Edition: 2024
Pages: 328
Series: IR/L
ISBN: 9788858148907

A Man of Few Words. Story of Lorenzo who saved Primo Levi

Carlo Greppi


Man Ivanov and Ferber (Russian); Critica (world Spanish); J.C Lattès (French); Meulenhoff (Dutch); Saqi Book (world English)



The submerged life of the man who saved Primo Levi – both in concrete and ideal terms. A poignant frendship. An untold story, powerful and moving, that holds a message that concerns each of us.

Lorenzo Perrone was an Italian bricklayer who during the WWII ended to work – in desparate conidtions – just outside the fence of Auschwitz. He was a poor and almost illiterate man who brought Levi a bowl of soup every day for six months to help him compensate for his malnutrition in the Lager. And he did not limit himself to assisting him in his most concrete needs: he went much further, risking his life to allow him to communicate with his family. He looked after his young friend as only a father could have done. This book tells the story of an extraordinary friendship, which was born in Aushwitz and which continued until Lorenzo’s miserable death, in 1952, ruined by alcohol and tuberculosis. However, Levi never forgot him: he wrote about Lorenzo, he named his children Lisa Lorenza and Renzo, and he returned more and more insistently, in the last years of his life, to him, the man of few words who saved his life. Millions of people every year read the works of Primo Levi, a writer of global fame but this incredible story allows us to see him from a new and unforgettable angle. Furthermore Lorenzo Perrone is a righteous to whom we are not used to: he is of one of the last of History, who has left very few traces of himself, and this book, recounting his extraordinary and poignant friendship with Primo Levi, gives us much more than an exceptional historical research: it is a gleam of hope that keeps us human.

The author

Carlo Greppi

Carlo Greppi (1982), historian at the University of Turin, is the author of numerous essays on the history of the twentieth century. For Laterza, he is the curator of the series “Fact Checking: History Tested Against the Facts”. His latest book is the essay Il buon Tedesco (2021, Fiuggi History Award 2021; Giacomo Matteotti Award 2022).

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