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War in Italy

By Richard Lamb

Richard Lamb, one of the few Italian-speaking officers in the Eighth Army, took part in the campaign in Italy, fighting with the Royal Italian Army. Here, he describes Italy from Mussolini’s fall until the final victory, drawing on captured Mussolini documents and on British, Italian and Vatican archives – many of them never used before.

In particular, he spotlights an unbroken sequence of German infamies. He reveals how, to abort Churchill’s plan to open the Dardanelles, German troops massacred in cold blood many thousands of surrendering Italians in the Aegean islands. He details the deportation of Italian Jews to Auschwitz, the wholesale killing of Italian hostages, and the fate of 600,000 Italian prisoners of war sent to labour camps within Germany. Had it not been for Mussolini’s puppet government at Salò, Lamb argues, Italy would have been treated worse even than Poland.

Richard Lamb brings to light some important controversies. Why did the Allies not land unopposed in Italy before the Germans poured over the Brenner Pass? Would an immediate airborne landing on the Rome airfields have succeeded? Should Pope Pius XII have taken a stronger stand on behalf of Jews and the victims of the Ardeatine massacre?

War in Italy is the most complete account yet published of one of the greatest dramas of the Second World War.

Richard Lamb has written several books on modern history. His first, Montgomery in Europe, won a Yorkshire Post first prize, and the others were all named ‘Books of the Year’ in Spectator. Richard Lamb has stood four times for Parliament and is known both for his spots on the BBC Radio PM programme and for his appearances on Any Questions.

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