The book that every soldier should read. But also the story on which every Italian should reflect in order to understand the present and try to hope for tomorrow.
The story is set in the last century, a time that already after a few decades can make the most "millennium" say.
The young Carlo, who left as a convinced black shirt for the war in Spain, lives experiences and incurs events that will make him a different man. Best? Worst? Can not be said. Certainly, however, he will be a more mature (by age) and aware (by choice) Italian.
This young man probably expresses the prototype of the fellow citizen of the time, who considered - regardless of any political faith - a blessing to be Italian, heir and participant in a society with remote roots, today undervalued, in which contradictions and dogmas, ideals and selfishness, hopes and ambitions, passions and disillusions, cialtronerie and generosity appear merged into a unicum which, perhaps, no other people can synthesize.
This awareness of Italianness, as belonging to a system that has greatly contributed to the formation of our civilization, pruned by ideological appropriations, would be worth recovering as an opportunity for proud, convinced, positive national cohesion.
The story, like the previous one "Of sea and war" (v. review) deserves another observation. There are numerous cases of members of our armed forces who are dedicated to writing novels that draw on military exploits but also on their own personal experiences. A greater effort should be made in enhancing these initiatives: they could contribute significantly to the dissemination of history, operational activities or personal experiences - sometimes light and hilarious, sometimes ... no - than in a "reserved" world like the one in uniform they may seem "ordinary".