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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.
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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.
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