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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

4.0 76
by Antony Beevor

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"Glorious, horrifying...D-DAY is a vibrant work of history that honors the sacrifice of tens of thousands of men and women."—Time

Antony Beevor's Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available.

Renowned historian Antony Beevor, the man who "single-handedly transformed the reputation of military


"Glorious, horrifying...D-DAY is a vibrant work of history that honors the sacrifice of tens of thousands of men and women."—Time

Antony Beevor's Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available.

Renowned historian Antony Beevor, the man who "single-handedly transformed the reputation of military history" (The Guardian) presents the first major account in more than twenty years of the Normandy invasion and the liberation of Paris. This 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. Beevor draws upon his research in more than thirty archives in six countries, going back to original accounts and interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action. D-Day is the consummate account of the invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to Paris's liberation.

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
From the Publisher
"Absorbing... The reader finished this accessible history with the sense he has had a 360-degree look at Operation Overlord and its multinational cast... Terrifing reading."—USA Today

"A dramatic, important, and instructive story, and Beevor tells it surpassingly well."—The Washington Post 

"Where the book really scores is in its eye for the operational detail and its vivid reconstructions of the experience of battle, as unavoidable courage mixes with arbitrary tragedy."—Lawrence Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"Beevor excels in recounting, from interviews with veterans and from the testimony of soldiers' letters and reports, just what a bloody campaign the invasion was... Beevor is especially gripping in his account of the U.S. 120th Infantry... Beevor is to be commended for emphasizing a troubling theme: the inferiority of much Allied equipment."—The Wall Street Journal

"His account of atrocities on both sides, of errors committed and of surpassing bravery makes for excellent - though often blood-soaked - reading. Beevor gets better with each book."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Beevor has written an in-depth campaign history...that should be read by beginners and experts alike."—Library Journal

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Antony Beevor is the bestselling author of D-Day: The Battle for Normandy,which received the Royal United Services’ Institute Westminster Medal; The Battle for Spain, which received the La Vanguardia Prize; Paris After the Liberation 1944–1949; Stalingrad, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History, and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature; and The Fall of Berlin 1945, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees’ Award. He is the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Beevor lives in England.

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D-Day [Sound Recording] 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Azpooldude More than 1 year ago
Anthoney Beevor's newly released book on D-Day and the events that followed up to the liberation of Paris, is a very informative book. It is a good book but not a great book. Beevor covers in well documented detail, the war on the Western Front with Nazi Germany. At first I was prejudiced about this aspect of the war compared to the much larger campaigns on the Eastern Front. This book does a good job of explaining how the Allies were facing a very real threat with 9-10 divisions on a 60 mile front versus the same amount of fire in the east on a 200 mile front. In general, the book covers the pre-D-Day scenarios, the landing, and the slow progress of the Allies in the weeks and months after the invasion. It goes into detail about many of the important events, i.e failures at Caen, St.-Lo, Operation Colbra, to name a few. Also off interest is the plot against Hitler, and the final liberation of Paris. Beevor not only covers the personalities of the many generals, like Montgomery, Bradley and Patton, but also the rest of the players from colonels on down to privates. This is done on both sides and is one of the strong points of the book. He also does a good job on how the war affected the people of France and the power struggle that developed between De gaulle and the French Communist party. A very interesting part was the super storm on June 19th, 1944, that played a large part in the war, and would have been a total disaster for the Allies if they had planned their invasion two weeks later. One advantage this book has over previous accounts of the war is that it was released in 2009. By this time, many if not all of the classified information, had been released so the reader is treated to many new revelations. Not only does he do a good job of weaving Ultra intelligence (the breaking of the German signal codes) into the accounts but also the role of the clandestine Jedburghs teams (Special Operations Teams) as well. This was very well done. The invasion and the aftermath was not a smooth operation as many believed. There were many poor decisions made that cost the lives of many soldiers. Some of note were: the friendly fire mishaps by allied bombers, Commanders failing to quickly attack the Germans after pounding the enemy with artillery, the over bombing of many French villages, and the many mistakes made by the generals, most noticeably Field Marshall Montgomery. It is refreshing to get the full picture with both the good and the bad. We get into the minds of both Allies and Germans and see the human and inhuman side of both. Much is discussed on how the German generals were in a bind, knowing that the war was lost but still had to pledge allegiance to Hitler and obey his crazy orders. I think that many will find this book informative, but I liked Beevors' other books better. It covered many things well, but it was not a fluid read and a little choppy. There are maps to show details of the many battles, a wonderful picture section in the middle of the book and a small glossary to help the reader with military terms. But when I read Beevor's earlier book on the Battle of Stalingrad, I was so impressed I read it twice. Maybe it was that at that time in the war all looked lost, and the Soviet Army started to turn the tide. In mid-1944, things were not as critical and the battles were not as impressive. I am not sure. Either way, this book was not nearly as good as his other works. Robert Glasker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is hard to write a book on D-day that is interesting yet has new facts. This book does both. Add that to the "amplification" for the Nook, and it's a great read cover to cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good solid work, well written with excellent descriptive writing of actual combat. It is not however up to this author's usual high standards. There is little of the operational or strategic overview that should be part of this narrative. The issues relating to planning at the highest levels--Roosevelt, Churchill ,Marshall et al are glossed over. There are many excellent works relating to D-Day. Unfortunately, this book adds nothing to them. There are many better books on the subject, and the works of D'Este and Hastings come immediately to mind.
coyoteVA More than 1 year ago
For those that wish to get more detail concerning the day to day conflict in Normandy from June 6 to the liberation of Paris, this is a great source. Well worth the time if you are a history buff or have always wondered how the Normandy Invasion was really fought beyond what little you might learn in the movies or on TV.
GeologistRW More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the comments on some of the different personalities, especially Montegomery; they confirmed my opinion of that egocentric character. Also, the discussion of the French civilian population's trials and suffering is rarely covered in other works. The discussions of the political rivalaries on both sides of the conflict was quite interesting. All in all, a good history!
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5:It was the first mission to legitimetly take out the Nazi regime.4:The airbione divisions didnt capture alot of land,much less head back to the aircraft carrier.3:British forces captured the most land in seaborne cases.2:Most German defenses were only bunkers with machine gunners,which the snipers took care of.1:Even with the land they captured,American,British ore(get it minecrafters?)Canadians failed to reach a targeted city within the first 24 hours.
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Beech-711 More than 1 year ago
Well researched book and interesting. At times was a little hard to follow, but I guess I got too used to Stephen Ambrose. Do not like to nit pick, but author uses constantly uses "further" when he should have used "farther" when related to distance. I particularly enjoyed his account of the Liberation of Paris.
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