Barnsley, 1st ed., 2009. 212 pp., photo-plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. Operation Dragoon, the Allied landings in the south of France in August 1944, is seen as a sideshow supporting Operation Overlord, the crucial D-Day landings in Normandy. Often criticized as an expensive diversion of men and equipment from the struggle in Italy, this new in-depth study shows that Dragoon and the subsequent Allied advance across southern France played a central role in the liberation of Europe, and the operation had far-reaching political and military ramifications. Controversy dogged the plan from the start. Fierce disagreement among the senior Allied commanders and politicians - in particular between Churchill, Eisenhower and de Gaulle - threatened to weaken the Anglo-American war effort. In vivid detail the author tells the story of the high-level strategic arguments that gave birth to Dragoon, and he looks at the impact of the operation on the direction and duration of the war against Nazi Germany. He also recounts the course of the invasion on the ground - the massive logistical effort required, the landings themselves, the role played by the French resistance, and the bitter battles fought against German rear-guards as they sought to retain France's southern cities and cover their withdrawal toward the strategic Belfort Gap.