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The six-month battle for Monte Cassino was Britain's bitterest and bloodiest encounter with the German army on any front in World War Two.
At the beginning of 1944 Italy was the western Allies' only active front against Nazi-controlled Europe, and their only route to the capital was through the Liri valley. Towering over the entrance to the valley was the medieval monastery of Monte Cassino, a seemingly impenetrable fortress high up in the 'bleak and sinister' mountains. This was where the German commander, Kesselring, made his stand.
MONTE CASSINO tells the extraordinary story of ordinary soldiers tested to the limits under conditions reminiscent of the bloodbaths of World War One. In a battle that became increasingly political, symbolic and personal as it progressed, more and more men were asked to throw themselves at the virtually impregnable German defences. It is a story of incompetence, hubris and politics redeemed at dreadful cost by the heroism of the soldiers.
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Monte Cassino is a fitting tribute: an important and beautifully written book, told with real understanding and pathos for those who withstood the Western Allies' bloodiest encounter with the German army (James Holland, Daily Telegraph)
Parker has produced a deeply moving, richly detailed and fast-paced account of the most infamous British battle of the Second World War (Saul David, Sunday Telegraph)
Published in time for the sixtieth anniversary of the battle, Monte Cassino deserves to be widely read (Gary Sheffield, Living History)
Some excellent passages (Norman Stone, Sunday Times)
Moving and well-researched (Economist)
A pacy and informative addition to the military history of a much-neglected campaign (Glasgow Herald)
Monte Cassino will be available on audio in August 2004
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