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
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
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
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
Called up in 1939, Father had reached the rank of Major and was serving in the Fourth Indian Division, part of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army, when five years later he found himself crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy. The Germans had pulled out of North Afric ...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
Some background on me:
1) My grandfather was a bombadier in the Italian Campaign. After he passed away, we found his old flack jacket... it had saved his life. It was obvious that it had been hit by shrapnel!
2) My dad was assigned to San Vito Air Station when I graduated from college---so I got ot visit and see many of the places talked about in this book. My grandpa did visit one summer while we were in Italy to tour the area that he had spent time in during the War.
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
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
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
I came across this bi ...more
by Rick Atkinson is the second in a Pulitzer Prize and New York Times Bestselling trilogy about the liberation of Europe during World War II. This one is focused on the retaking of Sicily and then using it as a base to invade southern Italy and planning to move up the boot pushing the Italian and German troops back. By this time the American soldiers were experienced and hardened combat veterans from t ...more