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A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead

The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the “moving finale” (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II.

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the Germans and joined the Allies after suffering catastrophic military losses, an Italian Resistance was born. Four young Piedmontese women—Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca—living secretly in the mountains surrounding Turin, risked their lives to overthrow Italy’s authoritarian government. They were among the thousands of Italians who joined the Partisan effort to help the Allies liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators. What made this partisan war all the more extraordinary was the number of women—like this brave quartet—who swelled its ranks.

The bloody civil war that ensued pitted neighbor against neighbor, and revealed the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together into a coherent fighting force. But the death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule—with its corruption, greed, and anti-Semitism—was unrelentingly violent and brutal.

Drawing on a rich cache of previously untranslated sources, prize-winning historian Caroline Moorehead illuminates the experiences of Ada, Frida, Silvia, and Bianca to tell the little-known story of the women of the Italian partisan movement fighting for freedom against fascism in all its forms, while Europe collapsed in smoldering ruins around them.

a house in the mountains book cover

Spectator Book of the Year

“Dramatic, heartbreaking and sweeping in scope.”

Wall Street Journal

Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance…an excellent book… She depicts a tragic fate that is timeless, of dreams forged in adversity, shattered by collisions with practical politics

Sunday Times

The moving finale of a quartet of books on resistance to fascism… Moorehead conveys the terror with understated power; she is equally good at conjuring the blurred morality of civil conflict…[and] the valleys and wild flowers in technicolour detail

Economist

Brilliantly and subtly told… The narrative is told with such verve that I frequently had goosebumps: the men and women known from much drier history books come alive… a riveting read

The Guardian

A sensitive and perceptive book founded on an appreciation of the role women play in any society, at any times. It is sober and serious, but still an easy read… Moorehead is not afraid to show how these women used their femininity to become more effective partisans

The Times

This brilliant book restores women to the heart of the Italian resistance story, making clear that they performed all the same activities as the men, while facing precisely the same dangers… This, at last, is their powerful story 

Spectator

“A House in the Mountains is a page-turner… This book is to be welcomed as a highly readable story in its own right, and as an accessible introduction to the role of women in the Resistenza”

BBC History

Moorehead skilfully weaves…threads of individual stories together to create a web of interconnected lives… broad narrative is dotted with flashes of detail; the colour of a piece of clothing, the wording of a letter… Moorehead captures a sense of hope and vitality among the women of the Resistance, fighting with courage and determination for a future they believed in

Scotland on Sunday

In the best book she has so far written, Moorehead corrects this imbalance with a narrative whose coherence perfectly matches its author’s admiration for her subjects’ redemptive idealism… Moorehead needs to be read by Italians themselves. Over here, meanwhile, she deserves every prize going

Jonathan Keates, Literary Review

A deeply-researched, fast-paced account of the Italian Resistance, a story not widely known to the general reader 

History of War

A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism – Book

$34

By Caroline Moorehead The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter returns with the “moving finale” (The Economist) of her Resistance Quartet—the powerful and inspiring true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II. In the late summer of 1943, when Italy broke with the…

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