The author was a middle-aged French widow living in a chateau only three miles inland from the Normandy invasion beaches. Her remarkable diary records her impressions during the German occupation, the D-Day fighting and the subsequent occupation by British troops. Profoundly resentful of the uninvited military guests who made themselves at home at Chateau Periers, Osmont could not bring herself to hate the Germans and, in fact, felt maternal pity for the youngest infantrymen. Though she achieved greater rapport with the British commandos who violently replaced them after D-Day, she soon became disgusted by their rampant thievery and vandalism (they ``plunder idiotically'') and, when a neighbor characterized the British as their saviors, Madame replied, ``But at what a price!'' Her comments often touch one's emotions as she bewails the damage to her cherished chateau in the furious fighting, tenderly cares for terrified stray animals and grieves over the fresh graves of German and British soldiers she had known. Her descriptions of the bombardments, air raids and firefights are vivid and disturbing (she was struck by shrapnel on the second day of battle but carried on after treatment). A unique account of the Normandy invasion by a perceptive observer caught in the action. Illustrations. (June)
Osmont is a French woman who saw her home taken over first by German troops and then by the British who came as Allies to free the French from the German occupation during World War II. This detailed diary gives the reader a unique glimpse into the everyday lives of people in the countryside near the British landing site, Sword Beach. Osmont describes her own feelings of despair as she and her friends were subjected to danger and injury. Many were killed, and she felt their loss keenly. Of particular interest are her comments on the differences between the German and British soldiers. The Discovery Channel featured Osmont's diary in its documentary "Normandy: The Great Crusade," using her words to bring alive scenes from that invasion. Her diary should be required reading for all interested in World War II.-Dorothy Lilly, Grosse Pointe North H.S. Lib., Mich.