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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
American soldiers and sailors were threatened with court-marshal for taking diaries or cameras ashore on Normandy D-Day. Most of Robert Capa's June 6, 1944 photos shot at 8:30 A.M. on the Easy Red/Fox Green sectors of Omaha Beach were accidentally destroyed during developing. Fortunately, D-Day combat artist Dwight Shepler, USNR, captured many great scenes of the U.S. Naval Beach Battalions and LCI sailors in France. Author Dan van der Vat's D-Day: The Greatest Invasion - A People's History is a well written overview of Operation Overlord and ingeniously combines Shepler's invasion art, never-before-published photos and most important, first person accounts of American, British, Canadian, Free French and Polish Allied participants. I never knew my father, a beach battalion medical officer, but I do know many D-Day veterans. The Greatest Invasion is quite a tribute to "those who were there," and will surely become a bestseller at the National D-Day Memorial Foundation in Bedford, VA and the "new" National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While it may not be the most detailed book on D-Day, it was very informative about the politics side of the invasion on both sides of the battle. It is definately more informative about the Canadian troops that helped in the invasion. This is stated at the beginning of the book also. Overall though, it is one of the best books on D-Day I have read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The logistics of the allied invasion of Western Europe are incredible, even in retrospect. It involved hundreds of ships and planes, thousands of men and devices to kill men everywhere. The wonder is not that there was confusion, but that it went as well as it did. It is a tribute to the planners that it did succeed, for if it had not, it is nearly certain that Soviet Armies would have marched to the Rhine and perhaps even to the Normandy coast. The consequences of the Soviet armies dominating all of Europe after the war are enormous and communism could have emerged victorious in the cold war.
This book is a chronicle of the men who created the victory against extreme opposition. While some of the German units were not the highest caliber, all still put up a ferocious fight, and it was only the courage of the allied soldiers and their willing to shed their blood that made it happen. A combination of photos, pictures and text describe the invasion from the initial planning to the destruction of the German armies in the Falaise pocket. In many cases, before and after photos are paired to show how the region looked then and now.
Two days truly changed the course of World War II. The first is the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into the war and which guaranteed that the allies would not be defeated. The second is D-Day, which meant that Soviet influence would end somewhere in the middle of Europe rather than at the western border. This is a story of one of the greatest days in American history, where the course of world history for five decades was decided. We all owe so much to the men who hit those beaches and this book is a history lesson that should never, ever be forgotten.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was surprised to read Jon Gawne's negative review of Dan van der Vat's D-Day book - especially in light of the dozens of moving letters we've received from D-Day veterans and associations praising Mr. van der Vat's even-handed and complete re-telling of this epic story:
"On behalf of all of us, and especially those who gave their lives in Normandy, it is with great appreciation that we recognize and thank you for your excellent documentation of D-Day." - Bud Rice, veteran, 316th Troop Carrier Group
"The author and your staff have produced a fine tribute to those who were involved in this historic day." - National D-Day Memorial Foundation
"It is the finest accounting I have ever read of what took place sixty years ago." - Harvey A. Jacobs, veteran, U.S. 9th Air Force
"I have read it through and was pleased with the accuracy of the contents." - Donald Jakeway, veteran, 82nd Airborne Division
"Well written and superbly illustrated and produced. The coverage of Pegasus Bridge has been done well, with information compiled lucidly and accurately." - David Booth, Editor, Journal of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association
"Dan van der Vat has compiled a truly memorable volume to mark the upcoming 60th anniversary of D-Day. I hope to carry a volume with me when I visit Normandy in June." - Howard Clarkson, veteran crewmember, LCI-537
I'm sure Amazon customers will be heartened to know that D-DAY: THE GREATEST INVASION - A PEOPLE'S HISTORY is a far richer book than Jon Gawne imagines. Just ask the vets who were there...
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on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK VERY INFORMATIVE BUT NOT TOO TECHNICAL. I MOSTLY LIKE THE TRIBUTE AT THE BEGINNING, IT PUT THE HONOR OF THE BOOK FIRMLY WHERE IT SHOULD BE, ON THE SOLDIERS WHO CARRIED OUT THE INVASION. THEN AS TODAY, THE REGULAR MILITARY SOLDIER DESERVES RESPECT FOR ALL THE THINGS THEY DO.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In May 1945, Van der Vat's hometown of Alkmaar in North Holland was finally liberated by allied troops. With "The Greatest Invasion", the author expresses his undying gratitude to the sacrifices of these men, attempting to return the favor, as best as he can, for the salvation from Hitler's jackboot. In particular, Van der Vat doesn't gloss over the role of Canadian troops at Juno Beach -- the ones who specifically went on to liberate his birthplace.

The result is a moving tribute that captures the tremendous undertaking of D-Day while eschewing overly somber tones. The text is richly informative as are the fine diagrams which accompany it. Van der Vat presents stirring letters and anecdotes from a host of representative participants as well as high-level tactical descriptions of the invasion.

Of course, the photos are not only stunning, but the modern ones are originals intended for the book. These are not stock photographs. They include before-and-after shots of locations, perspective shots from inside German pillboxes, or panoramas from the cliffs. Snapshots of memorabilia, insignia, and documents are also thoughtfully provided. Finally, the graphic design and layout of the book are superb.

A very fine effort sure to reward any reader interested in history.
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on October 25, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
as advertised
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Sorry, its a pretty book, but it seems to me a compilation of the popular stuff written on D-day. Nothing new, and some factual errors. To pick two: use of the 2nd Ranger Bn scroll, and the author's description of Operation Fortitude is incorrect.
There are better books out there on the subject. Why do publishers keep pumping this stuff out? Everyone HAS to get on the 60th annv of D-day bandwagon, and I guess they just hire the first person that has heard of WW2 to write them. But why not have it vetted by someone that actually knows the subject?
What's really sad is that Ike's son wrote the introduction, which will make most people think this is well researched important book. Its not.
It is a coffee table book where more work has gone into making it LOOK nice, than be a good history book. And even for that type fo book there are better ones available.
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on July 17, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
great
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