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    The Guerra Bianca/White War is the term used to refer to the fighting on the Italian Alps during the First World War, on the Eastern Front, engaging mostly Italy and Austria. In this very legible account of the White War, the strategy and conduct of war, the political situation in climate in both Italy and the Austrian-Hungarian empire and above all the status of the Italian soldiers at the front (and their shockingly incompetent Chief of Staff) are woven into perceptive analyses of how Italian culture and climate fed off the war and in turn fed it back. In this respect chapter 20 (of the 28 in the book) is particularly interesting, as it discusses the connections between war and cultural currents, especially Futurism, and how it prepared the ground for the flourishing of Fascism. This is not a piece of scholarly work in the sense that, in the author's words, it is "a narrative history, not based on methodical research into primary sources. Rather, it draws on original work by generations of scholars and writers." The references are very detailed, and it will be, at least for me, a treasure trove of material on the great war, and the book contains interesting photos from the time. Narration often is not linear, especially at the beginning, but it relies on a relatively limited set of facts (e.g. who was allied to whom) and it is broadly self contained (it really only focus on the Eastern front), so that even those less familiar with WWI will be able to navigate it without trouble. A recommended read, especially in this Centenary year 2014.

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