Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rick Atkinson

Jamie Malanowski, managing editor of Playboy and author of The Coup, interviewed Rick Atkinson, author of the recently-published The Day of Battle.

Here's Malanowski's introduction and the first exchange from the interview:

Rick Atkinson is one of my favorite writers. Twice a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with The Washington Post, Atkinson is also the author of several books on military subjects, including The Long Gray Line, a narrative account of the West Point class of 1966; Crusade, a history of the Persian Gulf War; and In the Company of Soldiers, an account of the Iraq war, written from his perspective as an embedded reporter. An Army at Dawn, the first volume of a three volume history of the American army in the European theater in World War II, won him a third Pulitzer in 2002. Day of Battle, the second volume, has just been published to great reviews, which enthusiastically praise his masterful use of language and the adroit way he moves his focus between a grand overview and telling close-up. We’re delighted that Rick took time to answer some of our questions.

Today it often seems that what many younger Americans remember about the war is limited to Pearl Harbor, Omaha Beach and Hiroshima. Your book is book is about America’s second act in the war in Europe, if you will, the war in Italy. As with a lot of second acts, what happened there tends to get overshadowed. What should Americans know about our war in Italy?

First they should know, and hopefully never forget, that 23,501 Americans were killed in action in Italy between Sept. 1943 and May 1945, and that total Allied casualties exceeded 312,000. The Italian campaign was both a milestone on the road to victory in World War II and a stepping stone toward a free, stable Europe. It was a campaign of liberation that worked as planned by unshackling Italy from both the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and his alliance with Nazi Germany.

Read the full interview.

--Marshal Zeringue