REVIEW: A Travel Guide to World War II Sites in Italy

A book by Anne Leslie Saunders

Reviewed by Andy Brack  |  A way to make history come alive is to visit places where it happened.  If you’re into World War II history, an updated and expanded second edition of local author Anne Leslie Saunders’ guide to World War II sites in Italy and Sicily will serve you well.  

The well-written book offers a historical overview and context of political events involving Italy from the beginning of the first Great War until the end of the second.  The opening chapter explains what led Italy to join Hitler’s Axis and how Allied troops spent almost two years working to get foes to release their grip on Italy.

The next 19 chapters offer tours that follow what happened on battlefields from Sicily to Trieste at the end of the war. One of the joys of the book is how it is organized — not just geographically, but by what specific armies were doing during the various campaigns.  If, for example, you want to know what the U.S. Seventh Army did in Sicily, Chapter Two describes the landing on the island’s southern coast and what ensued.  Prefer to know what the Brits did instead?  Turn to Chapter Three.  We particularly enjoyed the section on the battle at Anzio.

Throughout the work, readers will find detailed information and photographs on more than 200 World War II sites from monuments and museums to cemeteries, deportation camps and battlegrounds.  Beyond descriptions, the 174-page guide includes helpful site-specific travel information, such as directions and fees to museums and other attractions.  In future editions, we suggest inclusion of maps and the author’s recommendations for lodging and meals in each chapter.

Saunders, a research associate in the Department of Classics at the College of Charleston,taught Latin for 20 years.  She has focused on World War II Italy since 2006.  

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