If the prime aim of World War II was to defeat Hitler, why did British and Allied troops spend so much of the conflict battling through North Africa and Italy? Historian David Reynolds reassesses Winston Churchill's conviction that the Mediterranean was the 'soft underbelly' of Hitler's Europe. Travelling to Egyptian and Italian battlefields, including Anzio and Cassino, which suffered some of the worst carnage in Western Europe, he shows how this perceived susceptibility became a dangerous obsession. Reynolds reveals a prime minister far removed from the bullish hero of Britain's 'finest hour' in 1940 - politically vulnerable at home, taking desperate measures to shore up Britain's crumbling empire, losing trust in his generals, and more than ready to deceive his American allies if it meant delaying direct conflict with the Germans in northern France. A startling account of the British Army's unreadiness for war on the ground across the channel, and the human cost of Churchill's greatest misjudgement.