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The author continues to make a significant contribution to recognizing and examining the role of Canada in the Second World War. I have read six of his previous efforts including those focusing on the Italian campaign: Ortona, Liri Valley, and The Gothic Line. Zuehlke's style has improved greatly from his earlier work demonstrating a more narrative and engaging style that is increasingly emulating the works of Beevor, Atkinson, and Ryan (who are my favourites). And he has not sacrificed research, detail, and accuracy in this evolution.

The Italian campaign has received increasing attention in the last decade having been relegated to a "sideshow" given the aggregate efforts in WW2. I most enjoyed the politics and planning involved in Operation Husky along with the fascinating challenges related to supply and logistics. This was a complex operation made all the harder for the Canadian contingent when their commander and other leaders were killed in a plane crash shortly before it was to begin. This introduces us to the prickly Simonds, the criticized Vokes (he took heat at Ortona but received redemption in the European campaign), and the highly-competent Hoffmeister (who later was head of Macmillan Bloedel). The tale of McNaughton is also covered here. The underlying theme is rapidly maturing Canadian forces who would make a contribution to the entire war far beyond the relative size of its young nation.

Sicily set the stage for the rest of the fight up Italy: rugged terrain, stubborn Nazi defenders led by Kesselring, Italian apathy and incompetence (soon followed by capitulation), and a tough climate. The Italian campaign veterans were unfairly labeled "D-Day Dodgers" for not having been present for the glory of invading Normandy and liberating Europe. However, this history and others covering Italy clearly demonstrate that the soldiers on both sides fought a tenacious and costly war with the Canadian losing 562 troops in Sicily alone.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 13, 2014
As always, Zuehlke offers a fascinating look into the first allied battle of WWII. A great book, and it goes well with all the rest of his series of Canadian soldiers in WWII
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on January 8, 2014
Good writing style, plenty of detail and reference backup.
Interesting read with the point of view from those that were there.
Good set of maps and photos.
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on November 20, 2013
Enjoyed reading about Canada's participation in the liberating of Sicily. I was extremely interested as my father served in Sicily with the Canadian Army.
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on September 22, 2015
Superficial read, could have saved my time for better books.
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on July 9, 2015
Great book! From the view of privates and generals.
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on January 17, 2013
This book is exactly what I expected. If you're looking for first hand history documents you need to look elsewhere.
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