The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919
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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.
championed impulses and intuitions over abstract ideas, character over structure, irrationalism over intellect, energy over fixity, soul or will over materialism, ‘life force’ over inherited forms. The French philosopher Henri Bergson, hugely influential in the prewar decade, coined the term élan vital as a tag for ‘the inner force that cannot be rationally grasped or articulated, which thrusts its way into the empty and unknowable future, and moulds both biological growth and human activity’.
escape, for, according to one version of events, a band of rebels went to a nearby villa where they thought Gabriele D’Annunzio was staying, crying ‘Death to D’Annunzio!’ Luckily for himself, the poet was staying at a nearby airfield, preparing a bombing raid over Istria. Next day, 28 men were charged with rebellion and executed on the spot. Of these, 12 were chosen by lot from 6th Company. Another 123 were sent for court martial. It was not the brigade’s first clash with military justice, but
1917. 10 Italian prisoners of war. 11 Italian cavalry crossing the River Monticano. Here, according to Lord Cavan, commander of British forces in Italy, the enemy ‘offered his last serious resistance’, on 29 October 1918. 12 The Italian army entering Gorizia in triumph, early November 1918. 13 The Big Four in Paris, 1919. From left to right, Lloyd George, Orlando, Clemenceau and Wilson. 14 The Adriatic Sea, from the edge of the Carso. Bibliography Dates in entries refer to the editions
published in 2008 by Faber and Faber Limited Bloomsbury House 74–77 Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DA This ebook edition first published in 2009 All rights reserved � Mark Thompson, 2008 Maps � András Bereznay, 2008 The right of Mark Thompson to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ISBN 978—0—571—25008—0 [epub edition] This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced,
defensively around the western side of the salient. Cadorna should have had the benefit of co-ordinated operations by Russia and Serbia, but the Serbs were in no condition to attack and anyway resented Italian ambitions in the Balkans, while the Russians were paralysed after heavy losses in May and early June. The Italians were on their own, and the long build-up deprived them of surprise. Also, Austrian agents in the border areas had been feeding them disinformation, so they were expecting