The Savage Storm

The Savage Storm

The Brutal Battle for Italy 1943


'Richly impressive, hard to surpass' William Boyd
'A notable account of an epic human experience' Max Hastings
‘James Holland brings every inch of this battle vividly to life’ History Revealed
‘This excellent book…The Savage Storm reinforces Holland’s reputation as certainly the busiest and probably the most popular military historian of the second world war working today’ Spectator
‘A must for anyone wanting to better understand the brutal campaign… thoroughly deserves a place on the bookshelf’ Soldier Magazine

From the bestselling author of Brothers in Arms comes the story of the most pivotal Allies campaign of World War II.

With the invasion of France the following year taking shape, and hot on the heels of victory in Sicily, the Allies crossed into Southern Italy in September 1943. They expected to drive the Axis forces north and be in Rome by Christmas. And although Italy surrendered, the German forces resisted fiercely and the swift hoped-for victory descended into one of the most brutal battles of the war.

Even though shipping and materiel were already being safeguarded for the D-Day landings, there were still huge expectations on the progress of the invading armies, but those shortages were to slow the advance with tragic consequences. As the weather closed in, the critical weeks leading up to Monte Cassino would inflict a heavy price for every bloody, hard fought mile the Allied troops covered.

Chronicling those dark, dramatic months in unflinching and insightful detail, The Savage Storm is unlike any campaign history yet written. James Holland has always recounted the Second World War at ground level, but this version telling brings the story vividly to life like never before. Weaving together a wealth of letters, diaries, and other incredible documents, Holland traces the battles as they were fought - across plains, over mountains, through shattered villages and cities, in intense heat and, towards the end, frigid cold and relentless rain - putting readers at the heart of the action to create an entirely fresh and revealing telling of this most pivotal phase of the war.

Praise for James Holland

'Impeccably researched and superbly written' Observer
'Holland has something new to say.... Filled with insight and detail' Neil Oliver
'James Holland is the best of the new generation of WW2 historians' Sebastian Faulks
'[A] captivating and dramatic account. . . Drawn from letters and diaries, Holland’s immersive narrative is told through the eye-level perspectives... Readers will be enthralled' Publishers Weekly
‘A remarkable achievement by a historian at the height of his powers. Holland has successfully illustrated both the significance and the savagery of the Italian campaign... through a powerful and compelling narrative’ Military History Matters


  • Richly impressive, hard to surpass
    William Boyd

About the author

James Holland

James Holland is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of a number of best-selling histories he has presented - and written - a large number of television programmes and series. He has a weekly Second World War podcast, We Have of Making You Talk, with Al Murray, and is Chair of the Chalke Valley History Festival. He is a research fellow at St Andrew's University.
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