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The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 | [Rick Atkinson]

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of Battle, he follows the American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943, attack Italy two months later, and then fight their way, mile by bloody mile, north toward Rome. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and their military advisors bitterly debated whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even wise.
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Publisher's Summary

In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of Battle, he follows the American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943, attack Italy two months later, and then fight their way, mile by bloody mile, north toward Rome.

The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and their military advisors bitterly debated whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even wise. But once underway, the commitment to liberate Italy from the Nazis never wavered, despite the agonizing price. The battles at Salerno, Anzio, the Rapido River, and Cassino were particularly ferocious and lethal, yet as the months passed, the Allied forces continued to drive the Germans up the Italian peninsula. Led by Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, among the war's most complex and controversial commanders, American troops became increasingly determined and proficient. With the liberation of Rome in June 1944, ultimate victory in Europe at last began to seem inevitable.

Drawing on extensive new material from a wide array of primary sources, and written with great drama and flair, The Day of Battle is narrative history of the first rank.

©2007 Rick Atkinson (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

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  •  
    10-19-13
    10-19-13 Member Since 2009
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    "The utter waste and horror of war..."

    I have listened to and read a great deal of material on both world wars and thought I had a clear grasp of the essential action. Here I was proved wrong. "The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944" is the second of a trilogy covering the North African, Italian and Western Europe theaters. I stumbled across this one first without listening to the others.

    Besides my interest in history I have spent much time in Italy and thought this would add detail to the places I have visited and explored. This indeed was the case. I will never view Monte Casino and the surrounding countryside the same again, nor the pleasant hills and villages of Sicily.

    The narration is perfect, Jonathan Davis has just the right blend of voice quality and pace to take you through these years of destruction, stupidity, ill fortune and bravery. The author Rick Atkinson provides a good balance of both the Allied and Axis viewpoints and you get a real feel for what forces caused which actions. For you the book is a significant investment in time (not to mention if you get the entire trilogy) but it is well worth the listen.

    The research is significant and, although you already know how the story will end, you are continually amazed at the unending calamitous action from both perspectives. I was also introduced to participants from countries that I had not realized were involved, such as the Indian and Polish units that played significant parts in these battles.

    It is hard to grasp that these young men (even the generals were relatively young) were our fathers and grandfathers and their epic trials are still within living memory. You will never look at these men the same again after hearing what they went through. By the end of the book you are actually weary of war and death and need a rest.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Eric Gewolb Livingston, N.J 12-03-13
    Dr. Eric Gewolb Livingston, N.J 12-03-13 Member Since 2010

    Eric G

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    "Great WW 2 History"
    What made the experience of listening to The Day of Battle the most enjoyable?

    Despite the fact that 60,000 books have been written about WW 2, this is truly a gem. Volume 2 of this trilogy is very well researched, well written, and beautifully narrated. Very lucid and coherent.


    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Clear narration that non-fiction reads like a novel.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My father spent three years in Italy in U.S Army during WW 2. This book helped me relive his experiences.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 10-17-13
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 10-17-13 Member Since 2009

    I'm just a big kid.

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    "An excellent history of an important campaign"
    What did you love best about The Day of Battle?

    My father (J. Nelson Howard, Texas A&M class of 1944) participated in the events in this book, first with the 36th Division and latter with the 88th Division. I have a letter he wrote home on June 5, 1944 from Rome. The day after he was one of the first GI's into Rome.

    Dad didn't talk a lot about his time Italy, but I know he hated Mark Clark, as did his Aggie friends.

    I learned some of the reasons why from this book, and also heard Clark's side of the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Day of Battle?

    Reading about the 36th and 88th Divisions.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    Davis's performance was excellent. His Italian was excellent. His German, British, and French accents were a tad off, but at least he didn't overdo them.

    Overall production value of this recording was excellent, there were no dropouts, changing speeds and volumes, or repeated clips.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a long book, but well structured to keep one's interest high.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jon Meridian, ID, United States 07-14-13
    jon Meridian, ID, United States 07-14-13 Member Since 2011

    History enthusiast with military and legal background.

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    "Puts everything in context"
    Where does The Day of Battle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top ten books I have listened to. Usually, military history is tough to listen to. Too many places and names. This was well written, and well read, and because I had a significant background in the topic it was easy to follow.

