Sunday, 30 August 2009

Monte Cassino by Matthew Parker

This book presented the story of a battle I had only ever heard of in passing. It's a tragic story of blood and death.

The Germans in Italy had build a massive line of fortifications and defensive positions across Italy to keep the allies in the south. Up against this line of stone and lead the allied forces butted their heads.

The fortress complex of Monte Cassino was extremely strong and caused misery and death on a D-Day scale for weeks and weeks. Yet despite this cost in the lives of young men who has heard of the battles of Monte Cassino?

This excellent book, is very readable, flows in an excellent style and combines historic narrative with survivors anecdotes to produce an engaging, perhaps even enthralling, story that is hard to put down.

I learnt a lot while reading this book. I literally had no idea about the battles covered here. I was astounded to read just how lethal and persistant the conflict in Italy was. Companies reduced to 10% strength and still being left in the line because no one can reach them to relieve them. Men without food or water stuck on exposed rock surrounded on three sides under fire day and night and yet staying in position not giving an inch. I was astounded by the tail contained herein, astounded that such heroic horror had escaped my knowledge until now.

In summary this was a terrific read.