Is Pino Lella still living? What a... — Beneath a... Q&A
Nancy G. Murdoch

Is Pino Lella still living? What a marvelous book.

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Michael Lella I'm his son and he is living and well in Lesa Italy. Flattered and honored by the phenomenal reviews the book has been receiving...
Andrea I just finished reading this book, please tell your father that he is an inspiration to all going through hard times.
Kelley Richard Harvey I just keep thinking about the people and events of Pino Lella's life. Even still several days after I finished the novel I keep researching all of the events, pictures, and people online. I just can't get enough of "Beneath a Scarlet Sky"! I love World War II history and I know a lot about the American in it but I never knew about much about World War II and Italy passed the knowledge of Mussolini. Knowing Pino Lella's story has changed my life and my outlook on life. Please tell Pino thank you for opening up to share his very soul, his story has changed my life.
You know, I was thinking after I finished the book yesterday that Pino is a survivor, but he did not escape the life taking aspects of war ... there is a part of Pino that died... a part that was there and alive before the War ... a part he has had to live his whole life without and try to still find happiness in spite of it. That is a much more difficult task than dying physically ... you are still saving lives Pino.
Kimberly Michael, I would like your father to know how much this book meant to me. First you should know that I began reading it thinking it was historical fiction and did not know that it was a true story until I got to the end, just yesterday morning. Tears streamed from my eyes as your father watched Anna die, and his cousin and so many others. And all of this while I still thought it was someone's made up tale. It's difficult to come to grips with the fact that an actual person was telling their true story of life as they've lived it. I wanted answers at the end, where there were not answers to be had. I cannot imagine living a life never knowing the answers to those same haunting questions. Please tell your father what a brave soul he is, not only to find the courage to live through those years, but the years that followed, and to tell his story and bring to the forefront much of which he's likely spent his adult life trying to forget. He is forever in my prayers and his story will live on in my memory and the memories of all who have read it. - Kimberly

Marie Smith God bless your father. I wish I could meet him. He was meant to live and tell his story. I'd love to know how the general knew about "the Observer". I find it unspeakably tragic that many of the Nazi's got away with multitudes of crimes against humanity yet were able to continue to live so well.
Mindy Lawson I am going to buy a class set of this book and use it in my classroom. As an English teacher, I find that we generally only focus on the "known" stories of the Holocaust and branch out very little. I am looking forward to sharing Pino's story with my students and introducing them to a different side of WWII and the persecution of Jews in Italy. I hope to also open their eyes to how much power and strength that children of their age group are capable of in difficult times. Perhaps they will put down their phones and look at the world a bit differently.
Claudia My parents have a home in Lesa. They were both born in Italy and now live in California and just spend summers in Lesa. I will be there in June 2018 if you are interested in having a prosecco at Ristorante Lago Maggiore:) I speak Italian. My dad is 91 and my mom is 83. He too fought for the resistance while living in Bergamo. A presto!

Claudia Belotti Pruett
Patricia Fulginiti I've always been very interested in World War II and visited many historical sites and museums in Europe. I've also read very many books. Your fathers story has hands down affected me more than any other I've ever read. His selfless and brave commitment to saving so many lives, and to saving his beautiful Italy shows what an exceptional man he is. He is a true hero. God bless him and your family.
Dor G A true hero. What an incredible story and even more incredible that the story was untold until recently. Inspirational 🇬🇧
Jagan Michael, you have the most courageous dad on the earth. I'm 24, so all the superlatives. Even then, I think very few men may have ever survived the barbarism that your old man had to. Pino will be one of my heroes for life. He never left my mind for the past six months. Please let him know he electrifies young people. Best.
Sarah Howard Just read this book on the recommendation of my mother in law. What an amazing story. Pino Lella is such an inspiration and hero, along with Mimo and Father Re and everyone else involved in saving so many lives.

Sadly, there are few people remaining who have first hand experience of WW2. I'm sure it is extremely painful to drag up the memories of the atrocities that occurred, but I thank people like Pino for reminding this younger generation of what happened and what can be learnt from past mistakes.

On a personal note, my Grandfather was in the British 8th army and served in Italy, recently an ex comrade got in touch with my father and told us some stories of their time together, he recalled my Grandfather exchanging some boots and tinned goods with an Italian family for an accordion, he then spent his time entertaining his fellow soldiers whenever he could. We still have the accordion.

