Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis ​by D.M. Annechino (Review and Giveaway!)

From the minute I read the book description, I knew I wanted to read this book. Based on the true account of the author's uncle, this is the incredible story of eighteen year-old Angelo J. DiMarco, an American soldier who fought during WWII in Italy. What a story! This one made it on my list of best reads for this year. Read my review and then scroll down to enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Book Details:

Book Title: More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis
​Author: D.M. Annechino
Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages
Genre: Historical Biography, WWII
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: April 2017
Tour dates: May 29 to June 16 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

Book Description:

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

From the minute I read the book description, I knew I wanted to read this book. Based on the true account of the author's uncle, this is the incredible story of eighteen year-old Angelo J. DiMarco, an American soldier who fought during WWII in Italy, and survived the bloody battles, malaria, capture by the Germans, starvation, and an incredible escape behind enemy lines.

I read the whole book in one day. It's been years since I've done that. With its short chapters I couldn't help reading just one more chapter, and before long I was in tears as I turned the last page. Although the book takes place during one of the most horrible times in history, author D.M. Annechino focused on Angelo's story and wrote the book in the first person POV. We, therefore, see the war through young Angelo's eyes, beginning with his naive optimism of quickly defeating the Germans to the sober reality of the ravages of war that began soon after his first kill.

Through the army training, the camaraderie, the battles on the field and in the foxholes, and the humorous banter and ribbing between the soldiers, the author brought alive Angelo's world as he would have seen and experienced it. Through all that he went through, and the losses he suffered, Angelo showed strength of character, determination and above all, courage. He probably would not have survived if not for his brave and dangerous attempt to escape.

Most of the story takes place in Italy, from the Southern side all the way to Rome and then Florence. It was the first time I had seen Rome, a city I have visited several times and where most of my maternal aunts, uncles and cousins live, through the lens of war. It reminded me of stories my late grandmother used to tell me of the years when they survived the German invasion in Rome. She had eight children. Angelo's story prompted me to do research online and learn more about WWII in Italy.

Angelo was American and his family is of Sicilian origin. Having grown up myself as the daughter of Italian immigrant parents in a neighborhood full of kids whose parents were also Italian immigrants, several of whom were Sicilian, I could relate. Angelo joined the war so he could make his father, who is a hard unfeeling man, proud. My paternal grandfather was such a man. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes between Angelo and the Italians he met and who generously helped him when he was a fugitive. As a parent with a teen son, my heart ached for Angelo and all those young men who fought and suffered and died alone on the battlefield.

It was only once he was in his eighties, lying in a hospital bed that Angelo finally decided to tell his son Steve about the wartime experiences he had kept secret all his life. And Annechino's storytelling talent brought them to life for us to read.

More Than a Soldier is a moving, coming-of-age story that will remain with you long after the last page is turned. It is inspiring, unforgettable and perfect for readers who enjoy WWII stories. It is one of the best books I've read in 2017.

To read more reviews, please visit D.M. Annechino's page on Italy Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me copy of this book. I was not told how to rate or review this book.

Buy the Book: 


Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
- Kirkus Reviews

Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.
- The iRead Review

Meet the Author:

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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