The story of the underground battle of the Italians against the Nazis and Fascisti, largely unknown outside Italy, was, unlike the French Resistance, a spontaneous city-by-city, region-by-region uprising.
This book traces the growth of the wartime resistance from its birth in 1943 against overwhelming odds to its dramatic triumph two years later. Here are Neapolitan youngsters fighting German tanks; patriots operating an underground radio station inside Nazi occupied Florence; Romans ambushing a Nazi patrol; mountain fighters blasting enemy convoys; peasants who hid partisan and Allied escapees; and priests and nuns who outfoxed Nazi and Fascist patrols. It was a moving episode, a lesson for all of us who live so easily in the kind of society dreamed of by the partisans.
This is a story of courage, sacrifice and individual heroism - a noble episode in the history of a great people.
"A valuable contribution to the history of World War II, which was as much a "peoples war" - a revolution - as it was a gigantic struggle between the armies of the Allies and those of the Axis powers. The book demonstrates with a wealth of facts and anecdotes drawn from survivors and memoirs that given a cause to fight for the Italians are as capable of reckless courage as the bravest. And in Word War II their cause was freedom from the Fascism that had crushed their civil rights for a generation that dominated them after the Italo-Allied Armistice of September 1943.
"Particularly valuable are Mrs. Wilhelm's chapters on the often ambiguous role of the Catholic Church; the participation of Jews in the armed resistance; the price they paid in deportations to the German concentration camps, where most of the 3000 Jews perished; and finally the important role of the women of Italy in the liberation as Resistance fighters."