“A Farewell to Arms”

Are you reading along with the War Through the Generations’ Hemingway read-along?

The readers are up to Chapter 10, but you can jump right into the discussion:

http://warthroughthegenerations.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/week-1-ernest-hemingways-a-farewell-to-arms-read-a-long/

I reread it a couple of summers ago. I rarely read anything a second time, but I appreciated it much more than the first time I read it. But my introduction to Hemingway was “The Old Man and the Sea,” which caused me to loathe him, and finding out that I liked his work at all was a pleasant revelation.

How about you? You’ve read it? You’re reading it? You wouldn’t read it if the alternative were fighting the Battle of Caporetto?

Caporetto, which began in late October 1917, was a stunning defeat for the Italians. The faltering Austro-Hungarians were under the command of the Germans, who attacked in greater force than expected and caught the Italians off-guard. For most of the battle the Italian infantry had no artillery support. Some Italian units held their positions, but eventually the entire army had to retreat. They lost more than 300,000 men, 90 percent of them prisoners. (What did the Austro-Hungarians do with that many prisoners all at once?)

Hemingway’s description of the retreat makes for the clearest, vividest scenes in the novel.

Here’s a link that presents the battle in detail:

http://www.worldwar1.com/itafront/caporetto.htm

Image

Austrian troops preparing to attack.

Image

Italian troops in their trenches.

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