on 19 February 2015
Like the author I have had the good fortune to visit Sicily, staying separately in the north west and south east. On both occasions I travelled extensively, traversing the country to explore the majestic temples but diverting to pay homage whenever the familiar rows of headstones loomed. So I was buoyed when the author declared in his introduction that he had walked the ground, and looked forward to my journey with him. But as a travel companion he was a disappointment.
On the plus side the author’s research cannot be faulted. There is no doubt about who did what, when, where, what time and what happened next. And not just from the Allied perspective but crucially from the Axis too. Such is the level of detail that one could be reading a regimental history. And this I suspect is where the problem lies. In order to keep the book to a manageable length, the chronological events are not supported by any narrative. There are no quotes from the commanders taking the decisions or those on the ground. Or even in the air. Events are left to speak for themselves and that is probably an error.
The result is a book that never quite reaches its potential. Author Ian Blackwell has tried to convey the drama and tension of the campaign but – to this reviewer – the effort has been only partially successful. Attributed first-hand accounts would have had a considerable impact. On balance this is probably a much better book than I give credit for but not one that I was really able to enjoy.
on 15 January 2010
An interesting overview, but too few maps to enable sense to be made of what was happening.
On a picky, technical note, the book could probably have benefited from a good proof reading to get rid of typos. Also, the author's command of English occasionally leaves something to be desired, and the clarity of expression might have been improved.
on 11 February 2015
My brother was taken prisoner on Sicily, he died some years ago, in writing my story I was eager to know more about this battle. I was not disappointed. This book describes, in detail, everything I required. Many thanks.
on 8 August 2008
This is another excellent book written by Ian Blackwell. I have been fortunate to have visited Sicily on several occasions with him and his knowledge of the ground and the way this is translated into the book makes it easy reading and easy to follow. He paints a vivid picture of the struggle by the Allies to gain ground, the mistakes that were made for the reader. I recommend you buy this book even if you never intend to visit Sicily. I look forward to his next book, wife and dog permitting. (Mush)