On the centenary of the events narrated in the great book Un anno sull’Altipiano and to celebrate the English translation, we want to honour the highly decorated officer and writer Emilio Lussu, that survived the World War I and fought the World War II becoming a minister from 1945 to 1947.
Emilio Lussu was an Italian soldier, politician and a writer. Prior to the entry of Italy into World War I, Lussu joined the army and was involved in several skirmishes. After the war Lussu, together with Camillo Bellieni, founded the Partidu Sardu-Partito Sardo d'Azione (The Sardinian Action Party), that blended social-democratic ideas and Sardinian nationalism. The party took a formal position in 1921, opposing the increasing power of the Fascist movement. Lussu was elected to the Italian parliament in 1921. In 1929 Lussu escaped from his confinement and reached Paris. In 1938 his novel Un anno sull'altipiano ("A Year on the Plateau"), was published in Paris. This thinly fictional account tells of the lives of soldiers during World War I and the trench warfare they encountered. Un anno sull'altipiano underlines, with chill rationalism, how the irrationalities of warfare affected the common man. Gifted with a keen sense of observation and sharp logic, Lussu demonstrates how distant the real life of soldiers is from everyday activities. In a notable passage, he describes the silent terror in the moments preceding an attack, as he is forced to abandon the "safe" protective trench for an external unknown, risky, undefined world: "All the machine-guns are waiting for us". Lussu took part in the civil war in Spain. Between 1941 and 1942 he was the protagonist of the most important "episode" of the collaboration between British Special Operations Executive and Italian antifascism in exile. Emilio Lussu died in Rome in 1975.
Mark Thompson - Award winning British historian and author. Born in Sheffield, he worked as a journalist in the Balkans, and have published several books, including The White War. Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919 (Faber & Faber).