The title, which hints at the poetry that breathes life into this true story of the Allied invasion of the beach at Anzio, Italy, in 1944, comes from a passage within the book told by a man assigned burial duty: Quickly, the mound of earth disappears. A friend has gone. He has drunk his vessel of sadness. His battle is stilled.”
Woodruff’s technique is to show that bloody struggle through the eyes of soldiers, statesmen, and civilians involved. Privileged viewers from afar, we see officers shooting pool before a major conference; we come close, peer into the thoughts of a corporal just before a bullet takes the top off his head; as if we were walking past, we stop for a moment to watch a poker game among enlisted men; we see an ambassador fretting over artifacts and men riding headlong into a German machine-gun nest.
In Woodruff’s war there are no human villains, only madness, an abstract insanity, a waste of such huge proportions as to sober even a giddy man. A war.
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William Woodruff served with the First British Infantry Division during World War II and landed with his unit in the initial wave of the Anzio invasion. After the war he returned to Oxford University and, later, earned his doctorate of philosophy at Nottingham. He is now Graduate Research Professor in Economic History at the University of Florida.
Martin Blumenson was formerly Harold Keith Johnson Professor of Military History at the Army War College. He is the author of two volumes of The Patton Papers.Review:
Here in unvarnished but riveting truth, is the mixture of panic, danger, dirt, unthinking heroism, comradeship, despair and hope that make up the life of the fighting man in action.” George Riley, London Evening News
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060157097
Book Description Harpercollins, 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060157097
Book Description HarperCollins, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Pristine crisp tight clean new unread book. Jacket looks near new with minor shelf wear, but please note that previous owner was a collector who carefully reinforced the dust jacket with what appears to be non-yellowing archival tape along the interior edges to prevent shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 035149
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Book Description Harpercollins. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060157097 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0012106