This book is not for us. We are intruders who peek into the letters and diaries of the soldiers. Their letters were in fact part of an intimate communication, with the family. Officers who write to the family also have in mind ‘posterity, but the writers of these pages are mostly privates (who, before being called to war were workers, farmers, craftsmen), with the sole ambition to reach their families, to defend the communication bridge that the conflict threatens to interrupt. It is a rich collection hosted at the Historical Museum of Trentino, long excluded from the national narrative, because it was considered marginal, if not confrontational: the authors are in fact "all" Italians, even those who a century ago were subjects of Austria. Shocking are the bitterness, the anger of the soldiers, and the ease with which the war was able to lead them to madness: the volume includes the DVD Fools of War, the documentary that Enrico Verra dedicated to soldiers suffering from psychoneurosis, segregated in mental hospitals and undergoing often cruel treatment. The phenomenon of those known as "fools of war" is probably just the tip of a wider malaise, a madness that runs deep and that found in that war one of his most horrendous manifestations.
Quinto Antonelli (Rovereto, 1952) is in charge of the “Archivio della scrittura popolare” at the Museo Storico del Trentino. He is the editor of the series “Scritture di guerra,” published jointly by Museo Storico del Trentino and Museo Storico della Guerra di Rovereto. He is one of the founders of the history magazine “Materiali di lavoro” and of the “Archivio della scrittura popolare.” He contributed to La Grande Guerra, published by UTET. His interests are: autobiographies of the common people, educational programs, and the twentieth century wars. On these themes, in 2008, he published with Il Margine I dimenticati della grande Guerra. La memoria dei combattenti trentini (1914-1920).