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D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944
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D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944

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by Rick Atkinson, Jason Culp (Read by)

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Adapted for young readers from the #1 New York Times–bestselling The Guns at Last Light, D-Day captures the events and the spirit of that day—June 6, 1944—the day that led to the liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany's control. They came by sea and by sky to reclaim freedom from the occupying Germans, turning the tide


Adapted for young readers from the #1 New York Times–bestselling The Guns at Last Light, D-Day captures the events and the spirit of that day—June 6, 1944—the day that led to the liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany's control. They came by sea and by sky to reclaim freedom from the occupying Germans, turning the tide of World War II. Atkinson skillfully guides his younger audience through the events leading up to, and of, the momentous day in this photo-illustrated adaptation. Perfect for history buffs and newcomers to the topic alike!

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Jason Culp helps focus the drama with his authoritative narration.” —School Library Journal

“Adapted from Atkinson's adult history of the latter part of WWII, The Guns at Last Light (2013), this is a brisk, busy, gutsy look at modern warfare's most famous offensive.” —Booklist

“This fine adaptation of Atkinson's adult The Guns at Last Light is a readable, and even suspenseful, account of the final preparations for and successful execution of the D-Day invasion.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“This version of the much-admired The Guns at Last Light for younger audiences focuses on the drama and the astonishing scale of one of World War II's pivotal operations: the D-Day invasion . . . A grand and significant tale told with dash and authority.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A magnificent book . . . Though the story may seem familiar, I found surprising detail on every page . . . Atkinson's account of D-Day is both masterly and lyrical . . . [He] is an absolute master of his material.” —Max Hastings, The Wall Street Journal

“A tapestry of fabulous richness and complexity . . . Atkinson is a master of what might be called ‘pointillism history,' assembling the small dots of pure color into a vivid, tumbling narrative. . . . The Liberation Trilogy is a monumental achievement . . . densely researched but supremely readable.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Breathtaking, unforgettable . . . Atkinson provides us with especially poignant descriptions in a blaze of writing and research that matches the drama and significance of the moment, all without peer in modern history . . . This volume is a literary triumph worthy of the military triumph it explores and explains.” —The Boston Globe

The New York Times Book Review - Steve Sheinkin
At just 200 or so pages, with photos on nearly every spread, D-Day has the look of a book for young readers. But it isn't written like one. Much of the text is taken unchanged from Atkinson's adult trilogy…This high tone works well because it respects the intelligence of its audience. The best children's books are never written for readers of a specific age, anyway…I'm confident that even students battered by textbooks into believing that history is boring can still be won over. The thing is, you can't just tell kids that history is cool; you have to prove it, and Atkinson does.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Kate Neff
While there is no shortage of World War II books, this one is engaging, with pages filled with pictures, maps, and graphics that break the text up enough to keep readers’ attention throughout. Atkinson’s father served during WWII, so he brings his personal interest to the book, which also helps. There are many photos that are not commonly seen, and the maps are very detailed and easy to read. One of the best elements is the section after the epilogue. It has fast facts from the war, including largest battleships, weapons used by each country, and even what clothing the soldiers wore. Those kinds of facts are compelling and could enhance a student’s paper. For more mature readers, Atkinson also includes further reading. This is an accessible nonfiction book for the WWII fan as well as the student looking for a suitable source for a paper. Reviewer: Kate Neff; Ages 12 to 15.
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
On June 6, 1944 Allied forces launched one of the most important and impressive operations of the entire Second World War. On that date the combined Allied fleet sent tens of thousands of soldiers onto the beaches of Normandy in an offensive that was to change the course of the most deadly war in human history. D-Day, as the invasion of Europe by the Western Allies was to be called, marked a turning of the tide in the war against Hitler’s armed forces. While the Allied assault was to prove a critical victory in the war against Nazism, at the time it was initiated there was every reason to believe that the results were in question. But for the bravery and efforts of Allied soldiers and sailors, the D-Day landings could have been a terrible defeat rather than the victory it turned out to be. In D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, award winning historian Rick Atkinson provides an abbreviated sampling from his adult bestseller, The Guns At Last Light. Modified so that younger readers can follow the tangled events of the D-Day landings, this title does an excellent job of describing not only the facts but also the human interest elements of this important battle. As in his other writings, Atkinson is able to tell a historical story while also including anecdotal events in the lives of individual participants. This approach helps readers to feel more a part of the historic events while better appreciating the human cost of the happenings. This combination of approaches helps make this a book that will help younger readers appreciate the heroism needed to not only take the Normandy beaches but also defeat Hitler. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—This fine adaptation of Atkinson's adult The Guns at Last Light is a readable, and even suspenseful, account of the final preparations for and successful execution of the D-Day invasion. The author gives readers a comprehensive overview of the operation, using primary-source excerpts to personalize the action, from the planning of the highest commanders, to the bravery shown by individual men who went ashore on June 6, 1944. He describes the stages of the invasion, including the transport of troops, air support and airborne operations, and ground operations conducted under withering German resistance. The author separates the five Allied landing forces into individual chapters, which allows for plenty of detail and continuity of narrative about their missions, and the varying amounts of German defenses and resistance they encountered. Although a brief epilogue summarizes the remainder of the war in Western Europe and Germany's defeat, the book focuses on the invasion and the bravery and sacrifices of the men who fought. The text is supplemented by solid area and battle maps, captioned period photos, and an informative appendix with accessible data about equipment and weapons, medical care, troops and their battle gear, and general statistics about the war. This book matches the quality of Earle Rice Jr.'s Normandy (Chelsea House, 2002) but is intended for a slightly older readership, making it an excellent choice for high school World War II buffs and report writers.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO
Kirkus Reviews
This version of the much-admired The Guns at Last Light (2013) for younger audiences focuses on the drama and the astonishing scale of one of World War II's pivotal operations: the D-Day invasion. Having plainly done his research, Atkinson seats readers at secret meetings of the Allied commanders, ejects them with paratroopers over the foggy French countryside, puts them into landing craft to hear soldiers barf and exclaim, and sends them out to die bloodily on beaches wracked with enemy fire. Along the way, he also drops almost-unimaginable numbers: 301,000 Allied vehicles gathered for the invasion, 3,000 tons of maps, nearly 700 GIs killed in a single training exercise. He also provides fascinating sidelights, from the fiendishly clever disinformation campaign preceding the invasion to the contents of K-rations. For all its scope, the story is largely told from the Allied point of view, as most of the German side of the event is confined to a single chapter. Furthermore, all the rest of the war in Europe is likewise squeezed into a chapter around two lengthy congratulatory messages from (then) Gen. Eisenhower. Within its limits, a grand and historically significant tale told with dash and authority. (maps, charts, lists of major armies and figures, weaponry, personal supplies, timelines, photos) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