If ever I'm lucky enough to visit Italy, I'd love to buy Pino a coffee and listen to him talk.
Michael Shurtleff I can't imagine there is a man on this planet right now that more people want to hug, sit and talk to, comfort and mourn with than Pino Lella. My wife was out of town and I cried my eyes out at 3 am during the most tragic part of the story. I needed a lot of hugs when she got home and I just want to be around people and family and warmth while I recover from the trauma of that story. If I had a choice to read the book again I am not sure what I would do. I am having a hard time getting back into the grind. I am thinking about being more kind, more connected and interactive with other human beings, more aware and service oriented. It is interesting, the effect that tragedy has on our hearts.
Ivan Tamayo Seating on the 7 train, I just finish reading the last pages ofBeneath a Scarlet Sky. I can't describe what I feel right now. Michael, I can't imagine how proud you are of your amazing father. Please extend me honest and humble regards to Pino. it is overwhelming!! Jackson Heights, NY
Lisette Shields Is Anna Marta a real person
susie petitti This is one of those books I listened to on Audible and had my maps laying all over as I followed his amazing story around Northern Italy. I know the park on Lake Como and many of those gorgeous roads he traveled. When the book finished I restarted it and was taken right back. Honestly one of the best true stories of the worst period of humanity. I was thrilled to see Pino was alive and hope he realizes how important his story is. Thanks for sharing it!
Dede Janzen Michael Lella..please tell your dad he is an amazing man and thank you for sharing his story. This was an amazing book to read!
Hope DeCicco Marra Loved the book and can't wait for the movie. I tell everyone about Pino Lella. Love his name too! I'm going to name my next rescue dog after him so I can tell people who he is. What a great story.
Helena Bedford Have just finished reading this fabulous book. I absolutely loved it and
sped through it in a couple of days! The story of Pino is similar to my Dads in Poland. although much, much more exciting. My Dad came here to England via Italy following his liberation at the end of the war. He went to Dublin to study for 7 years and fell in love across the shop floor with my Mum, who sold sweets! It was an instant love, like Pino and Anna's. They were married for more than 50 years and were in love for ever. I'm currently writing the story of their parallel lives leading up to when they marry. Reading the book, I strangely felt at home and as though it was familiar to me. This is a book I will keep. It was a beautiful pleasure to read and now, to own. Thank you for opening this fantastic story for us to learn. It's inspirational. Xx Helena Anna- named after my Polish and Irish grandmothers.
Virginia Curtis-threadgill I read the book in one sitting which meant staying up until 2:30 AM. What an amazing story. I was unable to stop reading until I learned what happened in the end.
Lisa Kropp I just wanted to comment on Mark Sullivan’s book. I have just finished reading it and I was so moved by it. I cannot get the characters
out of my head. Pino you are far from a coward. What
you did took enormous strength of character. I learned so
much from reading this book. Thank you Mr. Sullivan for
bringing the story of Pino Lella to life for all of us.
What an extraordinary man who did amazing things under
extraordinary circumstances. As the quote from Schindler’s list
states: “ He who saves one life saves the whole world.”
God bless you Pino Lella.
Chantal Guiraud I'm french and I read in english to improve my langage. I really loved this book that I just finished one hour ago. And now I'm waiting for the film to release. This story must be told to the entire world.
Heureusement qu'il y a des écrivains comme Sullivan pour nous raconter des histoires vécues par des héros tels ce Pino Lella. Car Pino, comme tous les grands héros, sont modestes et ne se dévoilent pas et comme tous les gens traumatisés par les guerres ne parlent pas.
Lucilla Torri I m living closed to Lesa, I would like if possible to meed your father
Kelly just finished the book. my own father was a paratrooper, 82nd Airborne, in WWII in England, Belgium and Germany. I was born to him later in his life and did not mature enough before he died, to ask him about his time in the war, his time being a hero, my hero. I have read his war diary word for word, and do not question why there are no entries shortly after writing "I saw and did things that I want to forget" and does not write again until November, 1945, when he knew he was going home soon. Thank you Pino Lella for sharing your story, it made me feel a little closer to the father I miss so much. The things you shared that you felt horrible about have helped me to forgive myself for my own personal horrors. You are a hero and a human..Never die Pino Lella. please?
Erin Jarboe Oh, my WORD! What a book! I hadn't read anything in a long time and someone recommended this via Amazon Kindle Unlimited... I'm so glad I read it. Not only was Pino a brave and wonderful man, but Mark T. Sullivan is an amazing writer and truly knows how to portray emotion. I laughed. I cried. I read for five hours straight until I'd absorbed every last word. I'll be recommending this book, and I'll also be reading it again in the future. <3
Ursula Rosien I want to plan a trip to Milan and Motta! Such an amazing a tragic story -
Angie Cory Your father is my hero. What a remarkable man he is! I'm hopeful his heart will mend when he sees Anna-Marte again. God bless him!
mary greene This was an amazing story of a phenomenal man. Thank you.
Lori Selonke I just finished reaing this book. I loved it. What a page turner. I would love to see that part of Italy. Wish I could meet him. Maybe he can come and speak at our Holocaust Memorial in West Bloomfield, Michigan, How cool would that be. You are a exterordiary person. They don't make Men like you anymore. A total Hero!
Judi Ross Most of these posts answering the question about Pino are 2 years old. Does anyone have an update about whether he is still alive? Also, how is the movie progressing? I hope the Pino will be here for the rerelease of what should be an amazing tribute to his life.
Dawsonbell Finished the book in only a few days after my father highly recommended it to me, I was captivated by the story and couldn't wrap my head around the fact that this all really happened to one soul. After I got past Anna's death, my father told me that was the saddest thing he had ever read. I am only fifteen and know I cant understand how tragic it is to lose a true love like that, but I can only imagine how touching it must have been to my dad, no doubt imagining seeing my mother (and his twenty something years happily married wife) in that situation, or how difficult it was for Pino to cope with the grief. But even I am deeply touched my Pino's tales of adventure and wile. I wish Pino a joyful rest of his life.
Carole Steer Michael Lella, first I want to thank your father for telling his story. In our lives today, it is hard to imagine the strength and courage people were able to conjure during the war. We have no idea. Second, I am sure having a father, who has seen and experienced so much tragedy and destruction must not be easy. I hope that your father can find peace now that his story has been told. I appreciate it so much and want Pino to know thank you from Canada for his faith in God and doing the right thing.
Paula I've been to Milan twice and Lugano once. I'm a skier, and my great uncle Olaf taught at Breckinridge for 40 years, and stopped skiing after he fell off his roof at age 86. My son works as an event manager for a ski resort in Colorado and regularly skins up to get some great ski runs in.

