Shooting Through: Campo 106 escaped POWs after the Italian armistice
In September 1943, Italy capitulated to the Allies. Seizing the moment, Australian and New Zealander prisoners of war walked out of Italian rice farms dotted across the Piedmont plain west of Milan. Escape, for most, was easy. But what came next, the evasion phase of their war – the weeks and months on the loose, foot-slogging to the frontier, identifying friend from foe, scraping up a feed, weighing up needs for shelter and the dangers for Italian helpers, discovering the breadth of the Italian resistance – was in all likelihood more taxing and nagging on their resilience than the longer periods spent within prison camps. Drawing on first-hand accounts and archival records, Katrina Kittel weaves the stories of escaper groups through time and theme to reveal key evasion routes and the outcomes that befell them.
Professor Peter Monteath writes in his Foreword for Shooting Through: Katrina Kittel has quite literally followed in the footsteps of those men like Col Booth who, when confronted with one of the most vexing questions of their lives, opted to ‘shoot through’ and find their way to freedom. In search of the stories of countless others she has tracked down the descendants of others to piece together a great web of escape and survival stories. And on top of all that, she has trawled archives and libraries to ensure that this book is not just a remarkable tale, it is a true one. It defies the imagination, and it satisfies it too.
Katrina welcomes signing books and selling directly.
For online sellers refer to links at the bottom of this page: https://www.echobooks.com.au/history/shooting-through/
To buy in-store look to your favourite bookstores or email Katrina. Thank you to all booksellers stocking the book including:
- Australian War Memorial, Canberra (ACT)
- Harry Hartog Booksellers, Kotara (NSW) and Greenhills (East Maitland NSW)
- Macleans Booksellers, Hamilton (NSW)
- Dymocks, Bendigo (VIC), Knox City (VIC), Adelaide (SA)
- Booktique, Wangaratta (VIC)
- Bookface, Port Macquarie (NSW)
- Ballina Book Shop (NSW)
- Shrine of Remembrance bookshop, Melbourne (VIC)
- New Italy Casa Vecchia shop (Northern NSW)
- Collins Mildura (VIC)
- Messines Books, Featherston (New Zealand)
- Booksellers NZ is the membership association for bookshops in New Zealand. Shooting Through is listed here: https://www.booksellers.co.nz/Story?Action=View&Story_id=1621
What readers are saying
WARTIME is the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial. In the Winter 2020, Issue 91, Duncan Beard reviews Shooting Through.
Dr Seumas Spark (Monash University) gives a balanced review, entitled ‘Behind fascist lines’, of Shooting Through for Inside Story (Current affairs & culture from Australia and beyond): 15 July 2020. An excerpt: Ken Inglis, that great Australian scholar, used a simple measure when considering new writing: does it tell us something we don’t know? Shooting Through does. Katrina Kittel’s first book adds much to what we know about Australian prisoners of war in Italy during the second world war. This is an important work.
Major (Retired) Warren Farmer:
This work, describing the experiences of Australian POW of the Italians during WW2, addresses everything from their capture through to their repatriation and its aftermath. The material presented is insightful, balanced and respectful. Its strength lies not in emotion, but in presenting a window into the soul and decision making of the POW themselves in their relationships with themselves, their fellows, guards, families, authorities and the Italian populace. In doing so, the author has redressed a neglected area of our military history and given deserved recognition of the experiences of her father and his fellow POW. I rate this as the best account of the overall POW experience that I have read. It offers understanding, instruction and appreciation to all readers.
Michelle Scott Tucker, author of Elizabeth Macarthur: a life at the edge of the world:
Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, Kittel draws on her own father’s story and those of his wartime colleagues to explore the ANZAC narrative from a fresh perspective. Insightful, thoughtful and compelling, Kittel’s account eschews glorification and instead illuminates the experiences of ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances.
Lachlan Grant (Senior Historian, Australian War Memorial), author of Australian soldiers in Asia-Pacific in World War II:
Taking the reader from Alamein to the Alps, this book tells a tale of captivity, survival and escape, shining a light on the oft-neglected experiences of Australian POWs in Italy.
Historian and Author Louise Wilson, reviews Shooting Through for goodreads
Claretta, Turin, Italy:
Great, your book is wonderful! Congratulations. It would be nice to publish it also in Italy.
Cate Carrigan, New South Wales:
You’ve done a meticulous job of tracing the story of all those escapers. What shines through for me is the tenacity and resilience of many of the men met with the overwhelming and – mostly – unquestioning bravery and generosity of the Italian people, usually with very little themselves, to create this wonderful narrative of struggle and deliverance. In times when we often feel marooned from community and feeling that many are just out for themselves, ST is a testimony to the goodness in the hearts of everyday people, who do their utmost to help even in the face of heavy handed reprisals.
Cate’s blog: Italy to the Alps WWII – walking in the footsteps of the POWs
Sylvia O, Western Australia:
It’s like I’m there with them. I was walking with these men from start to finish, I think it was chapter 25 or 26 in which I wanted to close the book but couldn’t, it was chilling.
Bob W, Western Australia:
GREAT READ! Well done. Thanks again for your efforts. It has really increased my education of what Dad went through. I very much appreciate that.
Trish M, Australian Capital Territory:
I am so impressed with all the research you have undertaken to find the accounts of so many POWs and to weave their stories together. It is also wonderful to see how many ex-POWs you were actually able to meet and speak to first hand and hear their stories personally. I’ve loved spotting locations mentioned where Dad spent time and also where I have visited. You have vividly depicted the experience of so many men who were POWs in Italy, especially those who made it into Switzerland.
Irene G, New South Wales:
Love the language, structure, content, the flow, the way the chapters are presented. The stories bring back to life amazing escapers and Italians. The huge challenges, particularly the fearsome alps!!