Read The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II by Douglas Porch Online


The Mediterranean theater in World War II has long been overlooked by historians who believe it was little more than a string of small-scale battles-sideshows that were of minor importance in a war whose outcome was decided in the clashes of mammoth tank armies in northern Europe. But in this ground-breaking new book, one of our finest military historians argues that the MThe Mediterranean theater in World War II has long been overlooked by historians who believe it was little more than a string of small-scale battles-sideshows that were of minor importance in a war whose outcome was decided in the clashes of mammoth tank armies in northern Europe. But in this ground-breaking new book, one of our finest military historians argues that the Mediterranean was World War II's pivotal theater. Douglas Porch examines the Mediterranean as an integrated arena, one in which events in Syria and Suez influenced the survival of Gibraltar. The Middle Sea constituted a strategic piece of a global war where crucial military decisions were made: it was a passage that linked far-flung theaters; saved scarce Allied shipping; became an essential conduit for lend-lease aid to the USSR; offered France a testing ground for its rehabilitation as a military power; and provided an entry point into southern Germany for two Allied armies. Without a Mediterranean alternative, the Western Allies would probably have committed to a premature cross-Channel invasion in 1943 that might well have cost them the war.Brilliantly argued, with vivid portraits of Churchill, Montgomery, FDR, Rommel, and Mussolini, this original, accessible, and compelling account of a little-known theater emphasizes the importance of the Mediterranean in the ultimate Allied victory in Europe in World War II....

Title : The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374205188
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 816 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II Reviews

  • Betsy
    2019-05-05 04:59

    I found this book to have multi-personalities. Parts were quite well done and I found them easy to read and informative. At other times, I could barely make it through a few pages. It took much longer to read than I anticipated as it was quite detailed, but it wasn't just that. Perhaps I just didn't find some aspects of the story as interesting, but that could be my fault for false assumptions. I do think Porch made a good case for his assertions about the importance of the Mediterranean, and I certainly agreed with some of his points on Clark especially. The author did a good job in his summation, bringing all that he had written together.In the end, I think he was right that Hitler made a grave error in investing so heavily in the Mediterranean, especially when he had so much to lose. But then, Hitler made many critical mistakes, which gave the Allies the upper hand. Fortunately, the British and Americans were able use the Mediterranean as a deadly training ground for the battles of 1944-45, and to ease some of the pressure on Russia.

  • Checkman
    2019-05-03 22:10

    Professor Douglas Porch is always a solid and reliable historian. His focus is French military history and ,in particular, the French experience in North Africa and the Mediterranean. He brings the academics eye to the subject matter with tons of documentation, in-depth analysis and an avoidance of hyperbole. "The Path to Victory" looks at the North African and Italian Campaigns and makes an argument that it was there that the allies won WWII. Now while I don't know if the Allies won the war against the Axis in the Mediterranean Professor Porch does an excellent job showing that it was in this theater that the allies learned how to fight against the Axis and work together as a team (albeit a rather quarrelsome and sometime dysfunctional team - basically your typical family/team) . The Italian Campaign remains controversial to this day and there is no denying that there were some serious mistakes made there. Mistakes that could have been avoided, but these very mistakes taught lessons. Lessons that helped to ensure that Operation Overlord was done correctly. In this respect I agree with Professor Porch completely. The Allies were not ready to invade across the English Channel in 1943 (which is what the United States initially wanted to do - Americans. *sigh*). The learning curve was steep and it cost many people their lives, but imagine the carnage if the Allies had made a go of it in 1943 and been repulsed. Now that is a chilling scenario.This is a well done book. Whether one agrees with the Professor's thesis it is informative and provides an in-depth look at a theater that often receives (with the exception of a few battles and the invasion of Sicily) a short shrift by WWII historians.

  • Land Murphy
    2019-05-16 01:02

    A good overview of World War II in the Mediterranean. Porch argues that the Med. theater was the pivotal theater of the war, an argument which deserves further thought. Porch argues, for example, that Operation Sledgehammer (Overlord's predecessor) would have been a disaster in 1943. The book establishes that Hitler's decisions in the theater were ill-advised and damaged the Axis war effort, tying up Axis men and material that could have turned the tide on the Eastern front or in Normandy. Many of the Allied and Axis commanders come off poorly in the book. Porch does not consider Rommel to be one of the better commanders, contending that the publicity surrounding Rommel actually benefited the Allies and that Rommel never bested the better Allied generals. Eisenhower does not appear to have been a very effective commander in the Mediterranean, and Mark Clark--not surprisingly--is shown to be a publicity hound of the worst sort.

  • Michael Blackmer
    2019-04-29 22:02

    As a result of my habit of reading multiple books at once this one took a while but I found it well worth the time it took. This is the first book I have read which surveys the entire Mediterranean Theater of World War Two. Very eye opening. Changed my opinion of some personalities involved, some in a negative way. Confirmed my opinion of some other leaders involved.

