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Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199974641
ISBN-10: 0199974640
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Peter Caddick-Adams's exceptional Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell is a study in the challenges and possibilities of coalition warfare...Following the style of Richard Holmes and Max Hastings, Monte Cassino includes lucid analyses of high-level operational and strategic matters as well as choice quotes from the poor bloody infantry." --The Wall Street Journal


"Comprehensive and very well researched, Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell is an important addition to our understanding of the ghastly campaign for central Italy in World War II." --Rick Atkinson, author of the Liberation Trilogy


"A superb account of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. There is no shortage of histories of the agonizingly drawn-out debacle at Monte Cassino, but this is certainly one of the best." --Kirkus Reviews (starred)


"Caddick-Adams uses the events of the battle to tell the stories of the armies that bled out around Cassino. His particular strength is his treatment of combat dynamics on both sides of the fighting line, from division headquarters to foxholes. This book is a learning experience for anyone interested in World War II on any level." --Dennis Showalter, former President of the American Society for Military History and author of Tannenberg: Clash of Empires, 1914


"Peter Caddick-Adams has brought highly perceptive and much-needed fresh analysis to this new account of the Cassino battles. Both authoritative and compellingly written, his immense knowledge and understanding of the Second World War exudes from every page. It will unquestionably remain the standard text on this bloody episode of the war for many years to come." --James Holland, author of Dam Busters


"Peter Caddick-Adams has produced a thoughtful treatment of a crucial period of the Italian campaign. It should be read by anyone with an interest in the Second World War." --Military History Monthly


About the Author


Peter Caddick-Adams is a Lecturer in Military and Security Studies at the United Kingdom's Defence Academy and author of Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives. He holds the rank of major in the British Territorial Army and has served with U.S. forces in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (April 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199974640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199974641
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Caddick-Adams has produced an outstanding account that adds much to the historiography of the Monte Cassino battles. One critical fact that distinguishes his coverage from previous authors is that it is abundantly clear that Caddick-Adams has walked the ground itself. Thus, he has an appreciation for the terrain over which the battle was fought.

The book is organized into fifteen chapters, which include: 1 - Roads to Cassino (22 pages); 2 - An Italian Winter (20 pages); 3 - France Fights On (20 pages); 4 - A Very British Way of War (25 pages); 5 - Blood and Guts (30 pages); 6 - How to Destroy a Monastery (27 pages); 7 - The Empire Strikes Back (15 pages); 8 - Man Versus Nature (20 pages); Kiwis at Cassino (16 pages); 10 - Poland the Brave (15 pages); 11 - Winning Cassino - (11 pages); 12 - Trouble in the Liri (16 pages); 13 - Pursuit from Cassino (23 pages); 14 - Roads to Rome (14 pages); and 15 - Roads from Rome (13 pages).

Many of the chapters (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10) focus on one of the national contingents (Italian, French, British, American, Indian, New Zealand and Polish respectively) that battled at Cassino while others (11 - 15) deal primary with tactical and operational level events.

Of particular note is the author's lack of discernable national bias (which not all historians are able to suppress). He seems to understand the weaknesses and strengths of all of the combatants, explaining events with great detail and objectivity. In addition, he is able to accomplish this by using clear prose that reads well. Those unfamiliar with World War 2 and the Cassino battles in particular will enjoy his writing style, which is not encumbered by excessive use of specialized military terminology.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Cassino and Anzio campaigns were a prime example of what military folks call the seven Ps. "Piss Poor Prior Planning on the Part of Permanent Party Personnel". Operations were hurriedly thrown together with inadequate intelligence of the battlefield conditions, inadequate training and preparation of the troops assigned to the mission, and inadequate supply and logistics arrangements. The result was an unnecessary loss of lives and delay in the final outcome of the Italian campaign.

The primary focus of the book was on the issues set forth above, as it should be if lessons are to learned. My only compl,aint with the book was a lack of maps. It often made it hard to visualize why and how events in one sector effected operationsin okther areas and which direction the troops were moving in.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the few books I've ever read whose footnotes, many long and substantial, are much better than the main body of the text. Reading the footnotes, time and again I found myself thinking, the text would be much better if this detail, story, or analysis were in it. Frankly I found the main text hard to follow and uninspired. It's not a well-crafted narrative. The "ten armies" theme seems to mimic Keegan's book about Normandy, but it makes for a disjointed narrative. Nor does the author have the command of background that Keegan has.

This makes me think that this is a book that got out of hand somehow. Either the author couldn't find a comfortable approach, or the editor wacked big chunks out of the text for consignment to the footnotes.
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Format: Hardcover
Well written and informative, this volume provides as much analysis and interpretation on the commanders' personalities, failures and foibles and campaign strategy and tactics as it does on the description of personal experiences of many of those who served in the ranks. Additional context and information, biographical and otherwise, can be found in the footnotes, some of which are quite lengthy. Covered are the four battles or attempts to overcome the German defenses at Cassino by the multi-national Allied coalition, the abbey's controversial destruction in February 1944, the missed opportunities and frustrations experienced in this horrific campaign and General Mark Clark's equally controversial decision to capture Rome after the linkup with the forces at Anzio.
Whether or not this is the definitive study of this campaign, it is recommended to those wanting to read about one of the more conflicted campaigns of World War II.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Students and general readers of the history of the Second World War are familiar with its iconic battles, such as Normandy, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge and Stalingrad, to name a few. Not so well known but certainly on par, as far as ferocity and cost is concerned, is the Battle of Monte Cassino, which took place deep in the Italian mountains, in conditions as bad as any of those on the Eastern Front. For four months, Allied armies containing soldiers from at least twelve different countries attempted to dislodge entrenched German forces around this medieval monastery. Two hundred thousand casualties later, Allied air forces leveled the monastery and the town.
Caddick-Adams gives us a panoramic view of this monumental battle and manages to objectively describe the strengths and weaknesses of all the combatants. Several chapters focus on a specific national contingent and more than adequate footnotes back up the narrative.
This is an excellent addition to the literature of the Italian campaign.
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