Monte Sole--Mountain of the Sun--had the bad luck to lie on the main route of withdrawal of the retreating German armies in autumn 1944. As the Allied advance stormed up Italy to the very shadow of Monte Sole, Axis frustration over their retreat and the harassing Italian partisans reached its peak. With full authorization of Field Marshall Albert Kesselring, and with an infusion of dread SS reinforcements, the Germans determined to neutralize Monte Sole. The result was, in Kesselring's chilling words, "a war operation". Jack Olsen re-creates the unspeakable three-day butchery of innocent Italian civilians that ranked among the blackest atrocities in the history of man's inhumanities to man.
©2014 Jack Olsen (P)2014 Gregg Olsen
It Went Beyond expectations
My grandparent were in the story and I had no idea. It blew me away. I want to find the italian translation so my parents in Italy can read it. It is a story not taught in school in Italy and that is wrong.
The narrator did not sound like English is his first language. Most likely Italian, sounds a little French in places. I found this language issue VERY distracting! I was far more involved mentally with processing the words and sentences, than in drawing up the mental pictures that I normally do in response to the narration, to the point where I was having some difficulty in following the action. So, the narration is the first thing I would change. Should be an excellent English speaker. I understand that the story takes place in WW2 Italy and concerns peasant people who lived rural, isolated lives during that time, and the objective was no doubt to bring more reality to the listener. But to me, the technique of using a narrator who barely speaks English just does not work.
I found the story very boring! It seemed to take umpteen chapters just to set the stage. I had to follow the characters through their daily, and seasonal, routines, including detail on their clothing and diet, etc., as well as all about each person's ancestors and land ownership, the marrying and intermarrying of everyone... this seemed to go on forever. Way to relax the listener to the state of deep slumber even before the first action started. I gritted my teeth and stuck with it, because I am greatly interested in the war stories of WW2 and it seems they are always fascinating. But I am now well into the give-and-take between the Italians and Germans and I have not been able to figure out if I am IN THE ACTION PART YET, or not! Seems if I am not drawn into the action yet at this point, then I cannot see where it is going to occur in the last half of the book.On the other hand, I can't really tell whether it is just the narration that is spoiling this book for me, and if possibly with another narrator, the story itself actually is being well told. To me, this is another example of trying to make some kind of stage play out of a book that was written to be consumed by a reader. When narrators attempt acting out each character's part, or in this case mucking up the entire story from page 1 to the end, with this very "colorful", thick and difficult to understand (at times) style of speaking, it cannot turn out well. And the reason is: THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN TO BE READ, NOT ACTED. There is a reason (at least one) why, when a book is going to be made into a movie, screenwriters get on the job and adapt the whole telling of the story to suit a viewing audience, not a merely listening one. I do not understand why the folks responsible for prepping these audiobooks do not know this. The countless excellent works of fiction and nonfiction available via Audible.com are more than capable of standing on their own merits with quality narration "as written", and trying to turn them into some other form of entertainment destroys a lot of the effect that the author has created. The narrator should NEVER draw attention to him/herself. I will get off my soapbox now. It just seems to me that, when I first joined, this was never an issue for me. But now, every 3rd or so book I get ends up irritating the heck out of me with all the meddling with the narration. This ought to be banned. There should be no seam between the voice of the narrator and the words on the written page.
No - or perhaps this present book is not his normal manner of speaking. Perhaps he is very fluent in English and only used this horrible accent for this particular book. I would like to think he would be capable of this. It isn't that he lacks skill or professionalism and I hate to speak negatively of him. I am sure he was performing as he was requested to do.
So far as I've been able to discern just what the plot is thus far, it seems it would be a snoozer of a movie as well as the book. There seemed to be promise the way this book was described, however, that is why I bought it. If a movie was made, I would surely look into it.
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