In 2019 there are six books in the Don Camillo series and there will be at least one new book each year following. An audiobook of the first in the series, published in 2018, is available online through Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
Giovanni Guareschi was born in 1909 in Fontanelle di Roccabianca in the Province of Parma. In 1926 his family succumbed to the economic depression under the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini, which meant that Giovanni had to leave the University of Parma without a degree and went to work in a sugar factory, a bicycle compound and variously as a sign painter and mandolin teacher. A break came after he began submitting cartoons to the satirical magazine Bertoldo and from 1936 he was the chief editor of Bertoldo. In 1943, after the Allies invaded Italy he was arrested by the Germans and incarcerated in prison camps in Poland, where he used his developing talents as journalist, writer, sketcher and cartoonist to become one of the 'animators' of the Italian Resistance. Among the partisans in the mountains, communists fought alongside monarchists, republicans and Catholics, burying their differences for the good of the people. Here unity, community, freedom over political ideology, individual responsibility, and a sense of belonging were the values that defeated fascism, and post-war became the values which inspired Guareschi's own weekly satirical magazine, Candido, and his fictional stories. The big political picture became, in microcosm, the Little World of Don Camillo, the particular tensions and need for unity transferring to the fictional Don Camillo and his natural enemy, Peppone, the Communist Mayor, while the voice of Guareschi's conscience became that of his third main character high up on the cross above the altar of the village church, forever surprising us mere mortals with his warmth and wisdom. A full biography of the author is printed in the latest edition of The Little World of Don Camillo.
'The innumerable friends of The Little World of Don Camillo will give thanks that this Italian priest is back with us.' The Observer