• Sicily '43

  • The First Assault on Fortress Europe
  • By: James Holland
  • Narrated by: Al Murray
  • Length: 19 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On July 10, 1943, the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted took place, larger even than the Normandy invasion 11 months later: 160,000 American, British, and Canadian troops came ashore or were parachuted onto Sicily, signaling the start of the campaign to defeat Nazi Germany on European soil. Operation HUSKY, as it was known, was enormously complex, involving dramatic battles on land, in the air, and at sea. Yet, despite its paramount importance to ultimate Allied victory, and its drama, very little has been written about the 38-day Battle for Sicily. 

Based on his own battlefield studies in Sicily and on much new research, James Holland’s Sicily ’43 offers a vital new perspective on a major turning point in World War II and a chronicle of a multi-pronged campaign in a uniquely diverse and contained geographical location. The characters involved - Generals George Patton and Bernard Montgomery among many - were as colorful as the air and naval battles and the fighting on the ground across the scorching plains and mountaintop of Sicily were brutal. But among Holland’s great skills is incorporating the experience of on-the-ground participants on all sides - from American privates Tom and Dee Bowles and Tuskegee fighter pilot Charlie Dryden to British major Hedley Verity and Canadian lieutenant Farley Mowat (later a celebrated author), to German and Italian participants such as Wilhelm Schmalz, brigade commander in the Hermann Göring Division, or Luftwaffe fighter pilot major Johannes “Macky” Steinhoff and to Italian combatants, civilians and mafiosi alike - which gives listeners an intimate sense of what occurred in July and August 1943. 

Emphasizing the significance of Allied air superiority, Holland overturns conventional narratives that have criticized the Sicily campaign for the vacillations over the plan, the slowness of the Allied advance and that so many German and Italian soldiers escaped to the mainland; rather, he shows that clearing the island in 38 days against geographical challenges and fierce resistance was an impressive achievement. A powerful and dramatic account by a master military historian, Sicily ’43 fills a major gap in the narrative history of World War II. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 by Griffon Merlin Ltd. Recorded by arrangement with Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2020 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Sicily '43

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Great writing, great narration, interesting topic

Well-researched book about the invasion of Sicily.
Enough context to understand the campaign but not too much to lose focus.
Loved how the author used diaries and personal communications to add depth and human drama to the story.
More sympathetic to Montgomery than other accounts I read, The author also shows a lot of empathy to combatants of both sides, highlighting the challenges they were facing, and that is a useful reminder to all of us armchair strategists.

Loved the performance, the narrator was great.
HOWEVER, as a native Italian speaker, I cringed each time he mispronounced Italian names, which was almost always. By now I got used to this treatment of my Italiano, but disappointing to see in a book which is specifically about a campaign fought in Italy. Can't the producers simply ask a native speaker to consult with the narrator? I'd happily do that for free!
Still, 5 stars because I loved the performance.

Highly recommend to anyone interested in WW2.

Finally, I loved that they included with the purchase of the audiobook also the pdf of the pictures contained in the book. I think all publishers should do this, kudos.

2 people found this helpful

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Great study of an under-appreciated campaign

In-depth study of a key campaign in the ETO, assessing both Allied and Axis performance. Highly recommended reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Best Close Up View of Soldier's Life in WWII

Superb writing, good pace, characters as well-drawn as a novel.

I'm a WW II fan and this is the best I've read ever.

1 person found this helpful

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One of Holland’s best

Outstanding story of the first post-North Africa Allied effort in the Med. Tremendous look at all aspects of the campaign. Impressive narration by Al Murray. I’m a charter member of the Independent Company.

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A must listen

Holland’s habit of ensuring that the operational challenges that face the Allies and Axis alike offers insight that many other such books do not provide. I highly recommend this audiobook.

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Comprehensive, exhaustive detail.

Well researched, detailed, grim at times. Extensive use of personal narratives. The reader was too fast to comprehend. Had to slow it down.

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Great Read

Loved the story with just the right amount of detail. Did not like the reader whose voice trails off as he nears the end of each sentence.

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Sicily

A truly wonderful story and the reader was outstanding!
This is a battle that I really didn’t know much about.
It’s a wonderful story and well written.

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good

good book lots of info on a underrated campaign
some of a British bias like the end follow up on key personal

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Holland is my favorite WWII historian.

Holland provides in depth information with stories and quotes from those who were there, awesome. My only gripe is the sound editor repeatedly let the volume drop to near zero as the reader ran out of breath or finished a sentence. Very frustrating for my old ears, especially when listening in the car over the car speakers.