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Ortona: Canada's Epic World War Ii Battle (Canadian Battle #1)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The epic story of the average soldier -- with little or no military training prior to the outbreak of World War II -- following the gruelling, twisting path towards the prize of Rome. Personal interviews with surviving veterans bring to life the slugging match fought street by street and house by house among the boobytrapped ruins of Ortona. A detailed account of the class ...more
Hardcover, 443 pages
Published November 27th 1999 by Stoddart (first published October 1st 1999)
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Recommended for anyone with a serious interest in the Italian campaign and Canadian ground operations in Italy/Europe.

Mark Zuehlke's books on Canadian ground operations during WWII are, in my opinion, some of the most important books to have been published in recent years from a Canadian military history standpoint. Except for Stacey's official history, I am not aware of any specific work dealing with the battle of Ortona (except regimental histories).

Zuehlke's detailed account of the battle,
Very good book about a battle I had never heard of. Also of interest to me was the fact it is a Canadian study about the Canadian forces (The author does take the time to intersperse some Italian and German accounts as well), the first I have read focusing on Canadian troops. Overall a good book, however some forgivable mistakes on the technical side of things (The author is overly fond of referring to the Mp-40 sub machine gun erroneously as the 'Schmeisser' he does this throughout the entire b ...more
Don Thompson
My uncle fought in the Black Watch and I had another family member who had been in Sicily but for some strange reason I had not known about the Canadian forces who had fought in Italy. Years ago when I was working a summer job to pay for College I worked with a Canadian Vet who had been in Sicily and then Italy. He referred to himself and his fellow Candians as the forgotten soldiers. That he felt that all the stories after Sicily went to the "real soldiers" ( anyone who landed in France on D-Da ...more
Michael Dorosh
A readable precis not just of Ortona, but of the entire Moro River campaign (the title is a bit of a misnomer). Covers ground ably covered by Daniel Dancocks in D-DAY DODGERS and by Gerry Nicholson in the official history THE CANADIANS IN ITALY, but really offers no new insights into how the battle of Ortona itself was fought. A good book for anyone looking for a general description of the Canadians in the Moro, and some good interviews with vets, but again - the appendices are strewn with error ...more
Viking Paul
I wanted to like this book, as it is a subject dear to me. Unfortunately, I found Zueklke's style un-engaging. His knowledge of battalions and divisions and tactics is remarkable, but his desire and ability to put the human touch on it--to focus on the men as much (or more) than the tactics--is not.
A solid, thoroughly researched narrative of a hard fought and bloody battle between Canadians and Germans in December 1943. Zuehlke very much adopts the view of the soldier of the ground and vividly manages to project the stress and confusion of the battlefield. Probably mostly of interest for military history buffs, but might be the one military history book you choose to read to 'get a better sense of what is was like'.
Weaving stories from first hand accounts of Canadians, Germans, and Italian citizens, the author masterfully blends the stories of the participants in this captivating tale of the vicious battle for the town of Ortona, Italy, in the 2nd World War. Visit the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery and know the Canadians did not die in vain as the people of Italy and the rest of the free world live in freedom from the tyranny of Nazi days.
Not so much a detailed study of the fighting in Ortona as an overall picture of the Moro campaign. The writing is serviceable, but the wealth of first hand accounts included are counterbalanced by a lack of any new thesis.
Awesome historical facts with many personal stories of those who were there.
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On January 1, 1981, Mark Zuehlke walked away from a journalism career to pursue magazine and book writing fulltime. He has never looked back. In 1992, Mark published his first book—Magazine Writing From the Boonies (co-authored with Louise Donnelly)—and now concentrates almost exclusively on writing of books.

Fascinated by Canada’s military heritage, Mark first set to writing about the role Canadia
More about Mark Zuehlke...
Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory, June 6, 1944 Holding Juno: Canada�s Heroic Defence of the D-Day Beaches: June 7-12, 1944 The Gothic Line: Canada's Climactic World War II Triumph in Italy The Liri Valley: Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome Terrible Victory: First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Estuary Campaign: September 13 - November 6, 1944

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“[Alon Johnson] Later wrote that, "coming through a battered building near a well known and dangerous doorway. I heard something unfamiliar -- the sound of excited voices somewhere in the distance. The significance of this babble seemed to escape the tired company, but to me it suggested a sudden and radical change in the situation. Important enough to risk being shot at by showing myself in the doorway. Nothing happened, so I stepped into the street,...” 1 likes
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