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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
A Gift From the Enemy (A True Story of Escape in War-time Italy) by Enrico Lamet takes the reader into the author's boyhood during the hard and perilous times of World War II. Born to a Jewish mother and father, Lamet started his life with happy years in Austria. When the drums of war began, however, the young boy's family became like a band of gypsy folk, moving through places like Milan, Nice, Paris, and San Remo before finding sanctuary in Ospedaletto. This memoir is a look into simple daily life during this time and the sacrifices that were often made during the war. With his father in Poland, Lamet is given strength and love by a steadfast mother. Times are certainly dark, but light can be found within even the darkest of times.
In recent years I have found myself wanting to expand my knowledge of World War II. I love history but have usually stayed within the realms of the American Revolution and earlier. However, the urge to learn more about World War II and being a sucker for a memoir made this book one I wanted to read, and I was not disappointed. Enrico Lamet has a way of writing and telling his story that is very open and makes the reader feel as if they are sitting together over a cup of tea and hearing the story firsthand. I cannot imagine the hardships faced during this war. I can only imagine the fear and worry of seeing a German soldier and the pain that would have come from starvation.
Yet the tone of this book is not only hardship and pain. There are still moments that show humor and lightness, reminding all of us that no matter how dark things are, if we look we can find moments that are good. I want to thank Mr. Lamet for sharing his story with the world. I feel privileged to have been able to read his firsthand account of what it was like growing up in the Nazi era. Anyone who is interested in learning about this era in history and about the resilience of human nature should get this book and read his story.