In the second volume of his epic trilogy about the liberation of Europe in World War II, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson tells the harrowing story of the campaigns in Sicily and Italy.
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 strengthening American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and then, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north toward Rome.
The Italian campaign’s outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill, and their military advisers engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once under way, the commitment to liberate Italy from the Nazis never wavered, despite the agonizingly high price. The battles at Salerno, Anzio, and Monte Cassino were particularly difficult and lethal, yet as the months passed, the Allied forces continued to drive the Germans up the Italian peninsula. Led by Lieutenant General Mark Clark, one of the war’s most complex and controversial commanders, American officers and soldiers became increasingly determined and proficient. And with the liberation of Rome in June 1944, ultimate victory at last began to seem inevitable.
Drawing on a wide array of primary source material, written with great drama and flair, this is narrative history of the first rank. With The Day of Battle, Atkinson has once again given us the definitive account of one of history’s most compelling military campaigns.
Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle, has continued his Liberation Trilogy with the exploration of the further strengthening of the American military. The first book showcased the battles in North Africa; the second takes us to the “soft underbelly of Europe”—the Italian theatre.
Detailing the Allied invasion of Sicily and their violent march to Rome, Atkinson again explores the realism of war rather than the supposed glory. The writing is compelling and lyrical. Atkinson’s gift lies in recounting history in such a way that it is accessible—gripping rather than dry, transporting the reader to the barracks as well as to the meeting tables of the leaders in the war.
Both informative and engaging, The Day of Battle is a must-read.