The battle for Cassino was probably the most bitter struggle of the entire Italian campaign. The dominating peak of Montecassino crowned by its magnificent but doomed medieval monastery was the key to the entire Gustav Line, a formidable system of defences that stretched right across the Italian peninsula. This position completely dominated the Liri valley and Route 6, the strategically vital road to Rome. Between January and May 1944 the Allies struggled amid inhospitable terrain and dreadful weather to dislodge the German paratroops that tenaciously defended the vital mountaintop. Ken Ford's book details the dramatic events of the battle to break the Gustav Line.