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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2014
Exemplary writing by Rick Atkinson as always. He manages to cover everything from the high level political aspects down to the misery of the common soldier equally. Along the way, he reveals the incompetence, narrow-mindedness and sheer paranoia of many commanders - particularly Mark Clark, who insisted that every press release referring to Fith Army referred to it as 'Mark Clark's Fith Army and reputedly ordered soldiers holding the southern outposts of Rome to shoot any Eight Army (British) personnel who attempted to move into Rome central before he could stage his own triumphant entrance. This book also does a lot to establish the importance of the Italian campaign in the eventual Allied victory.
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on 29 September 2016
I have read all of the trilogy and can say that I enjoyed them immensely. It is true that Atkinson writes from an American point of view but this is only to be expected. What I would say is that he does the British no favours but is also critical of the American Generals. What I would definitely highlight is the difference between British and American generalship, something that will occur in ETO later in the war. The American Generals waste men and material at an alarming rate. The frightening lack of tactical sense that showed in the American Civil War, the First World War and which then resurfaces in WW2 indicates a ruthlessness often missed in accounts. American Generals are frequently sacked for lack of progress and therefore send their men to be killed time and time again.in attacks that do no more than wear down the Axis ammunition supplies. Atkinson highlights this while sympathising with the average GI. His character portraits of the main characters (Montgomery, Leese, Truscott, Lucas etc.) are good, this is often absent from other accounts. Well worth the money - recommended.
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on 2 December 2010
I was impressed by the detail and research content of the first part of Rick Atkinson's Trilogy 'An Army at Dawn'. It seemed to make sense of the situation described to me by two relatives who served in that part of North Africa.

However, I am disappointed in his follow up book. It seems more partisan and omits some details which I feel would have been included before. My father was always distrustful of the American Army and Airforce due to his first hand experience of them. Rick's first book helped to explain why this might be so. This, his second book doesn't.

For example, use the index for 'British Army Royal Artillery' and you find some quotes from Spike Milligan's books. What you do not find is anything meaningful, such as any reference to the bombing of the Royal Artillery's 74th Medium Regiment by the American Air Force at Cassino. This resulted in 35 dead and injured, with a gun and equipment destroyed. As the USAAF had previously bombed the same unit in North Africa resulting in the CO being invalided back to the UK this incident should have been included as an example of why distrust between the two forces might fester.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 November 2011
"The Day of Battle" is author Rick Atkinson's second book in his Liberation series. It is a worthy successor to the initial volume, "An Army At Dawn" (see my Amazon review). Following up on the war in North Africa, this tome follows the tide of battle as it sweeps across Sicily and slugs its way up the boot of Italy. On these pages we watch an American mature from the uncertain band of fighters to hardened warriors capable of matching anything the Italians and Germans put throw against them. The British Army that chased Rommel out of Africa continues to advance into Europe.

Atkinson analyses the topics of that theatre of the war, including the decision to pursue further offensive actions in the Mediterranean, the landings at Anzio, the agony over Monte Casino, and ever present Allied friction and cooperation. Both sides of the Monte Casino controversy, whether the Germans were or were not using the Abbey and how the situation appeared to the soldiers at the scene are presented. The Italian political infighting between King Victor Emmanuel and Prime Minister Mussolini, between those who favored the Germans and those seeking to throw in with the Americans and British is artfully described.

The story draws you in and the writing holds. "The Day of Battle" is a must for any World War II buff.
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on 23 April 2015
This book should be re -titled ' The Americans in Italy '.It is a pity that the author who has such an eye for detail chooses to devote so much of the narrative to the American side of the story.As if that wasn't bad enough,most references to the British ( who suffered equally horrendous casualties )
are of a derogatory nature.There is a nasty undercurrent running beneath the surface of this book,where it appears the author is just itching to have a dig at the British.
This is totally unacceptable in an historical narrative that many people will regard as fact.( I am sure Hollywood could make something of this !)
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on 15 April 2011
I expected bias but not to this degree. This book is part of the new 'ambrose' like breed of sensationalist and revisionist american military writing. Amongst many shortcomings, its focus on and lauding of Mark Clark and Fifth Army is pretty laughable for a book which considers itself a serious historical account. Im unhappy with a book that would have you believe that commonwealth troops did not fight and did not fight effectively. A shame as the writing at times is powerful and emotive.

Little important detail, little sense of operational scope, a book about the US soldier and little else. Avoid.
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on 8 February 2011
..but not to this degree. Unfortunately, this book is part of the new 'ambrose' like breed of sensationalist and revisionist american military writing. The focus on and lauding of Mark Clark and Fifth Army is pretty transparent and laughable for a book which considers itself a serious historical account. A shame as the writing at times is powerful and emotive. I also feel duty bound to be unhappy with a book that would have you believe that commonwealth troops did not fight and did not fight effectively. Little important detail, little sense of operational scope and patently not a book about anything except the US soldier and their further development as a fighting arm. Avoid.
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on 7 January 2016
Luckily I didn't buy this boook, just borrowed it, don't waste your money. Some of the shortcomings of the British upper command are very valid, and have been well documented by many others, but this a complete -go USA -good, Brits -bad trashing.
If you like your history re written my Americans to fit their view of themselves now, rather than as a leaning ally in 1943, and that the British Tommy wasn't up to the standard of the good old yanks, read on. A bit like the film Pearl Harbour and other Hollywood classics.
If you want the truth, I'd read another book.
I won't be reading the other books in the trilogy.
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on 30 July 2013
A well written account from a mainly American point of view. Of general interest to British and Canadian readers also.
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on 19 September 2010
Having suffered 'An Army at Dawn' a number of years ago I resolved not to waste any more of my time with the childish fantastical claptrap that Atkinson comes out with but I was given 'The Day of Battle' and have been struck again, I just cannot bring myself to finish it.

The author seems to believe that WWII was an American adventure fought by excited young men eager to die to free Europe and if you think this you will enjoy it. If however, you believe war is a horrific event fought by young boys scared witless on both sides who would prefer that their efforts weren't remembered as some journo psuedo historian's wet dream avoid this like the plague.

Anyone who can write a history of the Italian campaign and come across as sympathetic to Mark Clark deserves whatever disdain we can muster, Atkinson is a joke historian writing popularist pap for the ignorant.

Poorly written, badly researched rubbish. Avoid.
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