Innocent War (revised edition): Behind an Immigrant's Past - Book 1
by Susan Violante
||April, 1 2011
Hollywood Book Festival 2009 Honorable Mention.
#16 on Cyrus Webb's Conversations Book Club Top 50 Non-Fiction Tittles for 2009
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WWI through a 10 years old Italian boy...
Based on the taped memoirs Susan Violante received from her Italian immigrant father, Innocent War is a boy’s adventure showing a child’s point of view through the war’s hardships, dangers, and tragedies, combined with his own humor, innocence, and awakening as he grows up.
"...Nino's daughter Susan Violante has written a heartwarming story of his taped memoirs that will give the reader a unique perspective on the horrors of World War II in Italy and which gave her a deeper understanding of herself and her family."
The Italian Tribune
"Violante has written a novel that is both epic in scale and yet intimate and even quaint thanks to her choice to write in her father's child voice. We see a mix of cultures, Italians, Arabs, and Jews together suffering the ravages of war, of violence and death, that ironically propels them to heights of humanity, reaffirming attributes of life through love and sacrifice. 'Innocent War' is a resonating novel that transports readers to a place and time uniquely tied to Italy. It is a great book for Italian Americans to read as it stands as a tribute, not just to Violante's father, but to all children of war." - Primo Magazine
This book is dedicated to my parents and to those who, during their
childhood, were cheated, lied to, and cowardly abused by those who promote
false ideals; and that once they had discovered the truth were able
to react and learn to build a new life.
Penny Warner, Author of How to Crash a Killer Bash, and Dead Body Language
“Violante’s retelling of Nino’s incredible life grips the reader from
the first page…It’s a wonderful book!”- Penny Warner, Author of
How to Crash a Killer Bash, and Dead Body Language.
Anna Morrison High School History Teacher at SMCA – Austin, TX
“I love the heart felt story that is told in Innocent War. It is a
very personal account of a well-known event that brings so much
meaning to the historical context. It is an important, but often
forgotten part of the War. The story, told through the eyes of a
coming of age Italian boy, is incredibly easy to read. The story flows
through the pages as you recount the horrors faced by the civilians
on a side long forgotten. This book helps fill the many gaps in
fully understanding the impact of World War II”.
Ben Weldon (age 12) for Reader Views (11/10)
“Innocent War” by Susan Violante is the story of her father’s childhood experiences growing up in Italy during World War II. Up until the war, Nino led a relatively ordinary life for a kid growing up in Europe. When World War II broke out he went to school and tried to live as ordinary a life as he could. But then the bombing started. Life became intolerable and food became scarce. Nino thought it couldn’t get worse, but when his father was drafted and one of his best friends killed, he knew he was wrong. How will his life change?
After a long time of wandering, and trying to find a safe place to stay, Nino and his family settled down in the mountain town of Modica Alta. Life there was pretty quiet until the American bombing raids. Several American planes were shot down and the pilots taken prisoner but only after the soccer field was completely obliterated. Soon after this incident the Germans left and the Americans came in.
For a kid, Nino faced the dangers of World War II pretty well. I am not sure I could have done the same. At times Nino did some things he probably shouldn’t have; such as disassembling different weapons like mines and selling the detonators as firecrackers. All in all he held up pretty well to stress and constant danger. But life just wasn’t as good without his father. Will he ever see his father again?
One interesting aspect of this book was that it was written from an Axis perspective. One of Mussolini’s speeches praised war, guns, and fire. During his time in Modica Alta everyone was scared of the Americans, especially after some had been imprisoned. Some of the character’’ experiences helped me to understand why some of the Italians hated the Americans so much. It was fun to try and place my self in Nino’s shoes and see how I would react if faced with his same choices.
I would recommend “Innocent War” by Susan Violante to people who like adventure and non-fiction. This was a true story and it was interesting to see what Nino had to live through. It was a fun read, and I will recommend it to my friends who are interested in history.
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