"Closing The Ring" is the fifth volume in Winston Churchill's magnificent history of World War II. Covering the period from early 1943 to the eve of Overlord, this volume covers that stage of the war when the tide had turned in the Allies' favor and was falling in on Germany.
Churchill pays proper respect for the massive losses inflicted on Germany by the Red Army. Throughout this volume a major challenge is how the Western Allies were best able to contribute to victory and draw pressure away from the Soviets. Churchill makes the argument that there really were three fronts: Russia, Normandy, where German troops were held to await invasion, and Italy where Germans were in active combat with the Anglo-American armies. The contentious debates between the priorities to take advantage of opportunities in the Mediterranean versus preparations for Overlord make for interesting reading and reflection.
It is in this volume that we follow the Anglo-American armies across Sicily and into Italy. The reader is made privy to negotiations between the post-Fascist government of Italy and the Allies both over the Italian surrender and Italy's participation in the war against Germany. Opportunities in the Aegean created by the Italian surrender and the reasons that they were not followed up on are examined in detail.
I value first person memoirs and remain a fan of Churchill's World War II series. While it is, by its own admission, limited to the perspective of its author and by his bias, "Closing The Ring" remains a useful and well written history.