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  • Published: 7 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473547049
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

A House in the Mountains

The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

From the Sunday Times-bestselling author of Village of Secrets, comes the extraordinary story of four courageous women who helped form the Italian Resistance during WW2 and fought their Nazi occupiers and Fascist collaborators

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the Second World War, breaking with the Germans and joining the Allies, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca were four young Piedmontese women who joined the Resistance, living secretively in the mountains surrounding Turin. They were not alone. Between 1943 and 1945, as the Allies fought their way north against the German invaders and Mussolini's rump Fascist state, thousands of men and women throughout occupied Italy rose up and fought to liberate their country from the German invaders and their Fascist collaborators. What made the partisan war all the more extraordinary was the number of women in its ranks.

The bloody civil war that ensued across the country pitted neighbour against neighbour, and brought out the best and worst in Italian society. The courage shown by the partisans was exemplary, and eventually bound them together as a coherent fighting force. But the death rattle of Mussolini’s two decades of Fascist rule – with its corruption, greed and anti-Semitism – was unrelentingly violent and brutal. Drawing on a rich cache of previously untranslated sources, prize-winning historian Caroline Moorehead tells the little-known story of these four brave women as they fought for freedom against Fascism in all its forms – as Europe collapsed in smouldering ruins around them.

  • Published: 7 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473547049
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

Caroline Moorehead

Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Her book on the French Resistance, Village of Secrets, was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2014. Her most recent book, A Bold and Dangerous Family, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. She lives in London.

Also by Caroline Moorehead

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Praise for A House in the Mountains

Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance…an excellent book… She depicts a tragic fate that is timeless, of dreams forged in adversity, shattered by collisions with practical politics

Max Hastings, Sunday Times

Brilliantly and subtly told… The narrative is told with such verve that I frequently had goosebumps: the men and women known from much drier history books come alive… a riveting read

Tobias Jones, Guardian

A sensitive and perceptive book founded on an appreciation of the role women play in any society, at any times. It is sober and serious, but still an easy read… Moorehead is not afraid to show how these women used their femininity to become more effective partisans

Gerard DeGroot, The Times

The moving finale of a quartet of books on resistance to fascism... Moorehead conveys the terror with understated power; she is equally good at conjuring the blurred morality of civil conflict...[and] the valleys and wild flowers in technicolour detail


In the best book she has so far written, Moorehead corrects this imbalance with a narrative whose coherence perfectly matches its author’s admiration for her subjects’ redemptive idealism… Moorehead needs to be read by Italians themselves. Over here, meanwhile, she deserves every prize going

Jonathan Keates, Literary Review

This brilliant book restores women to the heart of the Italian resistance story, making clear that they performed all the same activities as the men, while facing precisely the same dangers… This, at last, is their powerful story

Clare Mulley, Spectator

ambitious... a comprehensive, lucid and thoughtful account of a complicated conflict.

Lucy Hughes-Hallet, TLS

Moorehead’s quartet of heroines all… left the diaries, the letters, the documents and the family memories that have allowed her to tell their eye-opening and spirit-lifting stories so powerfully

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk

A brilliant overview of the war in Italy from the perspective of the female partisans

Clare Mulley, Spectator, *Books of 2019*

Moorehead skilfully weaves…threads of individual stories together to create a web of interconnected lives… broad narrative is dotted with flashes of detail; the colour of a piece of clothing, the wording of a letter… Moorehead captures a sense of hope and vitality among the women of the Resistance, fighting with courage and determination for a future they believed in

Elsa Maishman, Scotland on Sunday

Moorehead … takes up the story of four friends in Turin who decided passive resistance was no longer enough [against Mussolini’s reign] and joined a growing partisan movement based in the remote valleys of Piedmont. This is a bittersweet tale, not of betrayal, exactly, but of subtle excision from the script

The Tablet

A House in the Mountains is a page-turner… This book is to be welcomed as a highly readable story in its own right, and as an accessible introduction to the role of women in the Resistenza

Christian Goeschel, BBC History

A deeply-researched, fast-paced account of the Italian Resistance, a story not widely known to the general reader

History of War

This is a highly satisfying conclusion to the author's series. Excellent, well-presented evidence of the incalculable strengths and abilities of women to create and run a country

Starred Review, Kirkus

[A] moving finale of a quartet of books on resistance to fascism


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