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  • Sicily '43

  • The First Assault on Fortress Europe
  • By: James Holland
  • Narrated by: Al Murray
  • Length: 19 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

From the best-selling author of Normandy ‘44 comes a major new history of one of World War II’s most crucial campaigns.

Code-named Operation HUSKY, the Allied assault on Sicily on 10 July 1943 remains the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted in world history, landing more men in a single day than at any other time. That day, more than 160,000 British, American and Canadian troops were dropped from the sky or came ashore, more than on D-Day just under a year later. It was also preceded by an air campaign that marked a new direction and dominance of the skies by Allies.

The subsequent 38-day Battle for Sicily was one of the most dramatic of the entire Second World War, involving daring raids by special forces, deals with the Mafia, attacks across mosquito-infested plains and perilous assaults up almost sheer faces of rock and scree.

It was a brutal campaign - the violence was extreme, the heat unbearable, the stench of rotting corpses intense and all-pervasive, the problems of malaria, dysentery and other diseases a constant plague. And all while trying to fight a way across an island of limited infrastructure and unforgiving landscape and against a German foe who would not give up.

It also signalled the beginning of the end of the War in the West. From here on, Italy ceased to participate in the war, the noose began to close around the neck of Nazi Germany and the coalition between the United States and Britain came of age. Most crucially, it would be a critical learning exercise before Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of Normandy, in June 1944.

Based on his own battlefield studies in Sicily and on much new research over the past 30 years, James Holland’s Sicily ’43 offers a vital new perspective on a major turning point in World War II. It is a timely, powerful and dramatic account by a master military historian and will fill a major gap in the narrative history of the Second World War.

©2020 James Holland (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Sicily '43

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Not suitable as an Audio book

I am an avid listener through Audible but some books are not suitable for just listened; this is one. You need to have a detailed map with you to understand the campaign.

Another negative is the narrator Al Murray. While he is fluent his flat undistinguishable English accent is boring and monotonous. Reading a book needs someone with some artistic flair, and different accents. The book is probably very good but for the reasons mentioned I wouldn't recommend the audio version.

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  • Róbert Hafþórsson
  • 26-03-2021

Narration ruined this book for me.

It sad that a story that is a good as this one is narrated so badly.
For me its the flow of the narration that bugged me, sometimes fast and monotone sometimes is slow and uninterested.
But the narration feels like he just wanted to finish as fast as he can, no emotion or interest.

So I did not connect at all with the book or characters, it was really strange.
Would I recommend the book, Yes very interesting topic. Will I ever listen to a Audio book with Al Murray...no.


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  • Richard
  • 05-09-2020

Yawn

So much potential and what a story. Sadly the monotone voice of the narration takes it all away. James has yet again given us a well researched and well presented slice of history which has been let down by going to a mate rather than a reader of gravitas to bring the book to life. James Keeble would have been a great choice.
I like Mr Murray and know that he has a keen interest in and great knowledge of war history, but he does nothing for this production.

10 people found this helpful

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  • tom morton
  • 24-11-2020

Put up with Al Murray he does come good

As ever James Holland at his best, the earlier part of the book for the background and operational level I found the narrator not up to relaying the emphasis needed, Al is at his best at telling the soldiers' stories which will live with me for a long time

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  • Man-O-War1977
  • 10-09-2020

Fascinating

Really well researched and written, one of Holland's best books - I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Second World War

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  • David
  • 09-09-2020

BigBadBurt

A fantastic audio book & read brilliantly by Al Murray.
One of the many things I really like about James Holland books is the attention to detail & the unbiased views he puts into every book he writes about WW2

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-2021

And endless list of place names and units

I couldn't finish this. It was just an endless list of place names and units and without a map, it was pretty boring. It might have been boring with a map even, because although the narrator did quite well, he has a thin, reedy voice and he tended to be fairly monotone. There was no excitement.

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  • DN Cumbria
  • 22-01-2021

Brilliant

I really enjoyed this book and Al Murray’s narration. So many interesting stories and facts. A much underrated battle.

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  • David
  • 20-07-2021

I listen to a lot of History books

And so I am always hoping to find new authors. With this I was very enthusiastic but something is very wrong. The reader is just dull, flat and uninteresting. So you can listen to chapter after chapter without anything sinking in. Some may like him...but not for me

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  • Book reader
  • 20-07-2021

An Excellent Account of Sicily 1943

At last, am excellent account of the Sicilian campaign.
Well read by Al Murray, very informative.
Some well put arguments about the campaign.
My father fought there and I knew nothing about his times in the army.
Wow! I now know why he never talked about it.
I can recommend this book.

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  • Mark Gibb
  • 28-04-2021

Another cracker from Mr Holland.

Following a cast of "characters" through the overall story of the wider picture is perfect.

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  • Iain D. Metcalfe
  • 07-04-2021

A riveting read. Easily recommended.

A thoroughly enjoyable book; carefully researched, well written and skilfully read. As well as the overarching military adventure that is Sicily 1943, the personal details relating to individuals, be they high or ever so lowly, brings the story to life. And well read by Al Murray. An immensely enjoyable listen.

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