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The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and…

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 (2007)

by Rick Atkinson

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Interesting details helped add color to this dark story of the war in Italy.I believe the author is ambivalent about the campaign. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
This is the second book in the Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson. It picks up the story after the conclusion of the North Africa campaign and provides a thorough narrative of the events in Sicily and Italy, a crucial but often overlooked period of World War II. ( )
  proflinton | Sep 11, 2014 |
An excellent and somber look at the Italian campaign of WWII. Power plays, political aspirations, and overall incompetence again composed the death rattle of thousands of lives. Again the author does an excellent job of weaving the grand overview, the politicians, tacticians, and the dog faces on the ground into one flowing account. The book itself is hard to put down at times, and others hard to read given the circumstances and cost of living involved. Interesting also for me personally to read about the Sicilian landings and campaign that my Grandfather participated in with the 7th Army before heading to England with Patton and subsequently to France with the 3rd Army. Eye opening to say the least. ( )
  Luftwaffe_Flak | Feb 7, 2014 |
Rick Atkinson's An Army At Dawn was a stellar read. While the campaign in Sicily continues in the same mold, the campaign in Italy falls apart as his neat separation into American and non-American events no longer works. The British and Allied contributions to victory in Italy are not given the dues they merit. The campaigns in North Africa and Italy served their main purpose of training the green US army for the real fight on the European mainland. The Americans could gain experience fighting against limited numbers of Germans in a secondary theater.

While the conquest of Sicily made sense as an air base, the attack of the Italian mainland was a classic folly of Churchill. Italy was not the "soft underbelly" of Europe but ideal defensive terrain for a defender. Any student of military history will know how many armies went into Italy to die there. The Germans managed to contain the American and British attack and turned it into a futile war of attrition. The Americans were further hampered by bad generalship: Mark Clark looked like a general but was a terrible commander. Both Salerno and Anzio were mismanaged and caused needless casualties. It is no wonder that Catch-22 is based on the experiences of the war in Italy, a tragic drôle de guerre.

I am looking forward to the third and final volume that has just been published. Hopefully the Canadian and British contribution is appreciated a bit more than in the present book. Recommended. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | Mar 31, 2013 |
Following up with his Pulitzer Prize-winning An Army At Dawn, Rick Atkinson offers a readable and entertaining narrative of the U.S. Army's campaign in Italy. For those who don't know much about the U.S. Army's campaigns in Sicily and the Italian mainland, this is a great one-volume history.

My one criticism of the book was that it ended with the capture of Rome in June 1944, when U.S. soldiers fought and died for a whole other year as they climbed higher up the boot. Just because D-Day in Normandy stole the headlines away from the Italian Campaign at the time, doesn't mean we have to also ignore the fighting that continued in Italy from June 1944 to May 1945.

I can't wait for the Atkinson's third and final installment of the trilogy documenting the U.S. Army's war in Europe. ( )
  whitrichardson | Feb 22, 2013 |
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What kings were fired for war, what armies at their orders
thronged the plains?  What heroes sprang into bloom,
what weapons blazed, even in those days long ago,
in Italy's life-giving land?

-Virgil, The Aeneid
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805062890, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, November 2007: Topping a Pulitzer Prize-winning effort is tough; finding originality in a World War II narrative is even tougher. Yet Rick Atkinson accomplishes both with The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. His previous work, An Army at Dawn, won the 2003 Pulitzer in history, but Atkinson has managed to set the bar even higher with his second installment in "The Liberation Trilogy." He descends upon each battlefield with rich historical perspective, tactical analysis, and chilling frontline observations. Cocksure Hollywood bravado is sparse, as Atkinson depicts soldiers fighting for honor, not glory. "We did it because we could not bear the shame of being less than the man beside us," explains one soldier's diary. "We fought because he fought; we died because he died." The result is an incredible portrayal of the courage, sorrow, and determination that came to define our greatest generation. --Dave Callanan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -0400)

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The second volume in a trilogy chronicling the liberation of Europe during World War II focuses on the Allied campaigns in Sicily and Italy, detailing the bloody battles at Salerno, Anzio, and Monte Cassino, as well as the June 1944 liberation of Rome.… (more)

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