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The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919by Mark Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
In May 1915, Italy declared war on the Habsburg Empire. Nearly 750,000 Italian troops were killed in savage, hopeless fighting on the stony hills north of Trieste and in the snows of the Dolomites. To maintain discipline, General Luigi Cadorna restored the Roman practice of decimation, executing random members of units that retreated or rebelled.
With elegance and pathos, historian Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front, the nationalist frenzy and political intrigues that preceded the conflict, and the towering personalities of the statesmen, generals, and writers drawn into the heart of the chaos. A work of epic scale, The White War does full justice to the brutal and heart-wrenching war that inspired Hemingways A Farewell to Arms.
Book News Annotation:
Oxford-based social scientist and military historian Thompson describes what he calls the most savage fighting of the Great War, along the front where Italy attacked the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a million men died in battle, of wounds or diseases, or as prisoners. It was called white because of the mountains: bare rock either blaring in the summer sun or covered with winter snow. His topics include a mania for expansion, Cadorna's clenched fist, from position to attrition, year zero, the return blow, starlight from violence, whiteness, the gospel of energy, the traitor of Carzano, and from victory to disaster. First published in hardback in 2009. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In May 1915, Italy declared war on the Habsburg Empire. The result was one of the most hopeless and senseless wars of modern times. Nearly 750,000 Italians and half as many Austro-Hungarian troops were killed. To maintain discipline in the face of desperation and low morale, General Luigi Cadorna restored the Roman practice of decimation, executing random members of units that retreated or rebelled.
With great skill and pathos, Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front. A work of epic scale, The White War does justice to one of the most remarkable untold stories of the First World War.
About the Author
Mark Thompson holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Cambridge. The author of Forging War and A Paper House, he lives in Oxford, England.
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