MAY 5, 1944



IN THIS ROOM, the greatest Anglo-American military leaders of World War II gathered to rehearse the deathblow intended to destroy Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. It was the 1,720th day of the war. Admirals, generals, field marshals, logisticians, and staff by the score climbed from their limousines and marched into a Gothic building of St. Paul’s School. American military policemen—known as Snowdrops for their white helmets, white pistol belts, white leggings, and white gloves—looked closely at the 146 engraved invitations and security passes distributed a month earlier. Then six uniformed ushers escorted the guests, later described as “big men with the air of fame about them,” into the Model Room, a cold auditorium with black columns and hard, narrow benches reputedly designed to keep young schoolboys awake. The students of St. Paul’s School had long been evacuated to rural England—German bombs had shattered seven hundred windows across the school’s campus.

Top-secret charts and maps now lined the Model Room. Since January, the school had served as headquarters for the British 21st Army Group, and here the detailed planning for Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of France, had gelled. As the senior officers found their benches in rows B through J, some spread blankets across their laps or cinched their overcoats against the chill. Row A, fourteen armchairs arranged elbow to elbow, was reserved for the highest of the mighty, and now these men began to take their seats. The prime minister of England, Winston Churchill, dressed in a black coat and holding his usual Havana cigar, entered with U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose title, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, signaled his leadership over all of the Allied forces in Europe. Neither cheers nor applause greeted them, but the assembly stood as one when King George VI strolled down the aisle to sit on Eisenhower’s right. Churchill bowed to his monarch, then resumed puffing his cigar.

As they waited to begin at the stroke of ten A.M., these big men with their air of importance had reason to rejoice in their joint victories and to hope for greater victories still to come in this war.

Since September 1939, war had raged across Europe, eventually spreading to North Africa and as far east as Moscow, capital of the Soviet Union. Germany, a country humiliated after World War I, had seen the rise of Adolf Hitler, a dictator who had dreams of conquering the continent. Beginning with Poland, his armies had crushed one nation after another, destroying cities and killing or enslaving millions of people. His collaborators in the Axis alliance, particularly Japan and Italy, pushed their own campaigns of aggression in Asia and Africa.

Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and Japan’s attack in December of that year on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, led to a grand alliance determined to stop the Axis. The United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union were the major Allied powers, but they were supported by dozens of other countries. At an enormous cost in blood, Soviet armies pushed the German invaders back through eastern Europe, mile by mile. German casualties there exceeded three million, and in 1944 nearly two-thirds of Hitler’s combat power remained tied up in the east.

The United States and Britain, meanwhile, had defeated German and Italian forces in North Africa. They then moved north across the Mediterranean Sea to conquer much of Italy, which surrendered and abandoned the Axis. The Third Reich, as Hitler called his empire, was ever more vulnerable to air attack. Allied planes flying from Britain, Italy, and Africa dropped thousands of tons of bombs on Germany and on German forces along various battle fronts. City by city, factory by factory, Germany was a country increasingly in flames. Although they paid a staggering cost in airplanes and flight crews, the U.S. Army Air Forces, Britain’s Royal Air Force, and the Canadian Air Force had won mastery of the European skies, even as Allied navies controlled the seas.

By the late spring of 1944, the Allies were ready to attempt something that had long seemed impossible: to invade what the Germans called “Fortress Europe” and begin the final campaign that would free citizens who had been enslaved since Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The hour of liberation had nearly arrived.



Copyright © 2014 by Rick Atkinson

Meet the Author

Rick Atkinson is the bestselling author of An Army at Dawn (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history), The Day of Battle, and The Guns at Last Light, among others. His many other awards include a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, the George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award. A former staff writer and senior editor at The Washington Post, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Jason Culp is best known for his role as Julian Gerome on General Hospital. In addition to voiceover work in national commercials, Culp has narrated audiobooks by bestselling authors such as Louis L'Amour, Danielle Steel, John Irving, and David Weber. He has been recording since 1996 and has nearly 35 audiobooks under his belt. Culp has also narrated documentaries for National Geographic and the History Channel.

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D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really cool book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great photos and storyline. D-Day is a must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the book to because i have it on paper back. The book give u history about what hapen on D-DAY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so so good