• The Hero's Way

  • Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna
  • By: Tim Parks
  • Narrated by: Roger May
  • Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Best-selling author of Italian Ways Tim Parks follows the hair-raising journey of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, 250 miles on foot from Rome to Ravenna, to look at Italy past and present.

In the summer of 1849, Garibaldi, legendary hero of guerrilla wars in South America and future architect of a united Italy, was finally forced to concede defeat in his defence of a revolutionary Roman republic. After holding the besieged city for four long months, it was clear that only surrender could prevent slaughter and destruction at the hands of a huge French army. But Garibaldi was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his heavily pregnant wife, Anita, he led 4,000 men out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence elsewhere. Hounded by both French and Austrian armies, they crossed the mountainous Appenines, and after endless skirmishes and adventures arrived in Ravenna on 2 August with just 250 survivors.

The group commandeered fishing boats on the Adriatic coast in an attempt to reach the revolutionary republic of Venice, but were intercepted by the Austrian navy. Anita was seriously ill. Garibaldi's companions split up. Most were rounded up and executed, but the hero himself escaped, travelling back across Italy in disguise until he could finally embark from Genova, first for Africa, then the USA. Ten years later, his revolutionary campaign in Sicily would be the catalyst that brought about the unification of Italy.

With his partner Eleonora, Tim Parks follows their arduous journey in the summer of 2019, in a fascinating portrait of Italy past and present. 

©2021 Tim Parks (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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  • John a.
  • 07-08-21

Interesting book and generally well read

Well worth listening to for anyone interested in Garibaldi. Generally well read, with the exception of Italian words and place names, unfortunately

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  • Mr Christopher Caswell
  • 04-23-22

Surprisingly enchanting

I learnt so much about Garibaldi in the this charming travel tale. By chance it passed several places where I have homes!
Highly recommended.
Occasional mispronounced Italian place names could have been edited out, but a small irritation.

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  • BBette
  • 07-18-21

Excellent history/travelogue

A really fascinating account of Garibaldi's retreat from Rome in 1849 after the failed republic collapsed, interwoven with Tim Parks' walk along the route with his partner. My only quibble was with the narrator whose Italian pronunciation was a little erratic - particularly with the Italian sounds 'gli' (eg degli), 'sch' (eg bruschetta) and 'zz' (eg Mazzini), which became quite distracting.

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  • Richard
  • 02-16-22

Interesting but not satisfying

The book started out well, but I am afraid it became tedious as the history of this part of Garibaldi developed. I think that it would have been more interesting to learn more about the author and his companion as well as history. Unfortunately it ended up with being engulfed in Covid and I suppose a bit depressing. Not one of Tim Park’s best books. However, I admire the stamina of the walker!