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December 28, 2010

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Joseph Neumann

In Curzio Malaparte's The Skin, about his participation in the Allied occupation of Naples (as a liaison officer from the post-Mussolini Italian army), he describes wearing a "recycled" uniform with patched bullet holes. I assumed that since his books are pretty heavily fictionalized this detail was made up, but this photo makes me wonder...

John F. Ptak

Thanks Joseph Neumann for the reference to "The SKin", which I don't know but will check out. I've never really thought about clothing for prisoners--particularly repairing them--before seeing this photo, either.

Jeff Donlan

I think even a fictionalized detail such as that, if it was one, is necessarily true. It's hard to believe that everything we can imagine, and some we can't, has happened in the thousands of wars among millions and millions of men. Certainly clothing, helmets, weapons--and boots for sure--have been recycled. I think I recall an instance of a found journal being continued by the finder, which would make a fascinating thing to read and hold. But that might be a specious memory.

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