The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill, and their military advisers engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once under way, the commitment to liberate Italy from the Nazis never wavered, despite the agonizingly high price. The battles at Salerno, Anzio, and Monte Cassino were particularly difficult and lethal, yet as the months passed, the Allied forces continued to drive the Germans up the Italian peninsula. Led by Lieutenant General Mark Clark, one of the war's most complex and controversial commanders, American officers and soldiers became increasingly determined and proficient. And with the liberation of Rome in June 1944, ultimate victory at last began to seem inevitable.
Drawing on a wide array of primary source material, written with great drama and flair, this is narrative history of the first rank. With The Day of Battle, Atkinson has once again given us the definitive account of one of history's most compelling military campaigns.
©2007 Rick Atkinson; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc.
"[An] empathetic, perceptive analysis." (Publishers Weekly)
This is the brutal retelling of the Italian campaign. If you can stomach the vivid reality of war, this book will change your ideas about what WWII really was for the men fighting in Italy. Another marvelous piece of history and prose from Mr. Atkinson.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
This book gives you some sense of history. The war in Italy is often overlooked, but it lasted for years. We always have the idea that Italy is a sunny place, but in the hills in the winter it is cold and snowy. Parts of the movie Patton is set in Sicily, so you get the idea that its hot and dry in all of Italy.
The book does reinforce the idea that the Italians maybe make better lovers than fighters (although in Roman times that was not the case). The biggest problem when Allies land on the beaches in Sicily was what to do with all the Italian soldiers who would surrender as soon as they saw the Americans. Eventually the U.S. army just gives up and tells them to leave their guns and go home. After Sicily, the Allies are primarily fighting the Germans so things get much tougher. Places like Anzio were hard fought gains. Other interesting tidbits was that the allies could not bomb Rome because of the feared backlash of American Catholics if they were to damage the Vatican.
The book was a great Non-Fiction read. I thought it was going to be more like Band of Brothers. Is is not.
A really great book and the author does a great job reading it for audio book. I didn't realize this was a part of a series until after I purchased it. I will surely go back to read the first of the series and will be anticipating the third book. My only reason for not giving this five stars is that the book comes from an 90% American perspective. Minimal time is dedicated to the Commonwealth and German forces. I only wish it had been a little more well rounded but for what it was, it was an outstanding book on the American forces in the MTO!
As a member of the U.S. Military I have read many books about wars. I find that Mr. Atkinsons books draw you in and hold you to the words. The insights and little facts about the key players are great it brings them to life. I can hardley wait for the next book.
Rick Atkinson is a consumate story teller using the English language to good effect. His research is superb.
Rick Atktinson really seems to capture the strength of the reporter, to give the gritty detail and a feel for the experience of the participants, but still capture the larger perspective of the historian for the events. The Day of Battle manages to illuminate this under reported and ill-understood theater of war without overblowing its importance. North Africa/Italy was a sideshow of a sideshow, with the main event taking place on the Eastern Front, but it was also the crucible that formed the Anglo-American army destined to liberate Western Europe. I really wish an unabridged version was available however.
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