The older we get, the more important memory becomes. The past becomes increasingly relevant as we have more and more of it and less and less future. And we want to come to terms with that past and put it in order. Politicians write (usually self-serving) memoirs; others try and pass their experiences on to children and grandchildren.

Harry Shindler, who turned 90 last month, is doubly entwined with memory: his own and that of an increasing number of people who turn to him for help in resolving their past. Together with La Repubblica journalist, Marco Patucchi, he has written a moving account of two threads of his life: his time as a soldier in the 8th Army in Italy in 1944-45, and the last decade or so in which he has uncovered other people