Michael - Your father's story was amazing, and I can truly relate to so much of the book - and among many hero's of his generation, he is truly one of the greatest.
Joanne Louizides This was a very moving account of Pino Lella's life story; what a remarkable life he is living - with happiness and heartache; after reading this book, I look at the world /circumstances differently than before and I cannot get this man out of my thoughts. God bless you, Pino. You are truly an inspiration to mankind!
Linda Tikalsky Michael, I knew your father and your family when you were living in Mammoth. I am Linda Meyers and was a US ski team member. I did not know about his incredible life before he came to Mammoth. I do remember his beautiful skiing and race car driving reputation. Please tell him how much I appreciate knowing his life story. I do remember "trick or treating" at your house one Halloween with my teammate Joan Hannah! Thank you for sharing him with the world.

I am part Italian. My grandmother was a Rossi. Her father was Joseph Rossi and homesteaded in Ben Lomond, CA. The schoolhouse there is on the national register and named after her--Alba Rossi.
Best wishes to all of you,
Linda Meyers Tikalsky
Art Walczyk I’ve read this amazing tragic story last year. Pino Lella’s life and bravery is beyond heroism. The tale is wonderfully told by Mr Sullivan. Iv just completed listening to the audio version with my 87 year old mother who was a Jewish war survivor in Poland from the invasion in 1939 until she graduated medical school with my father and came to New York in 1959
With me in her womb. Someday I would like to hear and tell her story.
Arthur Walczyk

Karla I read the book last fall, and have recommended it many times.

I recently took a trip to the Italian Lakes and mountains, and was reminded of Pino, so I downloaded the book to reread while there. What a great experience to be traveling in the same beautiful region where he lived and worked. I told myself I couldn’t pick a favorite lake, having dreamed of seeing them for so long, but in fact, I do, and it is Lake Maggiore...where Pino now lives. I wish him continued good health in this beautiful place.
Lilia Beck I listened to this book on audible and bought the hard copy for my husband. My heart goes out to your dad for all the trials and struggles and loss of his previous Anna and friends that he went thru helping the allied.
Tracy L Ford Pino Lella, is a beautiful, beautiful soul and I feel privileged to have read his story....I would love to sit with him over a glass of Chianti looking over at the Alps and thanking God for our loves, our losses and for our unknown endings! You’re my hero Pino Lella!
Stacy Rhodes I just finished the book. I have no words. What an amazing story of bravery, love and loss. I am headed to Lake Como in a couple of weeks. It has been on my bucket list for years. Part of me wants to scrap Como and head to Lesa and search out Pino and give him a hug and drink a glass of Chianti with him. Nevertheless, my experience in Como will be very different than what I have anticipated all these months. I will be thinking about so many things regarding his story while I am there. It will be very bittersweet. I can tell. I hope his heart is happy at this very moment.
Sunny Camerer Hello Michael. Thank you for supporting your Papa. I have never cried reading a book until... You know. Yes, we should all put one step in front of the other and not complain. Pino ... I cannot stop thinking how he has changed my life thru the author Sullivan. Life is crazy but we can be blessed if we listen. Thank you!
Stephanie Sudderth Michael, I am truly touched and awed after reading the story of your father's life. He truly is a hero. I sincerely hope he is doing well and is happy.
Jill Balderama What an amazing man he is! His courage through all he endured and still he held on to his faith and love of life. That is inspirational to me! I'm so glad his story has finally been told. God less him

