The White War

By Mark Thompson,

Book cover of The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The White War as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Even though Italy was one of the “victors,” its participation on the allied side was the cause of the government’s collapse, and the rise Mussolini and the fascisti, with all the calamities that followed.  This book provides a truly horrifying explanation of why that was so.

From John's list on the other fronts in WW1.

In a masterpiece of narrative history, Thompson details the insanity of fighting trench warfare in the ice of the high Alps. The Italians faced off against the Austro-Hungarians and launched repeated calamitous offensive in appalling conditions. A dénouement of sorts occurred when the Italians were utterly routed at Caparetto (Kobarid, Slovenia) in 1918.

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