ITALY: The Brave Ones

In his newly published memoirs, Britain's brilliant, opinionated Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein stepped on the toes of old friends and old foes alike. Most of the old friends shrugged it off: "You know Monty." But one old foe, the Italians, complained that Montgomery had pictured their World War II soldiers as something less than lions.

Italian troops, Monty wrote, were "unreliable when it came to hard fighting"; they "surrendered in droves, headed by the generals carrying their suitcases." Of Italy's midwar switch from the Axis to the Allies: "This looked...

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