One of the great arguments of World War II took place among Allied military leaders over when and where to launch a second front against Germany in Europe. Stalin, holding on by his teeth in Russia, urged a major invasion from the west as soon as possible. The Americans, led by Marshall and Wedemeyer, argued likewise. It was Churchill who got his way, however, with his Mediterranean strategy, including a campaign on the Italian peninsula, which he mistakenly called the “soft underbelly of Europe.” This realistic, fact-based work posits what would have happened had Churchill been overruled, and that rather than invading North Africa in the fall of 1942, thence Sicily and Italy, the Allies had hit the coast of southern France instead. The key element that enables the alternative scenario is the cooperation of Vichy, which was negotiated at the time but refused. If the Allies had promised sufficient force to support the French, however, the entire southern coastline of France would have been undefended against a surprise invasion. In this book, once the Allied armies are ashore, German stream toward the front, albeit through a gauntlet of Maquis, Allied paratroopers and airpower. Meantime the Allied forces push up the Rhône Valley and titanic armored clashes take place near Lyons. Already in desperate straits at Stalingrad, where they had committed their air and armored reserves, the Germans had also yet to switch to a full total-war economy, with tanks like the Panther and Tiger not yet deployed. This fascinating alternative history comes close to informing us exactly what might have happened had D-Day in Europe come as early as some had wished.