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4.4 out of 5 stars
55
4.4 out of 5 stars
Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War 1944-45
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on 16 December 2012
James Holland tells a complex and, at times, quite harrowing tale with compassion and an even hand, adding new perspective and understanding to what I already knew. The author does not dwell on any aspect of the campaign nor write soley from an Allied perspective, providing a fast moving and balanced description of events. Despite the inclusion of a good number of tactical maps, those intent on following the campaign 'on the ground' may find a good atlas useful - but the human tale stands on its own. As always, the real strength of James Holland's work is his ability to tell the story through the eyes of those who were there and, in this, he succeeds magnificantly.
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on 25 February 2014
Italy's Sorrow deals with a complex historical episode as both a history and a human story. Not just one personal story but a number of different human experiences from all sides, from all ranks and at all levels of the conflict. A Polish Private's story is juxtaposed with a German officer and an American General. The approach is novel and very well researched and most enjoyable to read.
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on 28 August 2013
Italy's Sorrow
A fanastic but at times upsetting book. It probably couldn't be otherwise, given the subject matter. James Holland presents the war in Italy in painstaking detail, seen through different perspectives. He presents the war through the eyes of Allied and German soldiers and through the eyes of Italian civilians and combatants, both fascist and partisan.

It's an intelligent book and the author is keenly aware of the motivations and nuances in this bitter struggle, which witnessed murder and war atrocities on an increasingly regular basis. Very detailed and balanced.

As in so many other books a lack of maps made it difficult to follow quite detailed troop movements in the narrative. I would also like to have seen the events put into context, by reference to the disasterous fascist involvement in the war and the subsequent capitulation and invasion of the Italy by Germany.
A great history.
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on 24 March 2008
Of course I knew that the 1939-45 Second World War had been fought in Italy but I had never realised the extent and just how much the ordinary Italian population had suffered. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in Italy and particularly the younger generations of present day Italy.
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on 15 July 2014
Most books on the Second World War in Italy focus on everything that happens up to the fall of Rome. In this book, James Holland picks up the story from that point on and tells the tale of a year of bloody conflict. It is brilliantly done, and Holland provides a masterful summary in the postscript.
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on 21 February 2015
Fascinating. James Holland has written a detailed and thorough account of the Italian campaign in WWII from 1943 onwards. He has also succeeded in making it extremely readable by following the stories and accounts of real protagonists from a variety of nations and perspectives.
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on 9 March 2009
This is an excellent book, easy to read, and so informative about the impact of the War on Italy. For an expat living in Italy, I found it gave me so much information and a greater understanding of what the people went through. Highly recommended.
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on 16 October 2014
I enjoyed James Hollands account of the battle for Italy with the perspective of all sides in the battle, including the German side. I had a relative who late in life opened up on his own experience of Monte Cassino, Hollands account rings true to his
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on 11 March 2013
This is not a blood and guts thing, but full of insights into the country and what is was like to be involved in sadly unnecessary campaign. A sensitive man's reactions. You need to know something about the war to place some of what he is saying.
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on 9 January 2017
Well written and very interesting. Italy was supposed to have been a sideshow once the invasion ha been launched, but the truth is that there was just as much hard fighting to be done there as in France and conditions were far more difficult.
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