Today Italy is a land of beauty and prosperity but in 1944-45 it had become a place of nightmares, a land of violence, war, and destruction. James Holland's ground-breaking account expertly documents the German advance and a segment of Italian history that has been largely neglected.
The war in Italy was the most destructive campaign in the west as the Allies and Germans fought a long, bitter and highly attritional conflict up the mountainous leg of Italy during the last twelve months of the Second World War. For front-line troops, casualties rates at Cassino and then along the notorious Gothic Line were as high as they had been along the Western Front in the First World War. There were further similarities too: blasted landscapes, rain and mud. For the men who fought there, Italy really was the hardest campaign.
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