  • Teddee
    2019-04-23 03:16

    Porch does a good job of blending narrative history/politics with military strategy/tactics. His thesis is that the Mediterranean as a theater was, contrary to the conventional wisdom, a key theater for the Allies. It was a classic strategic diversion luring Germany into getting bogged down and spreading its resources across a very large southern flank, while giving the Allies a chance to practice against German tactics and modern weaponry utilizing Allied strengths- air and sea power over long hard-to-defend supply lines. This book also showcases how imperial aims and personal ambition sabotaged efforts that would have resulted in quicker victories. The book also demonstrates the difference that aggressive, opportunistic and single minded leadership can make. While Mussolini's failure to lead in all aspects left the Italian forces ineffective and without direction, Rommel in Africa showcased the Axis's superiority in operations, mobile forces, inter-service tactical coordination, and offensive tactics. His success was so well propagandized that it may have helped rally Americans to the Allied cause. But Rommel's less publicized failures were symptomatic of the Axis failures overall. In prioritizing tactical and operational success, the Axis overall failed to plan for strategic success. It was the Axis failure to control its supply lines for oil and material, and its attempt to defend too large a front by failing to make a strategic retreat from the Mediterranean coast, that ultimately allowed the Allies to win in North Africa and later to capture and isolate hundreds of thousands of Axis troops in North Africa, France and Italy.

  • Mark
    2019-04-28 03:07

    This was a dense historical tome which thoroughly covers the Mediterranean Theater of WWII. It argues convincingly that it was an important strategic theater which contributed to the Allied victory over the Axis. It took me several years to read, but in the end, i believe it was worth the effort. I have a greater understanding of WWII and why the Allies spent so much time, men and material in a seemingly, at least on the surface, peripheral side theater. I agree that when Hitler decided to shore up his southern flank, he made a strategic blunder which the Allies were able to exploit. It allowed them to fight the veteran German troops in a theater which would have little consequence for Allied failure. It allowed them to learn how to be a modern army, learn which generals were any good, get rid of those who were not suited and to establish a corp of veterans which greatly assisted the D-Day invasion. They tied down numerous German divisions not only in Italy, but in the Baltic, troops which Hitler could have used to better effect on either the Eastern or Western fronts. Would the Battle of Bulge gone differently, had Hitler moved divisions from Italy to the Ardennes? Probably, at least it would have been a tougher slog for the Allies. THe Allies inflicted over 500,000 casualties on the Germans in the Medt. theater, at a cost to themselves of 312,000, also contributing to the attrition warfare. Fascinating historical treatment by an able historian. I am glad I stuck it out and read it.

  • Brian
    2019-04-29 05:19

    The Mediterranean theater was an important place during World War 2. It comprised a significant amount of forces (although never as much as the east) and gave experience to those who would command operation overlord. From the shores of Tripoli to the peaks of Italy's mountains battles were waged for control of this strategic "lake". Both the Italians and the British saw the Mediterranean as a lake that they would command. Each side fought to make this a reality. The British were able to convince the United States to commit their forces here and exploit the weakness of Italy's armies and the lack of German forces. The argument for the importance of this theater is very clear and done well.There are some errors in this book pointed out by other reviewers but the scope that Porch undertakes still make this a four star book. It is well written and clearly analyzes the salient points of the war. It is hard to find a book that is as comprehensive as this one can be. There are several great books on North Africa and Italy is only recently coming into its own but few approach this level. By covering the conflict as a region you get a richer picture of the "lake" and how it was impacted by the strategies of war. This book is highly recommended for those who want to understand World War 2 and the way in which operations unfolded.

  • Bookmarks Magazine
    2019-05-19 03:59

    Reviews glow with kind words for Porch, a professor of national security at the Naval Postgraduate School. The author presents his case in clear, convincing prose and a careful eye to historical detail. Most importantly, he upends the idea of the Mediterranean campaign as a "costly sideshow" (Washington Post). He both successfully brings historic characters to life__including Mussolini, Churchill, and FDR__and combs through the finer points of military strategy. Whether his central hypothesis about the importance of the Mediterranean in the Allied victory is right or wrong, critics uniformly welcomed the book to the debate. This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  • Stephan Bolton
    2019-04-25 06:17

    An excellent study of the political, strategic, and theater-operational tensions at play in the Med. Porch gives due consideration to contrasting arguments, but he is rarely neutral, and is frequently critical of decisions and decision-makers in a manner which provokes the reader to consider new perspectives. Read as part of the SAMS curriculum.

  • Josh Liller
    2019-05-21 03:52

    Seemed a good overview of the topic and I didn't have trouble getting through it. But it is BRUTUALLY critical - especially of Italy - and loaded with unneccesarily fancy dictionary words and LONG paragraphs.

  • Lee
    2019-05-02 22:52

    A very good analysis of some strategic options to the Allies in WWII. Porch does a good job of sticking to his thesis, and not burying it under observations or data. I felt like I was savoring this book by reading it in short sessions.

  • Martin
    2019-05-03 22:10

    Fun book. A really good discussion of the whole Med theatre in WWII. I totally enjoyed it and learned a ton.

  • Frank Otter
    2019-05-13 02:05

    The Med was no sideshow! Good book.

  • Nishant Pappireddi
    2019-05-13 23:50

    This book gives a very convincing argument about why the Mediterranean was a pivotal theater for Allied victory in WW2.

  • Jack
    2019-05-12 01:10

    Excellent overview of the Mediterranean theater in WW2.