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Italy's Sorrow, A Year of War 1944-1945 by James Holland

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length: 606 pages including index.

    I've seen this man in various history shows, and looks like he knows his work. He certainly shows in this work.

    He starts us off with a partisan attack in May of '44 in Rome which led to the Ardeantine Caves atrocity, and other things on that same day throughout Italy. He goes on to give us, from both sides, and from military, civilian and partisans alike, a comprehensive view of strategy and the grunt work of the Italian Campaign.

    It's packed with eyewitness accounts, from Americans, Britons, German and Italians, and Commonwealth soldiers and airmen, plus maps and pictures of the big pushes that characterized this campaign. We also read about the various anti-partisan actions and the German and Fascist atrocities that went with them, in addition to bad behavior from Allied forces too, such as rapes by Moroccan troops, and the prostitution that happened in the liberated areas.

    There is also the coverage he gives to the Allied top brass, and their personality conflicts, as well as analyzing their various moves, such as Mark Clark going for Rome instead of slashing east into heavy German forces. Holland does a terrific job of trying to be even-handed in his treatment of those moves, and gives us every angle to explain things. He also gives us the political picture, with the Italian government in the south, and the Mussolini regime.

    Now for some nitpicks. There was one German Army panzer division in Italy, and several panzer grenadier divisions, and sometimes Holland drops "grenadier" from their titles. There is also the one SS division, the 16th, which he calls "16th Waffen-SS". I've never encountered that kind of designation elsewhere.

    Plus, for my fellow Yanks, a couple things needed translation from the Englishman. "Chinese whisper"="Telephone game" and "Heath Robinson"="Rube Goldberg"

    Aside from that, this exhaustive work is worth the time it takes to read it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    bronk7 likes this.
  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member

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    Thanks for the review. I downloaded this for my Kindle; it's queued up behind a few others. I'm looking forward to it.

    I thought 'Waffen' designated the combat units of the SS--as opposed to the security or 'racial cleansing' units. I could be wrong there.
     
  3. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    I just recall SS divisions only being called SS, like "Waffen" was understood.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...... I enjoyed Italy's Sorrow....nowadays, I do enjoy the partisan and civilian aspects more than the military aspects .
     
  5. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Thank you for turning me onto it. It's been a big help.
     

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