|Author Mark Sullivan with Giuseppe "Pino" Lella.|
|Pino Lella at age 17.|
Photo provided by Lake Union Publishing.
|Pino after the war in 1949.|
Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore.
Bicycle Runner provides a compelling look inside war-shattered Italy
Franca’s War tells tragic saga of Italian suffering . . .
And here’s one about a movie that depicts war times:
L’Uomo che Verrà
*Footnote: Because some of the (very few) negative reviews of this book on Amazon questioned whether the events in the book were true, I wrote to the author. Here is the answer, direct from Mark Sullivan: “As I indicated in the preface to tell the story I had to do things like create composite characters and stitch lines of plot in a way that tell the story more efficiently. For example, I couldn’t tell the story of the thirty or so escapes that Pino Lella led in the winter of 1943-44, so I put together two escapes based on the parts of others. Mrs. Napolitano is based on three different women who Pino helped into Switzerland. One of them was a violinist, one was an older woman, and one was pregnant. Out of those three, the character of Mrs. Napolitano came to life. Did Alberto Ascari teach Pino Lella to drive? He did. Just not in the way I portrayed it. But, from a novelist’s point of view, I had to show you that Pino Lella could drive the way I described, and that is unequivocally true. I have driven in cars with him, and it was hair-raising. Did he actually get the job of driver to General Leyers by fixing his car? Yes. According to Pino, that’s exactly why he got the job.”
In addition, I listened to a presentation by Sullivan at Wagner College, and someone asked about the love story between Pino and Anna. Absolutely true, Sullivan said. He had to pry the information out of Pino, and it was an extremely personal and emotional experience for both Lella and Sullivan.