This is a fascinating memoir by a gifted writer. It deals with his time as a British intelligence officer, working with the US army when it liberated Italy from German occupation.

Apart from the stylish writing and the human observation, the book is marked by a casual juxtaposition of the interesting and endearing with the horrific and cruel. Reading of gross injustice and inhumanity, when a few pager earlier one has been enjoying an account of the natural beauty surrounding Naples, is all the more shocking for the contrast. We all sort of know it, but this book confirms that war, and the aftermath of war, are unmitigatedly awful.

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