The Day of Battle

Published By: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Category: Non-Fiction, History

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Reviewed by Connie Anderson

This is the second book in the trilogy about the liberation of Europe. Atkinson also wrote Army at Dawn, which covered North Africa, and was the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner, as well as The Long Grey Line, In the Company of Soldiers, and Crusade.

Atkinson did his homework as this account is well-written—and well researched, but we have come to expect that from him. If you are a WWI collector or have a family connection, you will learn the strength and valor of these men—many very, very young. Some say that to understand today, you must understand yesterday, and this especially relates to how America’s role in this war affected life as we know it.

My husband can’t wait to read this book as he has become a collector of WWII memorabilia and books on that war. His father was in the 1253 Combat Engineer Battalion. Like so many men of that era, his father didn’t talk about it, so he is learning from reading about others.

This is an 816-page book, however the last 200 plus pages are extensive notes and references.

Step by step we go along with the U.S. and British soldiers as they first invade Sicily in July 1943—and then attack Italy two months later. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill were not sure this invasion was the right thing, but once it started, both countries were committed, determined and proficient.

Rome was liberated in June 1944 and the Allies drove the Nazis northward. From the landing on, so many things went wrong on the shore, inland and in the mountains. The Italian campaign was mostly fought in the mountains, not exactly conducive to using large tanks, and was complicated by many poor strategic decisions—and made me wonder we overcame the Germans who were incredible adversaries

There are so many stories from that WWII. A friend, Avis Shore, who wrote Hell’s Half Acre, about her experiences as one of the first Army nurses to land at Anzio, stayed there during German’s horrible nighttime bombing of her hospital (hospital are not supposed to be bombed).

We have to wonder, because this is so very long ago—and seems to have no relevance to today’s students—how much is taught in school. Do they understand the efforts of their relatives and countrymen over 60 years ago?

Armchair Interviews says: Important history brought to life.

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