"Memorie di un viaggio di guerra" by Lelio Ciccone

Despite being a rather difficult book to find and published only in Italian, Lelio Ciccone’s autobiographical account of the horror that was the ARMIR – Armata Italiana in Russia (Italian Army in Russia) – will have you shaking your head in disbelief. Of the 229,000 soldiers sent to the Russian river Don, more than 85,000 died while 35,000 were injured or frost-bitten. To hear the account of a simple soldier from the small village of Itri in Southern Italy (from which so many of my own friends come) of the absurd contrast between Fascist propaganda and the ill-preparedness of the Italian troops – most of whom fought with rifles from WWI – as well as the subsequent-near-total destruction of his village by allied bombs, is a bone-chilling lesson in the sheer folly of war.

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