Partisan Diary: A Woman’s Life in the Italian Resistance by Ada Gobetti (Translated & edited by Jomarie Alano) - review by Caroline Moorehead

Caroline Moorehead

Life & Death in the Susa Valley

Partisan Diary: A Woman’s Life in the Italian Resistance


Oxford University Press 384pp £22.99 order from our bookshop

Ada Prospero was sixteen when she became engaged to Piero Gobetti, the rising young star of the intellectual anti-Fascist movement in post-First World War Turin. Together they embarked on defying Mussolini and his Blackshirts. She was twenty-three when, in 1926, Gobetti died of a heart attack perhaps brought on by the injuries he had received at their hands, leaving her with a month-old son, Paolo. Holding staunchly to her passionate anti-Fascism throughout the late 1920s and 1930s, she eventually joined the partisans rising up to fight the Germans and the Fascists for the liberation of Italy. Now this remarkable woman’s diary of those months of warfare has been excellently translated and annotated by Jomarie Alano.

Ada Gobetti’s diary opens on 10 September 1943, the day on which she saw the first German soldiers enter Turin. An armistice had been signed between General Badoglio and the Allies, and the Germans had rapidly occupied all northern and central Italy down to Naples. She kept it going until the beginning of the insurrection twenty months later, writing cryptic notes in English that only she could read. When the war ended her longtime friend and mentor Benedetto Croce encouraged her to turn it into a

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