The Gothic Line: Canada’s Month of Hell in World War II Italy

In this third volume of his critically acclaimed trilogy tracing Canada’s involvement in World War II’s Italian campaign, Mark Zuehlke vividly recounts the Battle of the Gothic Line. The line was meant to be impregnable, a final fortified position that would enable the battered German divisions to bring the Allied advance up Italy’s boot to a decisive halt. On August 25, 1944, it fell to the soldiers of I Canadian Corps to spearhead the British Eighth Army’s attempt to rip a hole in the line.

For the next twenty-eight days, the men of 1st Canadian Infantry Division and 5th Canadian Armoured Division slugged their way through a rugged killing ground in the most costly battle of the campaign. The Gothic Line portrays the horror, the fear, the courage, and ultimately the glory that Canadians won on this remote battlefield.

Published by Douglas & McIntyre, 2003: 550 pages.

Awards:
Shortlisted for the 2003 B.C. Book Prizes Hubert Evans Award for Non-Fiction.

Editor’s Choice Award Winner for 2003 by Stone and Stone World War II Books.

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Reviews:

Canadian Military Review

Zuehlke has written a riveting story about Canadians in battle, organizing veterans’ recollections of the campaign to tell us what it was like to fight a determined enemy across the valleys and mountains of Italy…. In just four years, Mark Zuehlke has produced three first-rate volumes of lively and accessible prose treating the Canadian Army in the Italian campaign. This is an impressive contribution to Canadian military historiography, where the gaze continues to be fixed on the European Theatre in the Second World War. Indeed, Mark Zuehlke has been a D-Day Dodger and we are better informed for it.

Esprit de Corps

The Gothic Line is a masterpiece.