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The Fortress

Raleigh Trevelyan
Date Published
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‘A remarkable record – vivid, modest, intelligent and unusually frank.’ Harold Nicolson

‘It rings true in every sentence.’ Bernard Fergusson

In Jan 1944, Allied forces landed at Anzio and Nettuno on the eastern coast of Italy in the attempt to skirt the German lines and secure the passage to Rome. Success depended upon the element of surprise, but the landings stalled and the Allied soldiers found themselves hemmed in at the beachhead in what become known as the Battle of Anzio.

The environment was sodden and humid, and the fighting intense. It was into this desperate situation that Raleigh Trevelyan, then a twenty-year-old subaltern, found himself leading his platoon, right to the most dangerous, forward position, known as ‘the Fortress’.

The resulting account, based on Trevelyan’s diaries of the time, is one of the most eloquent records of close combat and of the relentless horror of modern warfare written. In direct, intimate prose, it describes the lives, and deaths, of ordinary men, and is a poignant testimony of innocence eroded by the awfulness of war.


Raleigh Trevelyan is a writer and editor. Born in the Andaman Islands in 1923, he moved to Britain when he was eight. His classic The Fortress was published in 1956; among his other books are Rome ’44, The Golden Oriole and a study of his ancestor, Sir Walter Raleigh. He lives in London and Cornwall.

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