The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 Audiobook [Free Download by Trial]

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The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 by Rick Atkinson

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  • This book is really great! The narrator's pronunciation is a bit iffy and his "quotation voice" can get pretty irritating, but it doesn't take away too much from an otherwise fantastic book.
  • Writing a book about war, especially specific battles, can be quite challenging. The author of "The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944" manages to achieve the nearly impossible by blending various elements together. The book not only focuses on the men in the trenches but also covers strategy, tactics, geography, politics, and decision-making. It provides insights into the military leaders' objectives, how they made their decisions, and the consequences of those choices, both successful and unsuccessful. To fully appreciate the narrative, it is important to have some knowledge of the battlefield. Having visited Sicily and Italy, the reviewer feels fortunate to have a basic understanding of the terrain. Despite the overshadowing anticipation of the cross-channel invasion, the author rightfully sheds light on the forgotten stories of the heroic men who fought and died in Sicily and Italy. The book effectively tells their stories in a clear and beautiful manner, demonstrating meticulous research. The standout aspect of the book, according to the reviewer, is the inclusion of diary entries from soldiers on both sides of the conflict. These entries offer valuable perspectives and provide a glimpse into the limited field of view experienced by the men on the ground. The reviewer, however, finds the treatment of some generals confusing. While their blunders and inability to adapt are thoroughly examined, there are instances where the author praises them as if they were near "geniuses" despite their lack of success. In such cases, the reviewer wishes for a reference point to revisit and ensure a full understanding of the author's intentions. The invasion of Anzio, in particular, perplexes the reviewer, as it seems to be a missed opportunity driven by the ego of a general seeking headlines rather than strategic advantage. The book partially addresses this, faulting the general on the ground but also rationalizing the faulty decisions that led to disastrous consequences. The book also criticizes figures like Montgomery and Churchill. The reviewer agrees with these criticisms, recalling historical knowledge that supports the author's portrayal of Montgomery as a by-the-book, indecisive general and Churchill as somewhat callous and indifferent to the soldiers' hardships. It is understandable why this theater of operations faced opposition from leaders like Roosevelt, Stalin, Marshal, Eisenhower, and many British generals, who believed it diverted attention from the Normandy invasion and dashed hopes of a swift victory. In conclusion, the reviewer highly recommends "The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944." The book successfully combines various elements, offers unique perspectives through soldiers' diary entries, and sheds light on forgotten stories. Despite occasional confusion regarding the treatment of certain generals, the reviewer appreciates the clear and beautiful storytelling and the author's extensive research.