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 front-line 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 Germans 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. In spite of his insurmountable challenges, he survives and finds his way home.
Annechino writes this account in a vivid, novelistic manner from DiMarco’s first-person perspective. The tale is simultaneously inspiring and harrowing, and the author skillfully portrays both DiMarco’s valor and his horror. Annechino colorfully draws the action scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life.
A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe. (Kirkus Reviews)
Reminiscent of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Annechino subtly and effectively signifies Angelo’s emotional transformation from naive recruit to battle-scarred soldier fighting not only for his physical survival but also to sustain his capacity for empathy both for his “brothers” and enemy soldiers. 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)