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D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II Hardcover – June 6, 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 524 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, Stephen E. Ambrose's D-Day: June 6, 1944 relies on over 1,400 interviews with veterans, as well as prodigious research in military archives on both sides of the Atlantic. He provides a comprehensive history of the invasion which also eloquently testifies as to how common soldiers performed extraordinary feats. A major theme of the book, upon which Ambrose would later expand in Citizen Soldiers, is how the soldiers from the democratic Allied nations rose to the occasion and outperformed German troops thought to be invincible. The many small stories that Ambrose collected from paratroopers, sailors, infantrymen, and civilians make the excitement, confusion, and sheer terror of D-day come alive on the page. --Robert McNamara --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Ambrose's account of the D-Day fighting on the Normandy beaches and bluffs is unsurpassed for detail, emotion and suspense. Quoting liberally from the recollections of participants, he reveals how the massive cross-Channel effort stretched back two years and involved millions of people. He describes the choice of the site and date of the landings, the planning and special training, ship loading and embarkation, and finally the amphibious assault itself--that moment when "the Western democracies made their fury manifest." Ambrose, director of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans, interprets events as the narrative unfolds and much of what he has to say is bracing. He concludes, for example, that German military leadership was abysmal that day, even at the small-unit level; that Allied elite units such as Airborne, Rangers and Commandoes were superior in fighting ability to those the enemy had in the field; and that the German reliance on fixed defensive positions, the so-called Atlantic Wall, was one of the greatest blunders in history. Among the spate of books marking the 50th anniversary of D-Day, Ambrose's overview will likely stand as definitive. Photos. 100,000 first printing; BOMC and History Book Club main selections; Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671673343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671673345
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (524 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ambrose has truly contributed to the world's knowledge by his work. This book was my introduction to the works of Steven Ambrose, but I have since read almost all of his books still in print. Having read scores of histories of The Second World War, including Cornelius Ryan's classic account of D-Day, I can honestly say that Ambrose's "D-Day" told me quite a bit that I didn't know. And, Dr. Ambrose is a gripping writer; his books are impossible to put down. While all his works are highly readable, this book is perhaps his best to this point, though Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers are also outstanding.
The real significance of "D-Day" is that it tells us just how brutal the assault at Omaha really was for the men of that generation. No account prior to this has been willing to expose the slaughter of the first waves of assault troops on Omaha. D-Day also tell us the personal stories of some of the average citizen soldiers placed into the horrible crucible of combat. Many times histories focus on strategies, officers, and overall accomplishments. This book gives us a compelling view of the rank and file who did the work of winning the war. Those who survived, and those who didn't, confronted and ultimately conquered what should have been an insurmountable fixed defense; they did their duty in a way that should make us all proud and grateful. Most veterans interviewed by Dr. Ambrose were quite modest about their accomplishments, but their quiet heroics---doing that which human beings find so hard to do---literally saved the world from a terrible tyranny---make no mistake about that! This book offers a compelling account of the price that was paid by average men (our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers), for the freedom we now take for granted.
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Format: Paperback
Ambrose used over 1400 interviews to piece together a compelling history of the D-Day invasion. The strength of this "oral history" approach is that the reader is brought into the heart of the battle through eye-witness testimony of the facts and poignant expressions of emotion from a wide range of participants in this epoch-making event. Once the battle starts, the excitement and fear of the grunts sweeps the reader up into their personal histories. The weakness of the "oral history" approach is that with so many individual data points to connect the historian is hard pressed to find synthesis for all the details. Ambrose has done history a great service by collecting these memories, and the soldier's stories make for great reading. But Ambrose often fails to describe larger unit actions in full detail or to convey a sense of larger meaning of individual actions. In fact, little is said of the English and Canadian beaches, presumably because the participants were not as available for interviews. Ambrose's treatment of historical controversies is often short on factual background, and there is little if any theoretical or analytical context for these oral histories. These are simply good stories of many individual experiences. Don't read this book for lessons on strategic decision making or to answer questions such as Rommel's degree of responibility for the German defeat or Montgomery's total failure to achieve his D-Day objectives until after the American breakout. Ambrose touches on these larger issues, but that is not his focus. This is a book about the American achievement in Normandy, and here is where Ambrose excels. The individual courage and independence of the American small unit leaders is big story of this book and one of the great stories of the ETO. In portraying these Citizen Soldiers in all of their valor and toughness, Ambrose is right on target.
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Format: Paperback
First off let me say that this book will live on as one of the best accounts of D-Day ever put on paper, along with Six Armies in Normandy (John Keegan) and The Longest Day (Corneilus Ryan). However, what kept it from receiving 5 stars from me and what I think will always hang over this book is Ambroses views and writing style. He is unabashedly the most pro American historian I have ever read. This, I think, hurts him more than helps him. He takes an event that was a total allied effort to crack the Atlantic Wall, and turns it into almost an exclusive American outing. If I did not know better I would think that the British and Canadians played almost no part on that day except for the British Airborne at Pegasus Bridge. While the focus on the Americans is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, it becomes obvious through Ambroses statements that he feels that the British and Commonwealth troops were not really pulling their weight. This view point has got to be one of the most shameful ever take by someone who calls themselves a historian and sounds more like right wing commentary rather than a professor trying to impart history on individuals. And his almost total disregard for the Germans on that day shows that more than a little objectivity has been lost. I am a believer that once a historian loses their objectivity that they begin walking the path of rewriting history or becoming a propagandist. From the above statements you might take it that I did not enjoy this book. This is untrue. Ambrose has a gift, a gift of interviewing. He more than any other historian has the ability to get vets to talk and talk openly about the most horrible/wonderful period in their lives.Read more ›
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