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Luigi's Freedom Ride  - Alan Murray

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Published: 1st July 2014
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Published: 1st July 2014
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It is the small lives, tucked away, that reveal humanity in all its bigness. A charming treat of a novel - as sunny, light and enjoyable as a strawberry gelato eaten in an Italian piazza on a summer's day. Luigi is a young Italian boy growing up in Tuscany in the 1920s, dreaming of cowboys and adventure, when a young Englishman, passing through on his way to Rome, gives him his first bicycle, thus sparking a lifelong passion. When World War II begins, Luigi enlists with the Bersaglieri, the Italian Army Cycling Corps (naturally), before unexpectedly finding himself fighting alongside the Partisans. Despite encountering great sorrow and tragedy, Luigi's zest for life remains undiminished, and his next adventure sees him cycling through the Holy Land, Turkey and Sri Lanka before finding an unexpected home - and an extraordinary surprise - in Australia.

An irrepressibly optimistic, sweetly funny story, Luigi's Freedom Ride is about life, bicycles and the joy of the journey - showing how even a small life, lived in the shadow of great events, can be rich in contentment and spirit.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Apparently there was an Italian Bicycle Corps during World War Two. It's a small detail in a big conflict and one that forms the basis for a refreshingly different perspective.

When Luigi leaves his Tuscan village home together with two friends to join the Bicycle Corps, he is already a talented cyclist (and adept at repairs), having been given a damaged bicycle by a British visitor. Until then he has been innocent and carefree, cherished by his close knit family. But when he and his friends join up to Mussolini's forces and are sent to a bicycle unit on the Adriatic, his life darkens as war edges closer. Eventually he joins the Partisans in their bold acts of sabotage, before leaving his beloved Italy for adventures that take him as far as Australia.

Written in a light, sunny, and often playful tone, this is a gently beguiling tale of one young's man's adventures in a world that changes forever before his eyes.

Review by Terry Purcell

Luigi's Freedom Ride is a first novel by Alan Murray, an established writer of non-fiction which can be categorised as a “feel good” read with strong Australian, Italian and cycling themes. It tells the story of Luigi, growing up in Mussolini’s pre-war Italy in a small Tuscan village, who, while still a young teenager, luckily acquires a damaged bicycle left with him by a British tourist. With the help of his uncle he repairs the bike which allows him to glimpse the world outside his. From that point onwards Luigi’s bicycle is an important sub-text reinforced by more...

About the Author

Alan Murray is a widely published historian whose subject specialties are coal mining, miners and their communities in Australia. He has, in the past, worked as a newspaper journalist, and worked extensively with media including, variously, as a television documentary script writer/anchor/ expert consultant and radio short story writer. Originally from Edinburgh, he now lives in Ocean Shores, in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Luigi's Freedom Ride
 
3.5

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

67%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Engaging characters (4)
  • Well written (4)
  • Deserves multiple readings (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Casual reader (3)

Reviewed by 6 customers

Displaying reviews 1-6

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5.0

My favourite book

By 

from Melbourne, Australia

About Me Casual Reader

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Engaging Characters
  • Page Turner
  • Suspenseful
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Travel Reading

    Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

    A wonderful story filled with so many emotions, I have given this book to many friends, a true favourite.

     
    1.0

    Not worth a read.

    By 

    from Gold Coast, Aust

    About Me Bookworm

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Disappointing

      Best Uses

        Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

        I really had trouble getting into this book and ended up putting it away after reading about a third of it.
        It was very slow and didn't capture my attention at all.

         
        5.0

        I loved this book!

        By 

        from Gold Coast

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings
        • Engaging Characters
        • Funny
        • Heart-warming
        • Page Turner
        • Poignant
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Reference
          • Travel Reading
          • Younger Readers

          Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

          I loved this book! I didn't want it to end - and it'll be one of the very few books that I will re-read. It captured the soul of the Italian psyche (I am half Italian). The humour was, in turn, subtle, sly, forthright and cynical. The story had everything. It was warm, engaging, beautifully descriptive, it foreshadowed a hopeful future, dealt with all kinds of human emotions and informed (I'm embarrassed that as a bike rider I knew so little). I think every bike shop should have a copy of this book on the counter! And I cannot think of anyone who would not be drawn in and enchanted by this story. It's an absolute treasure!

           
          4.0

          Bicycle as war transport

          By 

          from Killcare

          About Me Casual Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Engaging Characters
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift

            Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

            Real references to places and events that might be in the experience of the reader. Unusual slant on the history of WW2. Bike technology included.

             
            1.0

            Not what I was expecting

            By 

            from Rural WA

            About Me Casual Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

              Cons

              • Disappointing

              Best Uses

                Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

                Poorly developed

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                another side to migration

                By 

                from Perth WA

                About Me Everyday Reader

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Engaging Characters
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Older Readers
                  • Reference

                  Comments about Luigi's Freedom Ride:

                  Luigi's Freedom Ride takes the reader into a very realistic world of youth and adventure during and after World War II. A journey so many took from war torn Italy to Australia. A trip that changed their lives and helped shaped our nation. This book should be read by all Australian-Italian decedents and anyone who has ever experienced the joy of the Italian culture.

                  Displaying reviews 1-6

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                  ISBN: 9780732298920
                  ISBN-10: 073229892X
                  Audience: General
                  Format: Paperback
                  Language: English
                  Number Of Pages: 352
                  Published: 1st July 2014
                  Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
                  Country of Publication: AU
                  Dimensions (cm): 21.1 x 15.5  x 2.6
                  Weight (kg): 0.43