Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle that Shaped World War II in Europe

Overview

A military intelligence expert examines the most formative battle of World War II.

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. Millions of soldiers battling for control of Europe were thrust onto the front lines of a massive war unlike any experienced in history. But the greatest of clashes would prove to be the crucible in which the outcome of World War II would be decided.

Author John Prados tells the ...

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Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle that Shaped World War II in Europe

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Overview

A military intelligence expert examines the most formative battle of World War II.

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. Millions of soldiers battling for control of Europe were thrust onto the front lines of a massive war unlike any experienced in history. But the greatest of clashes would prove to be the crucible in which the outcome of World War II would be decided.

Author John Prados tells the story of how and why the tactics and battle plans of Normandy proved so formative, and reconstructs the climactic Allied Normandy breakout from both sides of the battle lines.

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Editorial Reviews

America In WWII Magazine
Normandy Crucible is a well-written account of the campaign that started the battle for France. Drawing on primary sources that include official unit histories and the memoires of senior commanders and delving deep into the workings of Ultra, Prados has produced a solid read.
Kirkus Reviews

A fresh point of view on the 1944 battle that emphasizes intelligence, logistics and the battle's unexpected strategic consequences.

While researching Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II (1995), prolific military historian Prados (How the Cold War Ended, 2010, etc.) noticed that histories of the Normandy campaign paid scant attention to ULTRA code-breaking (declassified in the 1970s) and provided weak explanations of why the Wehrmacht, fleeing in disorder in August, recovered so quickly. The author concentrates on the month from mid-July to mid-August, six weeks after the landing. The British were battling for Caen, nine miles from the coast despite its scheduled capture on day one. Stalled American forces were about to launch Operation Cobra, another offensive aimed at breaking out. Allied frustrations paled next to those of the Germans, who were vastly outnumbered and harried by Allied air supremacy. By the end of August, the Allies were racing across France and predicting victory by Christmas. A month later, they suffered a bloody nose at Arnhem, and by November resistance brought the advance to a halt. This should have come as less of a surprise because ULTRA intercepts as early as June revealed Germany mobilizing another million men. In addition, despite Hitler's penchant for stand-fast orders and suicidal offensives, he worked hard to strengthen defenses on Germany's Western border.

Prados has done his homework, writes fine battle descriptions and makes a convincing case that events during the summer of 1944 predicted the subsequent course of the war.

Mark Perry
"Prados reframes the Normandy Campaign and, in so doing, tells us the story we do not know."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451233837
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,444,856
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Prados is a Senior Research Fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects, at the National Security Archive. He has published articles in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Prologue: The Decision 1

1 German Nightmares 13

2 Allied Anxieties 50

3 The Beginning of Disaster 89

4 A Hurricane of Steel 111

5 All the Fuhrer's Horses 159

6 The Cauldron 200

7 Normandy Crucible 252

Appendix 271

Endnotes 281

Bibliography 297

Index 309

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Just a bit off

    I have read quite a few books on Normandy over several years. This book is a bit off. He refers to British General Alanbrooke. Well he was Gen Alan Brooke as CIGS during the war and only later was Viscount Alanbrooke. He called the Mulberry harbors "gooseberries." He does give some German perspective that is not found on many other books, and much of his detail seems accurate. But I am concerned by a couple basic mistakes. I do not find his writing style up to the level of most authors. And the chapter on Fortitude is just confusing at best. I can't recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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