This is a good history of the British 78th (Battleaxe) infantry division in WW2. My only genuine complaint about the book is that it seems to have become a requirment of military histories to have bad maps. Given the mountain terrain that the 78th fought over in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy, this is especially frustrating as the author consistantly reinforces the the problems posed by an enemy holding higher ground, so the 'broad brush' approach of the maps is not appropriate. That said, this is a very good divisional history. Perspective is given from both the brigade and divisional level to see the 'top down' perspective of battle problems, but also from the perspective of the battalions involved, and how they approached each battle, and deployed their companies and reserves.
Without commenting directly on it, the fluidity of the British system whereby battalions and brigades are individual units that can be assigned to a particular problem or reassigned to a different command comes through clearly. So do the problems of 'seniority' whereby the Guards brigade originally assigned to the division has to be reassigned. The problems here are not gone into, but frankly it does not reflect well on anyone that pride appears to have meant more to some people than professionalism. Thus, after the appointment of a 'junior' brigadier to command the division, the Guards brigade (with its 'senior', and 'overlooked' commander) must be removed from the division.
The narrative is interspersed with commentary from the soldiers of the 78th, and this is invaluable to later readers to get some idea of what the soldiers were going through. The courage, the fear, the 'near misses' and the survivors of the disasters all have their voice.
Not surprising the book starts slowly, but as the division moves into Sicily it becomes engaging reading.
The book only occassionaly steps back to look at the larger picture of campaigns to see where other allied forces may be, and while some readers may have a problem with this, I do not, the book has one division as its focus and does an excellent job maintaining it.
Overall, this book is to be recommended to readers with an especial interest in the British 78th division, but also to those with either an interest in the Scilian and Italian campaigns or the British forces in Italy and Sicily.