D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

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by Antony Beevor
     
 

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"D-Day: The Battle for Normandy is the first major account in more than twenty years to cover the invasion from June 6, 1944, up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More

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Overview

"D-Day: The Battle for Normandy is the first major account in more than twenty years to cover the invasion from June 6, 1944, up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians by the Luftwaffe." "The Allied fleet was by far the largest amphibious assault ever attempted, and what followed was a battle as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. Casualties mounted on both sides, as did the tensions between the principal commanders. Even the joys of liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation but the whole of the postwar world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe." Antony Beevor draws upon his research in more than thirty archives in six countries, going back to original accounts, interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action and many diaries and letters donated to museums and archives in recent years.\

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
…a dramatic, important and instructive story, and Beevor tells it surpassingly well. D-Day is very much a work of military history, so of necessity it is chockablock with the sort of battlefield chess-playing that can leave the non-military mind in a state of considerable confusion. But Beevor is less interested in moving troops from pillar to post than in telling us what war was like for them and for the civilians whose paths they crossed. Readers fortunate enough to know his previous books…are aware that his fascination with warfare is compounded by a deep knowledge, not always encountered in military histories, that war is hell…Yes, it was a great victory the Allies won in Normandy, and to this day all of us should be grateful to those who won it. But the cost, as Antony Beevor is at pains to emphasize in this fine book, was awful beyond comprehension.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Beevor has established a solid reputation as a chronicler of WWII's great eastern front battles: Stalingrad and Berlin. In addressing D-Day, he faces much wider competition with historians like Stephen Ambrose and Max Hastings, who also use his method of integrating personal experiences, tactical engagements, operational intentions and strategic plans. Beevor combines extensive archival research with a remarkable sense of the telling anecdote: he quotes, for example, an officer's description of the “bloody mass of arms and legs and heads, [and] cremated corpses” created by artillery fire as the Germans tried to escape the Allied breakout. He is sharply critical of senior commanders on both sides: Bernard Montgomery's conceit; Adolf Hitler's self-delusion; Dwight Eisenhower's mediocrity. His heroes are the men who took the invasion ashore and carried it forward into Normandy in the teeth of a German defense whose skill and determination deserved a better cause. The result was a battle of attrition: a “bloody slog” that tested British and American fighting power to the limit—but not beyond. Beevor says that it wasn't Allied forces' material superiority but their successful use of combined arms and their high learning curve that were decisive in a victory that shaped postwar Europe. Maps, illus. (Oct. 13)
The Sunday Times (London)
This is as powerful and authoritative an account of the battle for Normandy as we are likely to get in this generation . . . . Nobody knows better than Beevor how to translate the dry stuff of military history into human drama of the most vivid and moving kind. His book offers a thousand vignettes of drama, terror, cruelty, compassion, courage and cowardice. He is especially good in describing the sufferings of civilians on the battlefield, whose plight is often ignored.
—Max Hastings
The Mail on Sunday
Beevor is singularly expert at homing in on those telltale human details that reveal just what it would have been like to be in Normandy in the summer of 1944 . . . His description of the first American landings, at Omaha Beach, is quite terrifying.
—Craig Brown
Daily Express
There is no writer that can surpass Beevor in making sense of a crowded battlefield and in balancing the explanation of tactical manoeuvres with poignant flashes of human detail . . . dramatic, exciting, well-paced and lucid.
—Christopher Silvester
Sunday Telegraph
Beevor's previous books on the siege of Stalingrad and the fall of Berlin led us to expect something special from D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, and he does not disappoint . . . .The chapter on the Omaha Beach landings is almost the literary version of the opening scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan, with the same horror and pace.
—Andrew Roberts
The Times (Book of the Week)
Beevor tells it all with the soldier's eye for what matters on the ground as much as with the historian's for the broader understanding of events.
—Allan Mallinson
Library Journal
The story of operation Overlord and the French-coast landings on D-day, June 6, 1944, has been recounted many times both in print and on the big screen. It is certainly a story worth retelling, and Beevor (Stalingrad) does it well, combining contemporary accounts with a moving narrative, beginning on June 2, 1944, and ending with the liberation of Paris in August. He relates the operation from all points of view, from the commanders to the men on the beaches, giving equal time to all participants and including, more unusually, the experiences of the French civilians involved. Civilian casualties ran into the tens of thousands, a fact either ignored or given short shrift in most books. Beevor shifts perspectives smoothly, enabling the reader to follow along without confusion, from the U.S. landings on Omaha and Utah beaches to the British and Canadians landings on Sword and Juno beaches, to the airborne incursion and the German response. VERDICT Beevor has written an in-depth campaign history, comparable to Max Hastings's Overlord and Carlo D'Este's Decision in Normandy, that should be read by beginners and experts alike. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]—David Lee Poremba, Windermere, FL
Kirkus Reviews
The grand Allied invasion of Normandy had myriad ways to go wrong, writes historian Beevor (The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, 2004, etc.) in this skilled account. Miraculously, it did not. "Everyone in Britain knew that D-Day was imminent," the author writes, "and so did the Germans." What kept the Germans from knowing the exact details of the attack is the stuff of legend-and a massive program of disinformation and double-agenting, which Beevor deftly relates. The larger outlines of the story are well-known; historians and journalists from John Keegan to Cornelius Ryan have had their say about the matter. To this Beevor adds sharp observations derived from the archives, among them the unsettling fact that just before the invasion almost every American unit involved was rated "unsatisfactory," most having never experienced combat before. Fortunately, the Germans across the English Channel were divided in how to respond. As the author notes, Erwin Rommel wanted to concentrate his troops near the landing sites, while his superior officers wanted to assemble a mighty counterattack in the woods north of Paris. Elements of both strategies were hastily assembled as needed, and in either event they cost the Allies plenty. One of the strongest elements of the book is Beevor's inclusion of sometimes overlooked and discounted actors, including French Resistance forces and veterans of the Polish army who had made their way west, and who told their French counterparts, "You will be liberated . . . but we will be occupied for years and years." As the author writes, the Germans had an international army, too, including Cossack forces that were mowed down as they rode into battle. His account of atrocitieson both sides, of errors committed and of surpassing bravery makes for excellent-though often blood-soaked-reading. Beevor gets better with each book. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg/Andrew Nurnberg Associates

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670887033
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2009
Pages:
632
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.45(h) x 1.61(d)

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