The White War by Mark Thompson

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Synopsis

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 Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.

 

About Mark Thompson

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Mark Thompson holds a PhD in Social Sciences from Cambridge. The author of Forging War and A Paper House, he lives in Oxford, England.
 
Published March 17, 2009 by Basic Books. 469 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The White War

Kirkus Reviews

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Penetrating study of one of the forgotten fronts of the Great War.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The White War

Publishers Weekly

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Independent scholar Thompson (Forging War ) is familiar with a burgeoning Italian literature on the Great War’s military aspects. He utilizes that material

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The White War

The Guardian

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He also discusses in some detail the poetry of the war, from the "psychotic" fascist propagandist Gabriele D'Annunzio (once hailed by Proust and Joyce as a genius) to the moving war poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti, and the febrile verse of Marinetti, for whom the war was "the most beautiful Futurist...

Apr 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The White War

The Guardian

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The Italian front, often regarded as a sideshow, saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the first world war.

Aug 29 2008 | Read Full Review of The White War

Publishers Weekly

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Independent scholar Thompson (Forging War ) is familiar with a burgeoning Italian literature on the Great War’s military aspects. He utilizes that material

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The White War

The Telegraph

It is in tracing political developments that the great strength of the book lies, but Thompson also casts a fascinating light on the Italian spirit with a detailed examination of war poetry.

Oct 02 2008 | Read Full Review of The White War

The Telegraph

Italy's offensives clawed some 18 miles of ground - mostly in the first fortnight - at a cost of 900,000 dead and wounded.

Oct 02 2008 | Read Full Review of The White War

Scotsman.com

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Aug 30 2008 | Read Full Review of The White War

Book Geeks

Mark Thompson’s The White War, his account of the Italian Front – a major forgotten conflict of the First World War – has won the 2009 Hessell-Tiltman Prize.

May 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The White War

The Wargamer

The third-string position the Italian Front attained also .

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The White War

Reader Rating for The White War
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