    If you are like me and watched movies like Patton and The Big Red One as a kid, this book and its predecessor puts it all in context. For military enthusiast, this book is a must.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura LEXINGTON, MA, United States 10-28-13
    Laura LEXINGTON, MA, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2009
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    "George Guidall where art thou"
    What made the experience of listening to The Day of Battle the most enjoyable?

    Length ( at two books a month this is an important criterion) -- and the history itself is memorable. Glad to see Bill Mauldin's excellent memoir cited.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Day of Battle?

    Bombing of Monte Cassino with nobody inside but monks and refugees


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jonathan Davis’s performances?

    Not unless he learns how to pronounce place names


    Any additional comments?

    Narrator's pronunciation of Passchendale (he seems to be saying Passindolly) is setting my teeth on edge. I guess George Guidall can't narrate everything but someone should at least make sure narrators can pronounce important place names.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 12-08-13
    W. Max Hollmann Florida 12-08-13 Member Since 2008

    Non Fiction Reader

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    "Puts you into the battle"

    There is a difficulty in writing a book about war an particularly of specific battles. How to portray them? Focus on the men in the trenches? Strategy and/or tactics? Geography? Politics? Decision makers? This book does the nearly impossible: it blends all together. The author tells us what the military leaders hoped to achieve. How they came to their decisions and the mistakes and their successes of those decisions. As in most books of war, a knowledge of the battlefield in essential. Otherwise you have no feeling for the movement of men and material. (I am lucky in that I've been to Sicily and Italy so I have a passing knowledge of the fought-over terrain. In many regards Sicily and Italy are forgotten in the melee because of the much anticipated cross-channel invasion...the "big show". But men fought and died heroically and it is an injustice if their story is not told. This book tells the story clearly and beautifully. It is well researched.
    What I liked most about this book was the author's inclusion of solders' diary entries; both allies and axis. It gave perspective and conveys just what the men saw in their limited field of view. These entries brought to life what it felt like to be there. What I thought confusing was the contradictory treatment of some generals. At points the author thoroughly examines their blunders and their inability to change tactics and later proclaims them as well- thought -of if not near "geniuses": even when there was no success. In cases like that, and they were few, I would have liked to have the written page to go back and read if I missed something. I was particularly perplexed with the Anzio invasion. It was my impression this was a case of missed opportunities and the ego of a general who temporized and was more interested in headlines by being first to Rome. The book tells the story (somewhat), and it does fault the general on the ground but it also seems to rationalize faulty decisions that would have deadly consequences. Two who come in for upbraiding are Montgomery and Churchill. If my recollection of history is correct, I think both are warranted; especially Montgomery who is portrayed as a by-the-book, indecisive general, more interested in tidying up his gains than pushing for advantage. Churchill is portrayed as somewhat heartless and unreasoning of what the soldiers' endured on the ground. I can undersatnd why since the American leadership (Roosevelt, Stalin, Marshal, Eisenhower and many British generals were against this theater of operations for taking the eye off the ball of the Normandy invasion. There was also dashied hopes of a promised, quick victory.
    I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    jdiehl 06-01-15
    jdiehl 06-01-15
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    "Great book"

    I hated history as a student. Thanks to wonderfully written books like this one, I have become an avid consumer of American history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Dylan McFadyen 05-16-15 Member Since 2014
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    "highly recommend"

    Excellent book; narrator has some dodgy pronunciation and his "quotation voice" gets kind of annoying, but doesn't detract too much from an otherwise first rate book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 05-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Better as it went!"
    Would you listen to The Day of Battle again? Why?

    Yes, you cannot possibly take it all in!


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

    Hard to not want Patton to be your General!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I love the history of war! I don't love war though! It is fought way too political and that cost so many their lives. So many lives are wasted in futility! Like trial and error. The reader is not my favorite but he was much better and entertaining as the book went along! Amazes me to see how some leaders can get their men to to such hard things, impossible things and some can't hardly fight their way out of a paper bag! It sometimes takes audacious men to do audacious things, just stay out of their way!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 04-14-15
    Matthew 04-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "learned a ton"

    if you have the time to listen to this book I highly recommend it. the audio was fantastic and the book was extremely well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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