The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944
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...more
"Day of Battle" by Rick Atkinson is volume II of his "Liberation Trilogy," a retelling of the US involvement in WWII that welds lyrical prose with detailed narrative.
For Atkinson, writing a book on Sicily and Italy is a tough deal, as it is the lackluster mid-point between North Africa and France, a thankless second act bridging the good parts of a three-act play. The war in Italy is seen within the doubtless good-versus-evil framework of WWII, buttressed by the goal of unconditional surrender. ...more
This volume deals with the second year of the war in the Mediterranean, including the invasions of Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio; ending with the capture of Rome the day before the Normandy landings, much to the chagrin of the troops in Italy who held the headlines for barely a day. It further reinforces my negative opinion of America's strategic planning, or rather the lack of strategic planning, at least t ...more
What went wrong? Plenty. Cassino. Security lapses. Malaria. Italy’s topography. Cassino. The Gustav, Hitler, and Caesar lines. Failure to reach the Alban Hills before the Germans counterattacked at Anzio. Cassino. Constant bickering between allies—first between Patton and Monty, than between ...more
In particular what emerges is a picture of military leadership that is both accurate and not flattering. Gen. George Patton was ...more
Atkinson does a good job of keeping clear what is taking place and where. He does tend to focus primarily on ...more
As expected, a lot of dark episodes on these pages. War is certainly an ugly thing. You have to give Atkinson a lot of credit, he does ...more
The Italian Campaign was the closest that the Western Allies came to WWI-style attritional warfare. The frustration at the stalemate in front of Cassino and at Anzio is palpable throughout the later half of the book. While covering grand strategy, Atkinson still gives a feel for the individual Dogfaces, Tommies, Kiwis, and Gurkhas stuck in the battle.
I think Day of Batt ...more
Lo que nos cuenta. Aproximación a la campaña aliada de la Segunda Guerra Mundial que permitió la conquista de Sicilia y de buena parte del territorio continental italiano, que llega hasta la toma de Roma. Segundo libro de la trilogía temática del autor, a la que llama Trilogía de la Liberación, construida a partir de la intervención de las fuerzas armadas de los USA en el escenario del norte de África y de Europa occidental.
¿Quiere sabe ...more
This phrase, introduced by the Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz in a book published in 1837, years after his death, is generally taken to mean that, in war, uncertainty and confusion demand fast and flexible thinking of military commanders. In Rick Atkinson’s The Day of Battle, the second book in his three-volume account of the Allies in World War II, the term took on new meaning for me close to that of a phrase from contemporary slang, SNAFU (“situation normal, ...more
The real meat and potatoes of such a trilogy is going to the the third installment and the battle for Northwestern Europe (France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany proper). The Day of Battle is the middle installment (traditionally alw ...more
Throughout the book Atkinson shows—and then actually says at the very end—that the Italian front was the aspect of the war that most closely resembled the brutal slog of WWI trench warfare. Civilians starved to death, were gang raped, and had their villages and fields obliterated. The descriptions of the battles of San Pietro and Monte Casino are among the saddest nonf ...more
Following in the tradition of fine writing of the likes of Cornelius Ryan, Stephen Ambrose, and Hampton Sides, "The Day of Battle" brings the reader in an almost intimate manner to the struggles, the hardships, the sacrifices, the defeats, the victories, the sorrows, and the joys of the war in Italy, amon ...more
The book is admirably balanced between the problems of command and the daily lives and deaths of the foot soldier. Like i ...more
Yes, the scale of combat on the Eastern Front dwarfed that of the Mediterranean, but the casualty rates in Sicily and Italy were often horrifi ...more
Some real strengths of this book are the thumbnail character sketches of many figures, from top generals to division commanders down to small unit leaders and troops. This provides a huma ...more
The battle for Italy was one of the toughest of the war. By the end of the 608 day campaign to liberate Italy, Allied forces had lost about 312,000 casualties. German losses, while uncertain, were similar in scale. The fighting was particularly brutal at the Anzio beachhead ...more