Mark Thompson on the Italian Front of WWI

In this episode, the brilliant historian Mark Thompson, author of the magisterial The White War, separates fact from fiction as he analyzes Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, including its epic depiction of the devastating Caporetto retreat.

In writing his great war novel, Hemingway dramatically recreated the Italian Front of World War I by consulting histories, maps, novels, and others’ firsthand accounts. He also drew from his own traumatic experiences in northern Italy in 1918.

Thompson turns his attention to the historical context of the fiction, focusing on the “forgotten front” of Italy during World War I. He addresses the military fiascoes and political incompetence, bringing to the surface the subtext of A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway’s timeless classic.

This episode was recorded on September 6th, 2019.