Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell

Peter Caddick-Adams, Author
Peter Caddick-Adams. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-84809-358-4
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4090-5195-4
Hardcover - 396 pages - 978-0-19-997464-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-45678-5
Hardcover - 413 pages - 978-0-19-997465-8
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-09-956867-4
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Though Caddick-Adams knows his way around an archive (as well as a battlefield—he’s a major in the British Territorial Army and has served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan), he is above all a storyteller, and his take on the armies that bled out around the monastery and town of Monte Cassino, Italy, during WWII proves he’s a good one. While he offers no startling revelations about policy or strategy, his strength lies in his examination of the “extraordinary rainbow alliance of nations and races fighting on the Italian front,” as well as combat dynamics from division headquarters to foxholes. Caddick-Adams (Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives) illuminates the dissimilarities between the Commonwealth forces, the American army (with its focus on “brawn and muscle” over technology), the Italians fighting to liberate their country, the bold and aggressive French troops, and the Polish army-in-exile, who would eventually claim “the ultimate prize at Cassino”: capturing the abbey. The author is no less successful in establishing the nuances of the German forces and their development from an offensive powerhouse to a formidable defensive machine. WWII historians will appreciate this investigation of a little-known, but critical, engagement. 41 halftones & 6 maps. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville and Walsh Literary Agency (U.K.). (Apr.)
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