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Italy, 1944 - this is the setting of one of the most convincing and quietly magnificent stories about man and war that has ever been written. Here, (distilled from the experiences and observations of one who fought with them in the British infantry unit) is the mood of those who fought and died at Anzio. Their task - to seize the Alban Hills and then Rome forty miles away. Instead, for more than four months, they sank into the mud of the Anzio plain and fought for their lives. Nothing has appeared since Erich Maria Remarque's ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT that can compare with this book's ability to penetrate the minds of men at war. There are heroes, heroines, victories. This is a faceless, nameless, fragmented war. Even national differences - Britain, Italian, German, American - merge and are forgotten in this larger story of humanity. This story, in fact, does t need to be Anzio; it could be any battlefield where man has faced death.
From his birth in 1916 until he ran away to London, William Woodruff lived in the heart of Blackburn's weaving community. He eventually went to Oxford University and lived in Florida for over forty years. He died in 2008.