Shellie Roehr atkins What a wonderful story! A true hero and an inspiration to us all! God bless Pino and his entire family!
Kati Berman Yes, he is still living. Author met with him, he was 89 years old at that time.
Alexander Engström
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Sebastian Buettner It's been a few days since I finished the book, and this part of Pino Lella's life has been on my mind ever since. I am deeply impressed by this young man, by his courage, by his attitude, which drove him to save many lives at the risk of his life. In Father Re's Casa Alpina as well as as a driver for Leyers and spy for the resistance against the Nazis. The hard fate of Pino Lella, that snatched his then great love Anna Marta from him, moved me deeply while reading. It does so the more when I read here from Michael Lella that Anna was a real person. The many losses he had to experience as a young person during this time are really tragic. I hope that he could be happy in his further life, even if some scars from such for us today younger Europeans (fortunately) unimaginable times certainly never stop hurting.
Thank you, dear Pino Lella, for your courage, for your selflessness, for your resistance against the Nazis. I bow to you with the highest respect. And thank you for sharing this part of your life story with the author and the world. God bless you.
Tarik Hi Michael. This may have been asked already, so I apologize for the repetition, was Anna real or was that aspect of the story an embellishment by the author?
Paul Goodman Can’t answer the still living and this is a little unfamiliar. I have jus finished the book. Amazing absolutely amazing. Living with passion and for life. My grandfather was a marine engineer during WW11 on the petro-buses in the north merchant navy supply chain I believe, I have some employment history and I that What went on was incredible to all taking part, survivors etc... and my hat goes off to all and the tales of survival continue to amaze. Thank You.
Marilia Buzi Michael Lella will be possible to meat your father? Does any other die hard fans of him wants to meet him? Does he met any of his fans? This book change all my perspective about life. I'm ready to travel to his own town and meet my new hero. Please know my question and intent is for respect and gratitude. Your papa is more loved that he can image. Thank you .
kristina walsh Michael, I just finished this book and your father’s story is incredible. I feel fortunate to have read it.
Bandar This was my summer read. It was an amazing story of war and love.
Niramai Boonprohm Michael,
Your father is such an intelligent, kind, courageous, and sweet man.
I am going to Milan, Lake Como, and Lugano in September this year. I know my trip will be so special even though I know I won’t get to meet your father. Reading about his life will make this trip much more meaningful. Can’t believe that on Sept 7, I will be only 35 minutes from Lesa where Pino is living!
Niramai Boonprohm
Jacque Leonard Amazing book and amazing man!
Justeen I pray he meets somone he loves as much as anna.soo horribly sad. I cried so much after reading it so sad.
Monica Michael, is there a way we can send your dad a letter about how strongly we feel regarding is bravery, his compassion for others, and for his contribution in the war effort?
Sincerely, Monica Fry
Shelley DeVries Did the author add in events that were true but that Pino Lella was not there to witness? I was wondering about events like the battle near the cemetery where Pino rescued the body of his friend?
Martha Michael, My husband and I are listening to the book on tape while driving to and from our home in Pinecrest. When we hear that Pino's son was living in Pine Mountain Lake we were so shocked! I read your father was going to live with you in 2017. The story is remarkable and so moving. What a wonderful person you have as your father! If you are ever in Pinecrest, let us know!
Valera Rogers I am I awe of your father. He is truly a hero.
Bob Pisani Michael –

I hope this book is translated into German, and is a best seller there, as the Germans of today are the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of the everyday monsters who inhabited and ran every aspect of Germany during WWII, and the Germans of today should understand their heritage and what is contained in their DNA.

