Born in 1921 in Besana, Brianza the first of ten children (his younger brother was Dr Piero Corti)
, early fascinated by Homer. At age 21 he entered the Italian army as a lieutenant of Artillery and volunteered for the Russian front, less in order to further Hitler's ambitions than to retard Stalin's. Ordered to retreat in mid-winter, he led his men back to Italy where he eventually reconnected with the King's
army and fought with the Allies.
Having survived the war, he finished a degree in law and in between working at the family business, turned to writing. His best known works, translated into many languages are Few Returned: Twenty-eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943
(translated by Peter Levy); Last Soldiers of the King
, and in 1983, the sprawling masterpiece, The Red Horse
. If nothing else, he provides a valuable corrective for the overlooked roles of Italy in World War Two.
Profoundly Catholic, profoundly anti-fascist, profoundly anti-communist, he was in older age the recipient of numerous awards both Italian and international. There was in some quarters hopes for a Nobel
. The left had little use for him, and neither, it would appear, do English language newspapers, where his February 4 death has been notably overlooked.
Interested readers of Italian can consult his homepage
and that of the Associazione Culturale Internazionale Eugenio Corti