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Almost more than other campaign of the present war, that of the Mediterranean Theatre- the ""soft underbelly of the Axis"" as Churchill so wrongly called it- was compounded of elements reminiscent of the heyday of the Foreign Legion,- intrigue, suspense, a secret mission to a secret seaside villa in Algeria, another to Rome, the spiriting of General Giraud out of Vichy, France, the strange but necessary alliance with Darlan, and then the bloody, muddy and most unexpectedly long and difficult Italian campaign where the roster of troops sounded like the roll-call of the allied nations. These are elements to make any book interesting, and, if past history, still exciting, and General Clark has capitalized fully on them. There are sketches of Churchill, of Eisenhower in his difficult coordinating position, of the war's lesser known heroes, the officers and enlisted men of the battle command Clark wanted and finally received. And there is the series of almost fatal blunders which followed the taking of Rome when the Western Allies seemed almost determined to play into the hands of the Russians. Tito might have left the Kremlin's orbit sooner, and the present list of satellite nations might have been smaller. And when Clark was made American high commissioner of Austria he experienced more of the same lack of foresight and he concludes with a political sophistication not common to the military- ""We celebrated a victory when in reality we had not won the War"". Honest, forceful, colorful, this is one of the best books to come from World War II's top brass, but it is to be remembered that the majority of them have met with general reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1950
ISBN: 1929631596
Publisher: Harper