‘Love is its heart’
Suddenly released into the countryside and separated from his fellow soldiers, Eric Newby tried to stay one step ahead of the German army by virtue of the exceptional courage and kindness of the contadini, the rural peasants of the region who hid, fed and smuggled Allied prisoners-of-war at great personal risk. Newby builds a warm and affecting picture of human kindness and grants the reader ‘some faint inkling of what total war meant to ordinary people’.
‘War is the background to this story, but love is its heart’
- Edward Stourton
More than an escape memoir, Love and War in the Apennines is a beautifully written homage to the people who saved Newby’s life, and contains sharp insights into the quality of freedom, that prize that most of us take for granted and can only really appreciate when it has been lost and regained.
It is also an account full of funny, bizarre and dangerous moments with Wanda Skof, the local girl he would later marry, who teaches him the language and fills him with love and hope.
As well as striking colour illustrations by Robin Heighway-Bury, this edition features four photographs from the Newby family collection. Journalist and broadcaster Edward Stourton, who interviewed Wanda for BBC Radio 4 in 2013, has written an introduction that discusses the context of the events in the book, and the unique viewpoint that Newby brings.
On publication of this new Folio edition, Eric and Wanda’s daughter Sonia Ashmore got in touch to say: ‘Many thanks for the copies of Love and War in the Apennines. They are very handsome books and we appreciate how much effort has gone into producing them. I am only sorry that my father and mother are not here to enjoy this new edition.’