Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book but this campaign is still waiting for the definative work, 29 April 2011
This review is from: Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War 1944-45 (Paperback)
I'd not read any other works by James Holland before this one, but given the outstanding review for this and his earlier work on the North African campaign (Together We Stand) I was expecting something exceptional. Whilst there is no doubt that the author has a gift for weaving together a very wide of anecdotes into a coherent narrative I must confess to being left a little underwhelmed.

The book reminded me very much of Max Hastings's two works on the last years of WW2, Armageddon and Nemesis. The strength's of those books are in the compelling nature of the eye-witness accounts and the same is true here. Tom Holland has discovered an ensemble of participants who bear testimony to the true horrors of war and its impact on ordinary people. Here the generals and the politicians take backstage although they are still import players in the story.

The book kicks-off with the start of the fourth Battle of Cassino (Operation Diadem) in May 1944. The early parts of the Italian campaign are very covered in other sources however most tend to stop after the fall of Rome on 5th June 1944. The second half of the war in Italy is one of those forgotten campaigns that grab my interest. I was hoping for some hardnosed analysis of this campaign but was left disappointed on this count.

I agree with one of the earlier reviews that the work suffers from some sloppy editing and several factually inaccurate descriptions of equipment. What did surprise me is that the author was prepared to let the two principle allied commanders, Alexander and Clark, off the hook with little counter-argument to the many other authors who have found them seriously wanting (Carlo D'Este to name but one).

Overall I'd recommend this work but I feel the serious military historians will feel a little short-changed
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Dec 2011 07:27:52 GMT
Chris Green says:
talk about sloppy editing?? the guy's name is James Holland not Tom. suspect you weren't reading v closely

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2012 13:02:44 GMT
N. Brown says:
Thank you pointing this one out. I've no idea where 'Tom' came from. I've now edited the review. I confess that I'm rubbish at proof reading my own stuff and do go back and re-read my own reviews a few months later as I know I will spot loads of typos once I come to the work fresh. My point was that with professional publications someone is being paid to do this.
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N. Brown
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