D-Day: The Greatest Invasion - A People's History

Overview

It was the greatest invasion of all time. Early on the morning of June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy-not only streaming from the sea but also sweeping in from the air-and launched a massive assault on Nazi-occupied France. In sixteen unforgettable hours, these heroic men succeeded in breaching the Third Reich's impregnable defenses, leading the way to the liberation of Europe.

As the sixtieth anniversary approaches, those who remember ...

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Overview

It was the greatest invasion of all time. Early on the morning of June 6, 1944, thousands of Allied soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy-not only streaming from the sea but also sweeping in from the air-and launched a massive assault on Nazi-occupied France. In sixteen unforgettable hours, these heroic men succeeded in breaching the Third Reich's impregnable defenses, leading the way to the liberation of Europe.

As the sixtieth anniversary approaches, those who remember that epic invasion are rapidly dwindling in number. Now, their gripping eyewitness accounts-most of them never before published-are woven into an authoritative new look at that unforgettable "longest day" by distinguished military historian Dan van der Vat. This book captures and preserves for a new generation all the human drama and heroism that marked D-Day. Richly illustrated with hundreds of historical photographs-many from private photo albums-as well as personal artifacts, dramatic paintings by the many war artists on the scene, and modern color photographs, this is the definitive history of one of the most important dates of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the better days that lie ahead, men will speak with pride of our doings."-Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
Publishers Weekly
This fluently written and lavishly illustrated volume on the Normandy invasion and campaign covers ground that will be familiar to many readers, but offers many details (such as the different weather requirements of different services) that some longer books slide over. It also shifts with ease from grand strategy to tactics, from individual memoirs (frequently accompanied by photographs of the narrators, looking incredibly young in June 1944) to logistics (including such aspects of that essential subject as the Mulberry artificial harbors). The author keeps his promise to tell a "warts and all" story of the campaign and also exhibits admirable balance among the Allies' contribution (the Canadians are honored ) and on such controversial questions as Field Marshal Montgomery's strategy and tactics. All this is done in few enough words to leave room for an exceptional array of graphic material, including highly readable maps, classic war paintings and abundant photographs, few of them overused. As an introduction by John S.D. Eisenhower puts it, the book "recognizes that the everyday solider really occupies center stage." (Nov. 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
In the introduction to this visually stunning book, Van Der Vat says that he is "offering an all-round, warts and all view." He further states that the "purpose is to offer readers a clear overview-not only who did what, where, and when but also how and why they did it." In this, as in everything in the book, Van Der Vat succeeds admirably. He superbly manages a difficult task of providing the overall strategies, broad tactical design, and historical background while also including illuminating details that bring the time to life for the reader. For example, in describing the "omnivorous attention to detail" of the planning for the attack, he relates that after an appeal to the British public for holiday snapshots of the French beaches, ten million pictures were submitted. Personal memoirs, pictures of touchingly young soldiers, and memorabilia make this book wonderfully accessible both for students familiar with the history and those just encountering the event. The graphics and illustrations are excellent, and the layout is masterfully done, adding clarity without breaking the flow of the text. Gorgeous original photographs of the battle locations today are juxtaposed against historical pictures taken during the attack. Van Der Vat, who remembers his Dutch village being liberated by Canadian forces, provides an outstanding balanced account of D-Day that is utterly compelling. An excellent index, bibliography, and list of Web sites are included. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Bloomsbury, 176p.; Index. Illus. Photos. Maps.Biblio., $40. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Lynn Rutan
Library Journal
Military historian van der Vat, who has written several acclaimed books on World War II, here presents an overview of Operation Overlord in June 1944. After explaining Normandy invasion preparations, the use of deceptive ploys against the Germans, and the weather problems that plagued Allied forces once the invasion began, van der Vat addresses the difficulties that Allied troops encountered in taking each of the five beaches and their inability to achieve early campaign objectives, such as the capture of Caen. The author also provides interesting information on the use of gliders and tanks during the operation. The book's appealing layout and design are enhanced by the use of photographs, maps, and firsthand accounts from servicemen. Like those found in Ronald J. Drez's Voices of D-Day or Stephen Ambrose's D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, these narratives are fascinating to read, and one wishes that van der Vat had included more. The book is best suited to public libraries but will be useful to undergraduates. However, for in-depth studies on tactics and strategy, the reader should consult the selective bibliography.-Gayla Koerting, Univ. of South Dakota Lib., Vermillion Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582343143
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 11/15/2003
  • Pages: 176
  • Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.38 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan van der Vat is a noted historian and expert on modern warfare, as well as the author of Pearl Harbor: The Day of Infamy-An Illustrated History. He lives in London.

John S.D. Eisenhower is the son of Dwight D. Eisenhower and a retired Brigadier General in the US Army. A distinguished historian, he is the author of Agent of Destiny, So Far From God, A Bitter Wood, Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I and General Ike, which will be published in June 2003. He lives in Trappe, Maryland.

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