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History Canada

Liri Valley

Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome

by (author) Mark Zuehlke

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Canada, Italy, World War II
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2003
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

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This print-on-demand title is available by request from most booksellers.


BOOK TWO in the Canadian Battle Series


For the Allied Armies fighting their way up the Italian boot in early 1944. Rome was the prize that could only be won through one of the greatest offensives of the war. Mark Zuehlke, following his book, Ortona, returns to the Mediterranean theatre of World War II with this gripping story of courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.


The Liri Valley was a long, flat corridor through miles of rugged mountains. At one end stood the formidable Monte Cassino, at the other, Rome. In May 1944, I Canadian Corps drops up this valley toward the Italian captial, facing the infamous Hitler Line -- a bastion of concrete bunkers fronted by wide swaths of tangled barbed wire, minefields, and "Tobruk" weapon pits. The ensuing battle resulted in Canada's single bloodiest day of the Italian campaign. But the sacrifice of young Canadians during the twenty-four days of relentless combat it took to clear the valley paved the way for the Allies to take Rome.


The Liri Valley is testament to the bravery of such Canadians as Victoria Cross-winning Jack Mahony, Panzer killer Private J.A. Thrasher, and the badly wounded Captain Pierre Potvin who survived more than thirty hours alone in the hell of no man's land. This book, like the battle it records, will live long in reader's memories.

About the author

Hailed by Jack Granatstein as Canadas leading popular military historian and short-listed for both the 2007 and 2013 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history, Mark Zuehlke is the author of 26 books, including 14 devoted to military history. Tragedy at Dieppe is the latest in his bestselling Canadian Battle Series, which includes Ortona, The Liri Valley, The Gothic Line, Juno Beach Operation Husky, Holding Juno, Breakout from Juno, Terrible Victory, and On to Victory. He is also the co-author of The Canadian Military Atlas.

Zuehlke first began writing about the role Canadians played in World War II after discussing the Battle of Ortona with several veterans following a Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna, B.C. Discovering no book had been written on this pivotal battle, he decided to fill that gap, which resulted in the publication of Ortona: Canadas Epic Worl

Mark Zuehlke's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"An exquisitely detailed database of veterans' experiences that's tied together by an elegant, respectful and tellingly brutal narrative of war on the ground."

Globe & Mail

"This book is must is riveting, often hair-raising account of mechanized warfare and the death, destruction and heartache it entailed."

London Free Press

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