SALERNO by Hugh Pond
Kirkus Star


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There have been many books dealing with Individual World War II battles in the last decade, but few of those battles were as bloody and bitter as was Salerno- and few war books have dealt with their subjects as skillfully as this one. Pond approaches the battle through different eyes, the chronological sequences, the Integration of thousands of reports, eye witness accounts, etc. This is a standardized technique, but the calm objectivity and the very meaningful writing lift the resulting story above the common-place. Salerno was the first major landing in Europe in 1943 just as Italy was leaving the war. Thus Mark Clark was pitied not against Italians, but against Kesselering's tough veterans. Famous German divisions fought to a standstill, and some American divisions, like the 36th Texas, became a legend in that 10 days of combat hell. Again and again towns like Altavilla were taken by the Allies, only to have the Panzer troops drive them out again. More than once it looked as if the invasion would fail. But finally the Allies succeeded in pushing the Germans back and gaining a viable foothold in southern Italy... The author tells his story with precision and accuracy, yet it is more than an important historical record. In his quiet compassion for all the combatants, in his continual sense of human drama too, it achieves real stature.

Publisher: Little, Brown