Books by Carlo D’este

Released: Nov. 1, 2008

"Accomplished and comprehensive but overly long. John Keegan covered most of the bases in his 200-page Winston Churchill (2002), which nonspecialist readers will prefer."
A sprawling study of the lord of Overlord—and Gallipoli and many other imperial campaigns. Read full book review >
EISENHOWER by Carlo D’este
Released: June 4, 2002

"An absorbing portrait of the growth of Eisenhower the man and a fine analysis of the accomplishments of Eisenhower the general."
Exhaustive, highly readable study of Ike the soldier, from his modest Kansas origins through V-E Day. Read full book review >
PATTON by Carlo D’este
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

Legendary for his tactical speed in war, General George S. Patton (18851945) was also notable for drama and style. Unfortunately, this plodding biography is not. The historic image of Patton has been indelibly molded by George C. Scott's 1970 film performance: histrionic, brilliant, bellicose, foul-mouthed—and more than a little insane. Retired US Army lieutenant colonel and military historian D'Este (Fatal Decision: Anzio and the Battle for Rome, 1991, etc.) does not rebut this impression but balances it. The grandson of a Confederate war hero, Patton had an idyllic childhood in turn-of-the-century Southern California (where his Virginia aristocrat family fled after the collapse of the Confederacy), marred only by dyslexia, which held him back in school and very nearly prevented him from getting his coveted appointment to West Point. D'Este emphasizes Patton's romantic attachment to his wife, his love of the army and war, his keen intellect, and the profound religiosity that shaped his view of his military destiny. All of Patton's military training was preparation for his service in WW II. The author shows how in Tunisia, Sicily (where his notorious slapping of two GIs nearly ended his career), and France, Patton became the Allied general most feared by the Germans because of his mobility and aggressiveness, and by his peers and soldiers because of his acid tongue and often erratic behavior. In the end, the man who dreamed of dying gloriously in battle perished, as the war was waning, in a mundane jeep accident. D'Este does not dispel any of the fascinating, repellent features of the Patton story, but his account, ponderous in size and impaired by frequent repetition and uninspired writing (``the silver spoon of Wilson wealth and good living was something that blessed Patton his entire life''), sometimes flags, occasionally bores. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen; 9 maps) Read full book review >
Released: June 5, 1991

A meticulous audit of Operation Shingle, the WW II campaign designed to win Rome for Allied forces at an acceptable cost. D'Este (Bitter Victory, Decision in Normandy) provides a panoramic overview of the planning, preparation, and execution of the 1944 assault on Anzio, a Mediterranean port about 30 miles south of Rome. The aim of the amphibious thrust was to bypass strong German defenses along the so-called Gustav line and at Monte Cassino, which had stalled American and well as British armies in their drive to liberate Rome. In D'Este's persuasive view, the strike failed in its objectives for lack of decisive leadership. For example, instead of issuing firm orders, General Sir Harold Alexander made gentlemanly instructions which Mark Clark (commander of the US Fifth Army) often ignored. Nor did Clark prod subordinates to seize highways and rail lines that supplied Wehrmacht forces under the able command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. At any rate, the Anzio beachhead became a death trap in which Allied troops fought for their lives in rain and mud for over five dreadful months. When opposition finally crumbled under air and sea pounding, Clark neglected to pursue, let alone destroy, retreating German soldiers, so great was his ambition to be the first man into Rome. In a crowning irony, the recapture of Italy's capital was almost wholly overshadowed by the D-day landings in France. In D'Este's book, blame for the botched Anzio expedition is widely shared. Among others meriting censure, he singles out a meddlesome Winston Churchill, who sowed confusion in the Allied ranks and raised unrealistic expectations. A vivid account of a campaign that attests to the high cost of miscalculation and overconfidence in matters military. (Sixteen pages of maps—not seen.) Read full book review >