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

4.2 81
by Rick Atkinson
 

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Majestic... Atkinson's achievement is to marry prodigious research with a superbly organized narrative and then to overlay the whole with writing as powerful and elegant as any great narrative of war." —The Wall Street Journal

In An Army at Dawn—winner of the Pulitzer Prize—Rick

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Day of Battle 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
I certainly do not agree with Mr Anonymous below and his negative review of this book and its author. His bragging of being an expert in the subject just belies the ignorance in his words. The only experts in war are those that have served and those that have died in that service. I don't believe Mr Anonymous is either. Here we have the full panoply of bloody modern warfare, usually not glorious and often with much pathos. We are with the Allied troops as they land in Sicily, most by amphibious, some by air drop. The fighting is detailed in all its minutiae with the main command characters profiled and followed in their decisions and interpersonal communications. The author makes all this very interesting and places the characters within the socio-politico spheres of the time. From Sicily the next location the Allies strike toward is mainland Italy. The Brits move in one direction and the Americans another. Again command figures take center stage, lead among them General Mark Clark. What a fellow. This part of the book becomes enthralling. The slugfest and amount of human and physical destruction wrought by these two forces is unbelievable. All culminating in the seizure of Rome on June 5, 1944. This is one day before the Normandy landings and the final chapter in the destruction of the Third Reich. Hence the Italian campaign becomes postscript to the events leading up to Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945. We have lived with these men through the author's words and we know the sacrifices that they have made. This important part of the European theater of war during World War II should never be forgotten and must always be honored.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My dad rarely spoke about his experiences with the 36th Division in Salerno and Anzio, so I bought this book hoping to gain some insight. Now I know why he tried to forget the horrors he witnessed. This is a most authentic account of the personalities involved in both running a war as well as the actual fighting.
demtrain More than 1 year ago
This second volume in the Atkinson "Trilogy" on WWI covers the war in Italy, especially the long slog to capture Monte Cassino. Atkinson is a good storyteller, and he moves the tale along with many human vignettes (mostly about leaders at the Corps level or above, and Ernie Pyle). But he also is good at describing the terrible human cost resulting from Churchill's last effort at asserting British "equality" in making strategic decisions -- and the terrible human cost that Americans (and British, too) paid in allowing Churchill to prevail. This volume (and series) is written for the reader who wants a "good read" and is little concerned about the evidence of the scholarship behind the written word. For that audience, it is another success, and whets the appetite for a third volume about the war in France & the drive to Berlin that ended the war
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More in depth about this part of the war than most histories, so it fills some gaps in conventional accounts. Well written and balanced analysis.
Hiview More than 1 year ago
Texas Ranger Division 36 142 Company D Infantry Regiment I bought this book to learn more about his experience in the war from 1943-1945. Few stories had been told only brief comments like I lost a lot of friends! He had enlisted and was sent to Texas from NY state...I learned a lot and can better put the pieces together of his reference to the "hill" and so many people lost ,not having clothing for the weather ! This book might help others like me that are trying to fill in brief stories they had heard. I know it was a help to me.
Saransk More than 1 year ago
Long forgotten as a major front in WWII, except for Anzio, few know of the horrific battles fought in 1943-1944 in Italy. Mr. Anderson continues his outstanding scholarship and writing to brign home the details and actions from the landings in Sicily through the liberation of Rome. He is very balanced in his writing, detailing the strenghths and weaknesses of a full cast of commanders who, on both sides, had to deal with subordinates and political concerns as well as outright hostility among allies. What sets this work apart is how he has been able to relate the various actions to the overall campaign and how each influenced the other. This is a must reading for any WWII reader and should be essential for any collection.
geoschwartz More than 1 year ago
Rick Atkinson has done it again. This superb book provides an absorbing and very readable history of the American campaign in Italy during World War II. The pages and pages of citations in the back of the book are a testament to the research effort that he puts into his works. But instead of flooding us with detail, he selects items that provide a cross-section -- observations from Private to General -- that help the reader get a feel for and understand what was going on at that moment.

While there were many extraordinary Soldiers revealed in this work, the story of the US Army in Italy was also the story of LTG Mark Clark, the Fifth US Army Commander. Atkinson provies a very balanced view of his generalship because as it turns out, Clark is a leader that could easily be despised. While there is no doubt that the Fifth Army was successful, would there have been so many casualties without Clark's hubris? It is almost overwhelming at times to consider the losses that were suffered at the Rapido River and Cassinio.

I look forward to the final volume in Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy.
Billaabong More than 1 year ago
With the way this book portrays the events between the invasion of Sicily to marching into Rome, it's easy to understand why the Greatest Generation didn't want to talk about their service. With thirty years of USAF time myself, retiring as a Colonel, I have to cringe at the poor decisions, pissing contests, communications issues, irresponsible personal behavior, and bumbling that Atkinson portrays as the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany. If we look at it with today's eyes, with over a 90% survival rate of our wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, the collaboration and unity of command necessary to prosecute a conflict, WWII is grim. If we look at it with trench warfare eyes, then progress was made. I did not give it five stars despite the fact that it is a captivating read because the author spent a lot of time focusing on all the bumbleheaded decisions that portray the entire conflict in a less than favorable light with today's eyes. In my view, Atkinson's portrayal is 180 degrees from Brokaw's Greatest Generation, even though the outcome is the same. It is an overall well researched and documented read, with copious first hand diary perspectives, and I will get the last in the trilogy, but to me it's a history rewrite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to drag stories out of my father about the Italian campaign, including this one: as the 34th prepared their third crossing of the Rapido, one of my fathers officers said: 'Captain, I can't live through another crossing. Somebody shoot me a little so I can go the hospital.' My father was cleaning a captured Walther PP pistol. Playfully, my father pointed the gun at the guy and gently touched the trigger. There was bullet left in the chamber and it took off the guys left pinky finger. He missed the crossing, but indeed did die in the next battle. My father led his company across the river, and afterward checked himself into the field hospital for psychiatric care.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Atkinson is a great chronicler of the Italian Campign. Too often a war history is reported in a victory or defeat attitude and not the bloody crime it is. No one dies for their country, their lives were taken from them. Great job Rick.
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RCCnLA More than 1 year ago
My father served in the Army Air Force in WWII flying over France and Germany, and I heard some first hand history about that theater of the War as a child. War Movies like The Longest Day and , later Saving Private Ryan,re-enforce D-Day and the following months as what saved us from the Nazi hoard.This book by Rick Atkinson puts some background to what was possible in France and Germany by bringing out details of lessons learned the hard way to the Sicily and Italian campaigns which preceded the Normandy invasion.Clearly this campaign has not received the attention of the other,Chances are that without the front in Italy, and earlier North Africa there would have been no success possible in France. Day of Battle filled in some of my knowledge gaps in an easily readable and enjoyable manner. About to start the 3rd book in the trilogy so I can better understand what happened in France and Germany.
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When I finished the book I found myself disappointed. The book felt like thousands of notes and quotes strung together. The chronology was there, but the meaning of the Italian campaigns was lost in a torrent of somewhat gossipy details. I suggest "Anzio the Gamble that Failed by Martin Blumenson". It's a much shorter book which focuses on Anzio but which provides a better sense of the meaning of the Italian campaign in the overall Allied strategy. Besides Blumenson's book is available for free from B&N.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago