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Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II Paperback – 10 May 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books (10 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400033756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033751
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,121,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" [An] exemplary, heartbreaking book." - "The Washington Post"
" Monte Cassino [was] perhaps the most interesting campaign of all. . . . [A] moving and well-researched book." --"The Economist"
" Few people today realize that British and American soldiers fought in a battle that compares to Stalingrad for human suffering." Monte Cassino" is a fitting tribute: an important and beautifully written book, told with real understanding and pathos." - "Daily Telegraph"
" One of the true epics of infantry war in World War II.... A gripping story of incompetence, courage, cowardice and almost every other human emotion that war can excite." - "Irish Independent"
" Deeply felt. . . . A fine book on a heartbreaking tragedy." - "Irish Times"
" An excellent account of the hardest fighting carried out by the Western allies." - "The Independent on Sunday"
" Good accounts have been written of the battle before, but none has managed to convey the sheer awfulness of fighting with quite the same success. . . . Parker has produced a deeply moving, richly detailed, and fast-paced account of the most infamous British battle of the Second World War." - "Sunday Telegraph"
" A careful reconstruction of the Allied campaign. . . . An accomplished study." - "Kirkus Reviews"
" Parker captures the heroism, horror, and sheer brutality of a battle that rivals Stalingrad for savagery. . . . An outstanding chronicle illustrating both valor and futility." - "Booklist"
" Parker captures the horrific nature of the combat. . . . Anoustanding example of military history, Parkers' study is of the same caliber as John Ellis' s masterpiece, Cassion: The Hollow Victory, and should be in every World War II collection." - "Library Journal"

"[An] exemplary, heartbreaking book." -"The Washington Post""Monte Cassino [was] perhaps the most interesting campaign of all. . . . [A] moving and well-researched book." --"The Economist" "Few people today realize that British and American soldiers fought in a battle that compares to Stalingrad for human suffering." Monte Cassino" is a fitting tribute: an important and beautifully written book, told with real understanding and pathos." -"Daily Telegraph" "One of the true epics of infantry war in World War II.... A gripping story of incompetence, courage, cowardice and almost every other human emotion that war can excite." -"Irish Independent""Deeply felt. . . . A fine book on a heartbreaking tragedy." -"Irish Times""An excellent account of the hardest fighting carried out by the Western allies." -"The Independent on Sunday""Good accounts have been written of the battle before, but none has managed to convey the sheer awfulness of fighting with quite the same success. . . . Parker has produced a deeply moving, richly detailed, and fast-paced account of the most infamous British battle of the Second World War." -"Sunday Telegraph""A careful reconstruction of the Allied campaign. . . . An accomplished study." -"Kirkus Reviews""Parker captures the heroism, horror, and sheer brutality of a battle that rivals Stalingrad for savagery. . . . An outstanding chronicle illustrating both valor and futility." -"Booklist ""Parker captures the horrific nature of the combat. . . . An oustanding example of military history, Parkers' study is of the same caliber as John Ellis's masterpiece, Cassion: The Hollow Victory, and should be in every World War II collection." -"Library Journal"

[An] exemplary, heartbreaking book. "The Washington Post""Monte Cassino [was] perhaps the most interesting campaign of all. . . . [A] moving and well-researched book." --"The Economist" Few people today realize that British and American soldiers fought in a battle that compares to Stalingrad for human suffering." Monte Cassino" is a fitting tribute: an important and beautifully written book, told with real understanding and pathos. "Daily Telegraph" One of the true epics of infantry war in World War II.... A gripping story of incompetence, courage, cowardice and almost every other human emotion that war can excite. "Irish Independent" Deeply felt. . . . A fine book on a heartbreaking tragedy. "Irish Times" An excellent account of the hardest fighting carried out by the Western allies. "The Independent on Sunday" Good accounts have been written of the battle before, but none has managed to convey the sheer awfulness of fighting with quite the same success. . . . Parker has produced a deeply moving, richly detailed, and fast-paced account of the most infamous British battle of the Second World War. "Sunday Telegraph" A careful reconstruction of the Allied campaign. . . . An accomplished study. "Kirkus Reviews" Parker captures the heroism, horror, and sheer brutality of a battle that rivals Stalingrad for savagery. . . . An outstanding chronicle illustrating both valor and futility. "Booklist " Parker captures the horrific nature of the combat. . . . An oustanding example of military history, Parkers study is of the same caliber as John Ellis s masterpiece, Cassion: The Hollow Victory, and should be in every World War II collection. "Library Journal""

[An] exemplary, heartbreaking book. The Washington Post"Monte Cassino [was] perhaps the most interesting campaign of all. . . . [A] moving and well-researched book." --The Economist Few people today realize that British and American soldiers fought in a battle that compares to Stalingrad for human suffering. Monte Cassino is a fitting tribute: an important and beautifully written book, told with real understanding and pathos. Daily Telegraph One of the true epics of infantry war in World War II.... A gripping story of incompetence, courage, cowardice and almost every other human emotion that war can excite. Irish Independent Deeply felt. . . . A fine book on a heartbreaking tragedy. Irish Times An excellent account of the hardest fighting carried out by the Western allies. The Independent on Sunday Good accounts have been written of the battle before, but none has managed to convey the sheer awfulness of fighting with quite the same success. . . . Parker has produced a deeply moving, richly detailed, and fast-paced account of the most infamous British battle of the Second World War. Sunday Telegraph A careful reconstruction of the Allied campaign. . . . An accomplished study. Kirkus Reviews Parker captures the heroism, horror, and sheer brutality of a battle that rivals Stalingrad for savagery. . . . An outstanding chronicle illustrating both valor and futility. Booklist Parker captures the horrific nature of the combat. . . . An oustanding example of military history, Parkers study is of the same caliber as John Ellis s masterpiece, Cassion: The Hollow Victory, and should be in every World War II collection. Library Journal"

