by Sukey HowardNovember, 2007
The Mediterranean campaigns
Rick Atkinson doesn't just make military history interesting, he makes it live, animated by the voices of the men who led, the men who died and the survivors who would never forget. In The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, the second volume of his Liberation Trilogy, Atkinson describes Operation HUSKY and Operation AVALANCHE, the controversial campaigns that ultimately brought the allied forces to Salerno and Anzio, then to Rome and beyond, in astounding yard by bloody yard detail. You can feel the heat and the cold, the monotony and the bloodshed, the confusion and the true fog of war. His sources are wide-ranging, from diaries, interviews, oral histories, unpublished manuscripts, letters and memoirs to official records and after-actions reports. You come to know the generals Eisenhower, Montgomery, Allen, Clark, Patton and Bradley, among them and the GIs, with their songs, slang and heartbreaking letters, and you understand the price that was paid to liberate Italy from the Nazis. Atkinson is also a compelling narrator, reading this vivid story with affecting poise and compassion.