An intelligence officer in the Italian labyrinth
Area of interest: Italy
Genre: WWII, Travel
Date of first publication: 1978
Eland publication date: January 1, 2002
Norman Lewis arrives in war-torn Naples as an intelligence officer in 1944. The starving population has devoured all the tropical fish in the aquarium, respectable women have been driven to prostitution and the black market is king.
Lewis finds little to admire in his fellow soldiers, but gains sustenance from the extraordinary vivacity of the Italians. There is the lawyer who earns his living bringing a touch of Roman class to funerals, the gynaecologist who "specializes in the restoration of lost virginity" and the widowed housewife who times her British lover against the clock. "Were I given the chance to be born again," writes Lewis, "Italy would be the country of my choice."biography of Norman Lewis
extract from Naples '44
"We oldies who remember the war in Italy know that Naples '44 is the real thing, pure gold. It has all the qualifications to become a classic: the ring of truth, superb writing and the magical lure of a book you cannot put down."
Martha Gellhorn, Daily Mail
"One goes on reading page after page as if eating cherries."
Luigi Barzini, New York Review of Books
"Naples '44 is quite simply one of the great books to emerge from WW2."