Manage episode 265913823 series 2524026
This past Sunday, Matthew Parker, author of Monte Cassino - The Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II, and I talked about his excellent history of one of WWII's least talked about battles. I had told him the whole thing would run about 45 minutes, and he was patient and gracious enough to give me over an hour of his time. Our chat ranged from his early days as a ghostwriter to the most exciting moments of Monte Cassino and beyond. Matthew has a natural, conversational way of delivering facts and history that comes through in his writing just as much as it does in this interview.
The book is fantastic. I'm not just saying it to please the author (although he's a great guy, and I'm not above such things!). I came to Monte Cassino with little knowledge of the battle other than the monastery was destroyed, and it was something of a fiasco on the part of the Allies. The stories Matthew tells - of Italian peasants having little but still giving food and sustenance to weary soldiers on both sides, of Gurkhas from half a world away fighting in the icy Italian mountains, of brave but exhausted German infantrymen writing letters to fathers on the Eastern Front, of men (with women in support roles) fighting on the very precipice of human endurance. From start to finish, this book is jammed with fascinating details, first-person accounts, and the kinds of stories of battle that can only be true. If you are looking for an introduction to the "Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II," look no further.
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