english.This is the accounts of insanity,depravity,suffering and true war reality in the form of a diary of a Italian Artillery liuetenent in the soviet Don retreat.It shows the bravery of italian soldiers and the bare extents people will use to attempt to live.After twenty-eight days of encirclement, only 4,000 italians of the 30,000 Italians made it out of the pocket.It shows the barbarity with which the Russians exacted on the italians,and the contempt and disrespect that the Germans also displayed torwards the russians and italians. For example :the small contigint of Germans with which the italians had in their ranks executed russian prisnors captired by the italians without any authority of the italian commanding officers,this led to the russians killing any of the countless italian prisnors that they came across (who could not move due to frostbite,wounds etc).It aso showed the callous direspect that the soviets showed to their own men One example is how the soviets deployed a uzbek company (gang pressed into the ranks)into a entrenched position where they were pounded by italian 81 mm mortars and never got to fire a shot back...when the uzbek company was completely destroyed the soviets replaced them with another fresh company to be murdered ....what does this =? Human life to absorb and use up the enemies ammunition.Also interesting was how Ukranian peasents helped the italians build a underground/bunker type church just so they could attend mass. Some interesting parts ae when a german armour attack to breakthrough soviet ranks consits of a huge Panther Tank ,several small French Hotchkiss tanks and 'Battaglione M 'italian assault troops they were able to knock out and force to withdraw a force of over 15 T34/76 med tanks. This book is a first hand eyewitness account of a front of the war that is very often generalized and not well documented by historians.It is among my favorite titles. oronzo

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)