When I lived in Germany in the early sixties, just 15 or so years younger than many of these civilized barbarians, interacting with them daily as an employee, a customer, or an associate, though I visited Dachau I didn’t have the wisdom to understand with what unspeakable beasts I was unwittingly dealing on a daily basis, as their deeds were not spoken about until years later.

This book made me wish I could believe in God. Please thank your father for who he was and is.


Marlo Raskin I Love this story. I just finished the book. Please know how Grateful I am for the courage and inspiration your father has graciously shared through his life's story. Please Thank him and know that my family will be praying for him and all those who sacrificed their lives to save others. Blessings to you and your family. And looking forward to the movie!
Brooke I too just finished reading the book. Please thank your father for sharing his story of courage.
Jeanine Haran How close is the book "Under the Scarlett Sky" to your father's life? I loved the book and your father is a true hero. My friend read the book and said it was loosely written about your father's life. Just was wondering how much is true? I want to believe it is all true.
Cath Gardner What a fabulous story. Pino is a true hero and I would shake his hand and buy him a drink if I could! Plus, I would have loved to have been at the party and listen to him play the piano!

Thank you Mark Sullivan for persuading Pino to tell the world about his incredible bravery and of the tragedies suffered by the Italian people during WW2. I didn't know the half of it.
Irina Cosa Un abbraccio a suo padre...ha avuto un coraggio e forza che oggi nessuno avrebbe.
Teresa Thank you, Pino Lella, for finding the courage to tell your story. In my eyes you are twice a hero. Thank you, Mark Sullivan, for writing it so beautifully.
My maternal grandparents are Italian, but both had settled in New York years prior to the outbreak of WWll. I never gave much thought to what the people of Italy suffered through prior to reading this book; such an eye-opener.
I thank God every day for people like you, Mr. Lella, and pray you know how many lives you have touched by sharing the story of yours. If such moral strength and compassion were the norm rather than the exception, what a wonderful world this would be.
Grazie infinite.

- Teresa

Ps. Thank you, Michael Lella, for relaying these comments to your father and for this insightful interview:
Eva H Just finished this book, and I have rarely ever felt so attached to the people and events of a book. It made me laugh and it made me cry, as only a true story can. Pino you are a hero, it was my absolute pleasure and privilege to read your story. Thank you x
Debbie Ellstrom I am reading this book now and love it! Please tell your father he is a blessing and inspiration!
Jeff Sawyer I just finished reading the book, what a inspirational life.
Charlotte Carstensen I just finished reading this book and it was so very, very good. My husband and I lived in Italy 50 years ago near Rimini, and we visited Mussolini's grave and so many places in Italy affected by the war. Michael Lella, tell your father "thank you" for sharing his story and for the lives he saved. So many WWII soldiers/survivors don't talk about their experiences and I am glad Pino has at last told his!!
Evelyn Paysse
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Tejal Lalaji I would love to meet your father. Is he open to meeting people who love his story/him? I will be in Milan and Lake Como and would like to see him in June.
Yolanda Reza I am happy to hear that your father is doing well. What an incredible story. You are a very lucky man to have him as your father.
I have visited and stayed in Stresa for the past two years, and have passed by Lesa many, many times. When reading that your father now lives in Lesa I felt that I now I have a connection to this town. I hope to visit again next year, and when I pass by the commune of Lesa, I will salute your father. My father served with the US Army in WW2 stationed in Italy, and I have so many stories that he shared with me.
I hope if I am lucky enough, I will bump into your father in Lesa.
Please thank him for me for sharing his story.
Mary Ellen Finished the book yesterday, and cannot stop thinking about Pino Lella. So glad the story is out. What an amazing, heroic man. This story moved me to tears many times. Will never forget about this exceptional man. Can't wait to see the movie.
M E Thank God the story of Pino Lella has been told. Real life heroes never feel heroic. The things they do are done in the context of their humanity, their fear, their brokenness and their inherent imperfection. God used Pino to do much good in a bleak and evil time. This world is a complicated tangle of competing interests, egos, appetites and expediencies. Some choose to see past the "complications" of their own self-interest and achieve the clarity of compassion for their fellow man. They pay the price to love their "neighbor" with tangible and costly action. They will to make the world a better place. Pino Lella is such a man and put himself at risk time and again. Whether he feels it or not, he is a hero and we should love him for it. God Bless Pino. May we all learn to love our neighbor as ourselves or
at least begin working in that direction.
Connie I just finished reading this book. An amazing story about an amazing man, Pino Lella. Such a compelling story. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.
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by Mark T. Sullivan (Goodreads Author)
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