Author: Mark Sullivan
Book Takes Place In Country: YES
Author is from country: NO
I have visited: yes
I read this book in 2017, and somehow missed reviewing it for the blog. No idea how I did that, and I keep searching for it because I feel like it can't be true. This book was fantastic and hard to forget. It has to be here somewhere. A True Story (which is one of my favorite types of books) based on a hero of WWII - it is not to be missed.
Regardless, I will review this book today. I visited Italy for two weeks with my family in 2017. My grandparents' families are from Italy (Calabria and Bresha) and it has been on my list to visit for a long time. We toured Florence and Pisa. Bresha and Venic. Assisi and Pompeii. Naples and Rome. It was a trip of the lifetime and I hope to return and get to Calabria in the near future. The country is beautiful, the food to die for, and the people warm and welcoming. Since I have moved to Switzerland, one of my closest friends is an Italian woman from Milan. She has widened my list of "want to see" for her beautiful country. If you have a chance to see Italy - go.
As for the book, this is the story of a teenage boy named Pino. He lives in Milan with his family. His life changes when his family's home in Milan is destroyed during the war with the Nazis. Devestated, Pino decides to join a group that helps get Jews across the Alps and into Switzerland. It is dangerous work, especially for a teenage boy.
He tells no one of his journeys. His parents force him to join the German army, insisting this is the only way to protect him. He is injured in the war, and assigned to drive Hilter's man - Hans Leyers. He is one of the most powerful commanders in the army, and Pino turns spy - gathering as much information as he can while he drives Hans Leyers. Pino becomes a translator and even is privy to mettings with Mussolini and Hans Leyers.
His missions are dangerous as he tries to sneak information from Leyers and also get the Jews to safety. The travel across the Alps in nothing but harrowing. And during all of this, he falls for a girl named Anna, that he hopes he can be with once the war has ended.
This book will leave you speechless. Truly. Knowing the story is true, what young Pino does for the war effort is amazing. The secrets he must keep to help the Jews plus the daily danger he puts himself in to steal intel from Hans Leyers is unbelievable. He never falters. He never quits.
I promise you won't be able to put it down. This was the first book I read about World War II that took place in Italy. It did not disappoint on any level.