Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson


The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson
Book Description: Set in Venice, Italy, during World War II, The Lion and the Swastika tells the compelling story of the brutalities of war brought home to a young girl named Marina by the fall of Mussolini in 1943 and the consequent Nazi occupation of the entire Veneto region. World War II should have ended for all of Italy when King Victor Emmanuel III signed an armistice with the Allies after forcing Mussolini to resign as a Prime Minister. Instead the war went on for over sixteen months in Northern Italy. Set against the backdrop of the savage nature of Nazi rule, Benson gracefully captures the blossoming of teenage love and the awakening of Marina to the cruelty in the world and the importance of taking radical action in defense of her ideals and the freedom of her beloved country. At times mysterious, romantic, and, haunting, The Lion and the Swastika traces Anna Bruni Benson’s personal experiences as a young girl growing up in Venice during the war. For more information about Anna Bruni Benson and The Lion and the Swastika, please visit http://thelionandtheswastikabook.blogspot.com/.

About the Author: Venice is my hometown. I grew up there during most of my young years and attended first the Ginnasio Liceo Marco Polo (classical Junior and High School) and then the University of Venice (then called Ca’Foscari), from which I graduated after the war with a degree of Dr. in Foreign

Languages and Literatures.
World War II should have ended for all of Italy when King Victor Emmanuel III signed an armistice with the Allies after forcing Mussolini to resign as a Prime Minister. Instead the war went on for over sixteen months in Northern Italy, occupied by the Germans and ruled by Mussolini as a Fascist Republic.
Venice was not spared and saw its share of horrors and massacres brought by this situation. I personally witnessed many of them and joined the efforts of other students in the fight against the Nazi and Fascist oppressors.
When I came to the U.S. I enrolled at UCLA, where I got a Master Degree in Italian in three semesters, including the thesis, and a few years later a Ph.D in Italian, French and Spanish Languages and Literatures with a Major in the theater.
A year later I was hired by the California State University, Northridge, as head of their budding Italian program, for which I developed a Minor and staged seven plays in Italian, including La Mandragola by Machiavelli and La Locandiera by Carlo Goldoni, the most famous Venetian playwright. I also published two books in English on Italian desserts, La Dolce Cucina and Solo Dolci, and a book of poetry.
I went back to Venice twenty-five in thirty years to visit my parents and to do research, both written and oral, for what became The Lion and the Swastika.
I presently live in Brentwood and am married to a professor of Chemistry from USC.
Most of the historical background of my book was never written upon, not even by Italian authors.

Here's What I think: I love a work of fiction that is still historically accurate and this book is. I was greatly impressed by the amount of educational information I gleaned from the pages without feeling like I was reading a history book. Though most people have been taught the general timeline of events for World War II, we don't have a lot of personal information coming from the people of Venice. I really enjoyed reading this new perspective of what day-to-day life was really like for the Venetians. It is so interesting to think that people we still moving forward with their lives, falling in and out of love, have to deal with the regular tasks of life a while suffering through the incredible cruelty of the Nazis. I laughed, I cried, I sighed, and I really liked this book and I have a great respect for people like Anna Bruni Benson, who can not only live through this but share it with the world.

Disclaimer: Although I did receive a copy of the this title for review purposes, I was in no other way compensated to publish this post. These are my real and honest opinions.

If you are an author and/or publishing house and would like for me to publish a review of your book, please feel free to contact me at: polsen11atcomcastdotnet

1 comment:

I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!