Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Cassino ’44

The Brutal Battle for Rome

by James Holland

Acclaimed World War II historian James Holland vividly relates the dramatic last months of the Italian Campaign in a masterful volume that brings new awareness to this vital hinge point of the war

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 672
  • Publication Date November 12, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6384-4
  • Dimensions 6.00" x 9.25"
  • US List Price $35.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date November 12, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6214-4
  • US List Price $35.00

As the new year of 1944 began in Italy, the Allied army’s momentum had ground to a halt just south of the vaunted German Gustav Line of defense, far short of their initial objective of liberating Rome by Christmas. The fighting up the Italian peninsula had been brutal—rugged terrain, fierce resistance, terrible weather. While Allied leaders in London prepared for the cross-Channel invasion of France later that spring, the war in the West hinged in Italy. As bestselling historian James Holland relates in his seminal concluding volume on the Italy Campaign, the next five months saw two of World War II’s most famous battles—the four ferocious assaults on Monte Cassino and the fraught landing northwest in the marshes at Anzio—culminating at last in the liberation of Rome on June 4, merely two days before D-Day.

Based on twenty years of research, Cassino ’44 offers perspectives and conclusions that differ from the standard narrative. Holland elevates the narrative of war, chronicling the dramatic events primarily through in-the-moment letters and diaries of those who were there. Counterpointing the memories of German soldiers like battalion commander Jurg Kellner with those of British captain John Strick and American corporal Audie Murphy, whose exploits in the field would lead to Hollywood fame, and of Italian citizens and politicians caught up in the maelstrom, Holland vividly recreates their day-to-day encounter with destiny over each bloodily contested mile.

General Mark Clark, overall Allied commander in Italy, has been criticized for being overly cautious and needlessly extending the campaign. Holland argues that, given the conditions and constant shortage of materiel held back for the D-Day invasion, Clark and other commanders led a remarkably successful campaign. Well more than 100,000 Allied casualties occurred in the five months leading to Rome, more than in any other campaign of the war. Cassino ’44 is the definitive account of a key turning point of World War II and brings our appreciation of the experience of war to a new level.

Praise for James Holland:

“Detail and scope are the twin strengths of Normandy ’44 . . . Mr. Holland effectively balances human drama with the science of war as the Allies knew it.”—Jonathan W. Jordan, Wall Street Journal

“Academic histories are all very well, but at times it is a pleasure to sit back and wallow in an old-school military tale of flinty-eyed men doing battle. That is what James Holland, a seasoned craftsman, offers in Sicily ’43.”—Thomas E. Ricks, New York Times Book Review

“This hefty, scrupulously balanced history of the Allied invasion of northern France goes beyond some of the well-known events of D-Day, thanks to Holland’s meticulous research and clear-eyed view of the big picture . . . An excellent and engrossing new look at the Normandy invasion.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Normandy ’44

“Holland’s great skill lies in bringing these warriors back to life with vivid prose. He’s an enormously prolific historian of the war, but each book he produces is constructed with great care and emotional commitment . . . Holland is obsessed with war, but fortunately does not seem to love it. He recognizes its beauty, but also its vileness.”—Gerard DeGroot, Times (UK) on Sicily ’43

“Highly detailed . . . The interplay of personal stories with the broader strategic picture makes this book especially illuminating . . . A fascinating must-read for World War II aficionados.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review), on Big Week

“James Holland’s The War in the West is set fair to become one of the truly great multivolume histories of the Second World War.”—Andrew Roberts, New York Times-bestselling author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War and Napoleon: A Life

“A fascinating story of how the fortunes of war changed in obvious—and particularly not so obvious—ways.”—Col. Eric M. Walters, Military Review on The Allies Strike Back

“Holland puts the case for Allied technological and military skills as a vital factor in turning the war’s tide . . . Ranks as a towering work of historical research and writing.”—BBC History Magazine on The Allies Strike Back

“This is narrative history as intimate, intricate tapestry . . . Mr. Holland’s success is built in part on an engaging writing style and in part on a genuinely fresh approach to events that have been so often—and apparently definitively—recounted . . . Exceptional . . . Epic.”—Wall Street Journal on The Rise of Germany

“Impeccably researched and superbly written . . . Holland’s fascinating saga offers a mixture of captivating new research and well-considered revisionism.”—Guardian on The Rise of Germany