From the Inside Flap

Monte Cassino is the true story of one of the bitterest and bloodiest of the Allied struggles against the Nazi army. Long neglected by historians, the horrific conflict saw over 350,000 casualties, while the worst winter in Italian memory and official incompetence and backbiting only worsened the carnage and turmoil.
Combining groundbreaking research in military archives with interviews with four hundred survivors from both sides, as well as soldier diaries and letters, Monte Cassino" is both profoundly evocative and historically definitive. Clearly and precisely, Matthew Parker brilliantly reconstructs Europe's largest land battle-which saw the destruction of the ancient monastery of Monte Cassino-and dramatically conveys the heroism and misery of the human face of war.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Write Military History 24 Jan. 2009
By John Winterson Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Monte Cassino was a true "Battle of the Nations". The Orders of Battle at the end of this book list Divisions from the UK, the USA, Poland, New Zealand, India, France - including Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia - and, of course, Germany. All did honour to their respective countries. In particular, never did men fight so well for such a bad cause as the German parachutists did. Parker, a historian of whom I had heard little but of whom I would like to read more, shows exactly how military history should be written. He sketches the strategic outline concisely and then lets the men who fought tell their own stories, without boring us with his own opinions and theories. The result is a vivid account of the follies and horrors of war. The book's subtitle is a mistake - the hardest fought battle of World War Two was almost certainly Stalingrad, where both sides fought without relief - but to try to compare horrific battles is to miss the point: all are horrific. This book certainly destroys any subconscious illusions - based on experience of Italy only as a very pleasant tourist destination - that the Italian Campaign must not have been as unpleasant as some others. The fact is that even the most beautiful country can be turned into a place of torture by total war. Young men read about wars and wish that they could have fought, but reading books like this makes one thank God that one never had to fight. It left me with a profound sense of gratitude to the generation who went to war so that my generation did not.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good History of this Forgotten Campaign 9 Jun. 2008
By TigerTC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Matthew Parker's "Monte Cassino: The Hardest Fought Battle of World War II" is a very good account of the four battles around Cassino, Italy, from January to May 1944. Parker relies heavily on veterans' accounts of the battle in his narrative.

Parker's writing is excellent and his account very informative. Although he focuses on the infantryman's view of the battle, Parker effectively explains the plan behind each of the four assaults. He also included a large number of very useful maps (some with an excellent three-dimensional perspective) illustrating the key actions.

Parker's approach to the battle is unique. He gives good in-depths looks at the lesser-known armies involved in the campaign: the Poles, French North Africans, Indians, and New Zealanders. He does not only focus on their actions but on their unique backgrounds. And with his perspective on the individual soldier, Parker highlights the psychological casualties in the battles, even describing the continuing suffering of many of the veterans after the war.

However, despite these excellent perspectives, Parker does not focus enough on the operational side of the battle, nor does he offer much analysis or commentary on the difficult (and controversial) battles. He rarely discusses the plans and actions of any commanders above the corps level. Surprisingly, Parker's discussion of the bombing of the Monte Cassino abbey - the most famous incident in this battle - does not offer much analysis or comment.

Ultimately, though, this is an excellent account of this overlooked battle. Although the book fails to discuss the bigger picture of the fighting in Italy or analyze the actions of the Allied armies in Italy, Parker does an excellent job writing and interesting and informative account of this campaign that would be enjoyed by anyone interested in World War II.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cassino=Hell 27 Nov. 2013
By Jan Parzybok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A story of misery and mismanagement, of waste and futility, of pointlessness and death.
Many personal accounts of what really happened at Cassino. A well told story.
Mr Parker, thank you for showing us how this battle was poorly executed and why war in general is terrible.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion the best of the two Monte Cassino books 11 Dec. 2014
By Jim K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my opinion the best of the two Monte Cassino books. War books can be dry at times however this one put me right in the theater of the Italian campaign. I would suggest reading this book if you don't mind reading the gut wrenching facts of war.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Read 8 Sept. 2005
By T. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the first few chapters this book stands out as an very interesting read. It not only explains the basics movements of the battle but also explains the personality and character of the soldiers from each of the participating countries including the Italian civilians. Also explained are the events of the nearby towns, cities and regions that helped shape the course of the battle. Each of the different military actions are told not only in terms of overall movements of military units but also from the view of experiences of individual persons and soldiers involved in those movements. This recipe is repeated for each of the military units (and sometimes civilian as well) involved in each of the four different events that made up the battle for Monte Cassino. As a result the story is told from a strategic as well as a tactical viewpoint.

It is very apparent that Matthew Parker has done an incredible amount of research and is very knowledgeable on the subject. Each of the four battles and some of the fighting within the battles is well illustrated with maps that let you follow the exploits of the units described in the text. The book leaves you with a real understanding of the incredible hardships and waste of human life associated with this event above and beyond many others of WWII. I bought this book after visiting and touring Monte Cassino on a recent trip to Italy, and I really wish I had read it before the trip rather than afterward. This book would be a must read for anyone planning a visit to the area.
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