Selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013
The most horrific battles of World War II ring in the popular memory: Stalingrad, the Bulge, Iwo Jima, to name a few. Monte Cassino should stand among them. Waged deep in the Italian mountains beneath a medieval monastery, it was an astonishingly brutal encounter, grinding up ten armies in conditions as bad as the Eastern Front at its worst.
Now the battle has the chronicle it deserves. In Monte Cassino, military historian Peter Caddick-Adams provides a vivid account of how an array of men from across the globe fought the most lengthy and devastating engagement of the Italian campaign in an ancient monastery town. Not simply Americans, British, and Germans, but Russians, Indians, Georgians, Nepalese, Ukrainians, French, Slovaks, Armenians, New Zealanders, and Poles, among others, fought and died there. Caddick-Adams offers a panoramic view, surveying the strategic heights and peering over the shoulders of troops fruitlessly digging for cover in the stony soil. Here are incisive sketches of the theater commandersField Marshal "Smiling Albert" Kesselring, who outmaneuvered Rommel to command German troops in Italy, and the English aristocrat General Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, tall, upbeat, "andcrucially for Churchilllooked every inch a general." Caddick-Adams puts Cassino into the context of the Italian campaign and larger Allied war plans, and takes readers into the savage, often hand-to-hand combat in the bombed-out medieval town. He captures the brutal weather and unforgiving terrainthe rubble and rocky slopes that splintered dangerously under artillery barrages and caused shellfire to echo with such volume that men had trouble keeping their sanity due to acoustics alone. Over four months, the struggle would inflict some 200,000 casualties, and Allied planes would level the historic monastery-and eventually the entire town as well.
With scholarly care, insightful analysis, and narrative verve, Caddick-Adams has crafted a monumental account of one of World War II's lesser-known but no less devastating battles.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Peter Caddick-Adams is a Lecturer in Military and Security Studies at the United Kingdom's Defence Academy and author of Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives. He holds the rank of major in the British Territorial Army and has served with U.S. forces in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Well written. Very well researched. The author has done a very good job of focusing on the battles in detail. Therefore I believe you will (as I did) learn a great deal of the struggles and disaster. Strengths: battle detail, time lines, focus on different contributors, the Polish, Americans, British, Greek... Weakness: too much focus on "hill 2929292". what does that look like? where is it in relation to Cassino etc. This is where maps, at or near where they're mentioned would be so helpful. Difficult to grasp the details (overwhelming) otherwise. A little more focus on the German strategies would be nice. A little more focus on the politics of Alexander and other key players as the disaster was unfolding would be helpful. In general, I think this is a must read. You may need to leverage google to view some of the hills and battle areas to assist while reading.
Unfortunately this book does not include any maps of the areas discussed. Each chapter involves a different area and although I have visited the Abbey and the town of Cassino the lack of maps makes it difficult to follow the actions