The Sergeant in the Snow
Mario Rigoni Stern was barely twenty-one and already a battle veteran – at the time of the hallucinatory World War II disaster searchingly described in this book. In July l942, the Italian forces in Russia totaled 130,000 men. They included three divisions ol Alpini troops, specially trained for winter warfare; the author of this book belonged to one of these, the Tridentina.
In December, the troops began retreating, entirely on foot, with no supplies, at a temperature ol 30-40 degrees below zero. Many of the troops, overcome by exhaustion, broke away from the column; others were cut off and captured by the Russians, others lost in the steppes. In the end, about 90,000 were missing or dead, about 45,000 frostbitten and wounded.
From the back cover of the English Translation