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James Holland – Cassino ’44

Cassino ’44
James Holland

October 17 @ 12:00 13:00

It should have an easy victory. After triumph in Tunisia, the sweeping success of the Sicilian invasion, and with Italy finally knocked out of the war, the Allies were confident that they would be in Rome before Christmas 1943.

And yet it didn’t happen. Hitler ordered his forces to dig in, thus setting the stage for one of the grimmest and most attritional phases of the Second World War. Even though they were short of supplies and support, even in retreat, the German troops made the Allies fight for every bitter yard. By early 1944, they had created a formidable defensive position across the Italian peninsular: the Gustav Line, a barrier of bunkers, minefields, booby traps, dug-outs and strategic artillery positions. This, and the combination of dogged defence and utterly debilitating conditions, ground the Allied advance to a standstill some sixty miles south of Rome, at the foot of the hill on which stood the thousand-year-old abbey of Monte Cassino.

The battle for that rock was one of the most brutal of the entire war, would last more than four long winter months and cost the lives of over 75,000 soldiers and civilians. The abbey and the landscape around it were decimated, leaving the large local population homeless and their centuries-old community annihilated. Following a rich cast of characters and with access to new information from all sides of the battle, both military and civilian, James Holland has written the definitive account of one of the most pivotal battles of the war and created a thrilling reconstruction of what it was really like to be at the centre of the maelstrom of war.

James Holland is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of a number of best-selling histories including most recently Brothers In Arms and Normandy ’44, he is also the author of nine works of fiction and a dozen Ladybird Experts. He is the co-founder of the annual Chalke Valley History Festival which is now in its twelfth year, and he has presented – and written – many television programmes and series for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and the History and Discovery channels. With Al Murray, he has a successful Second World War podcast, We Have Ways of Making You Talk, which also has its own festival, and is a research fellow at St Andrew’s University and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

2 Bridport Road
Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RR United Kingdom
01305 262045
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