Our area is now so quiet and peaceful it is difficult to think that it was once heavily involved in the battles of WWII. The Gothic Line was a German defensive line built from Pisa to Rimini and it went through the northern Apennine Mountains around Bagni di Lucca. There is still evidence today of the fortifications built in the area.
Charles McNamara has written a novel, Ineke’s Mitten, about two friends, Norwegian Nels Torkle and Italian Alberto Bisio, who are sent towards the end of the war to fight near Lucca, Bisio’s home town.
The novel tell how two men, forced to hide in America from the Germans during WWII join the Tenth Mountain Division and are sent to train in the mountains of Colorado. Finally, not long before the end of the war, they are sent into combat in Europe.
In early 1945 the division is sent to Lucca in a desperate attempt to dislodge the Germans from their mountain strongholds. The commanders rely on the two friends to find an attack route up a dangerous cliff called Riva Ridge. Because of their efforts, the Germans are sent fleeing from their final stronghold in Europe.
I think it is always interesting to read about events that take place in a familiar area. I’m sure Charles’ book brings to life a very difficult time in our beautiful mountains.