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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Picks up where "The Longest Day" left off
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...
Published on April 9, 1999

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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, detailed, but...
Now don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic account of the D-Day landings. Most books on this subject either lose sight of the big picture, or are so technical it's like reading a math book. But, as others have said, there are places were American bias leak out and snap you out of the sweeping saga of the greatest invasion in history. Fortuneately, they don't ruin the...
Published on September 3, 2003


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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Picks up where "The Longest Day" left off, April 9, 1999
By A Customer
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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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, but very unobjective., June 11, 2000
By 
Del (Ann Arbor, MI. USA) - See all my reviews
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. This comes out in the incredible first person accounts of D-Day, and in my opinion make this book a must have for everyone. Be they a casual reader or a student. For I also believe that it is only through the eyes of a vet can we really ever understand what it was like on that cold June day. My hat is off to Ambrose in the end. He has the gift to put us in that moment of history like we were actually there, but if he would temper that with the ability to look beyond the almost entirely America only perspective we would have a novel that could be regarded as a classic.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Grunt's Eye View of D-Day, November 19, 2004
By 
Scott Carpenter (Newport Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, detailed, but..., September 3, 2003
By A Customer
Now don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic account of the D-Day landings. Most books on this subject either lose sight of the big picture, or are so technical it's like reading a math book. But, as others have said, there are places were American bias leak out and snap you out of the sweeping saga of the greatest invasion in history. Fortuneately, they don't ruin the book outright, and Ambrose does give credit where it's due (especially once the invasion begins). I think it's safe to say that most people who know anything about WWII know that the British weren't poor, weak twits who just wanted to go home (Hello? Battle of Britian? Battle of the Atlantic? North Africa anyone?). Nor were the armies of German hugely inferior to the American ones (This critizism is especially puzzling due to the unrivaled sucess of the German armed forces). Such obvious digs are annoying, but give it a read anyway. It's remarkably fast paced, the describtions of battle and are both awe inspiring and terrifying; and the stories of individual bravery highlight the daring exploits of the Allied Expeditionary Force (yes you read correctly not just *gasp* American soldiers). We will always rememember you, loyal, brave, soldiers! 3 1/2 stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good account of the US involvement at D-Day, October 13, 2006
By 
Silus Cramford (Los Angeles, USA) - See all my reviews
Several others sum up my feelings on this book, so I will keep it brief.

Enjoyed the structure and writing. The use of oral histories was interesting.

However, the belittlement of all other forces apart from the US was deeply annoying and sad. The author's idolization of Eisenhower was to the detrement of Montgomery in this account, and did not allow for an unbiased description of the leadership invovled in the campaign.

If I were a non-US fighting member of the AEF that day, I would find this account insulting, to say the least.

A simple caveat in the title stating the account to be of the US involvement that day and the dropping of the chapters involving the non-US beaches OR a complete, non biased historical account would have made this book one of the leading accounts of that day. Instead it is an intereting jingoistic account as it stands.
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57 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Proud to be a 'gutless' Brit, April 24, 2002
By A Customer
This is probably the most ethnomaniacal historical text I have ever read. Can one man deemed an 'expert' in his field really be this ignorant and narrow-minded? I spent several years living in the US and found the Americans to be a witty and intelligent bunch... so, for the life of me, I can't figure out why they hail this book as such a masterpiece.
Do American readers honestly believe the Brits 'couldn't fight for more than half an hour without stopping for a cup of tea' as Ambrose asserts? Do they believe the British were 'gutless' as Ambrose also seems intent to point out many times? I hope they don't fall for Ambrose's blather about the 'fury of an aroused democracy.' Even the most objective person has to concede that the United States did nothing to 'arouse' itself while Hitler ran rampant over Europe in 1939 and 1940 as Britain stood alone.
In D-Day, Ambrose pays little tribute to the British Tommy. And what attention he does give is peppered with ignorant comments based on narrow-minded stereotypes. My grandfather and his brother both fought for Britain in World War II. Not once can they recall stopping in the midst of a fire fight to brew a cup of Earl Gray. Suppose a historical text was published which asserted 'The Americans couldn't fight for more than half an hour without stopping to eat a hamburger...' Would you not consider that a disgusting insult to all the American GIs who paid the ultimate price for their country?
In the end it's a shame Ambrose fuels such ignorance about WWII history through his litarary flag-waving epics. Read Cornelius Ryan or John Keegan for a more objective and professional assessment of what happened on that magnificent day.
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39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars D-Day June 6 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War Two, February 7, 2002
By 
S Dempsey (Gettysburg PA USA) - See all my reviews
What did I find wrong with this volume? Let me count the ways!
This author gets many of his facts incorrect and makes statements that are pure fantasy. Here are only a couple:
1) The only US divisions committed to the Normandy order-of-battle with previous battle experience were the 1st and 82nd. This ignores the highly-veteran 9th Infantry Division and the 2nd Armored as well.
2) The British Army forces assigned to the campaign were "battle-Weary".Wrong. Some of the units involved had not seen action since 1940, while others had fought in the Western Desert but had many fresh officers and men.]
3) Had the young junior officers on Omaha beach been German and not American, they never would have possessed the personal initiative and decision-making abilities to extricate their troops from a bad situation. Wrong again. No officers of any combatant nation of WW2 had better training in these very areas than the Germans. Although products of an authoritarian state, this had no impact upon their abilities to 'think on their feet'; this was proven again and again when even in the very last days of the fighting, German officers and NCOs often demonstrated tactical and operational excellance well beyond that of many Allied counterparts (and I am NO Germanophile).
Finally, the title: 'The Climactic Battle of WW2"; taking nothing away from the efforts of the men who made such an incredible contribution to Allied victory, to state that D-Day was more "climactic" than Stalingrad, or Operation Bagration,is absurd.
I cannot recommend this volume to any serious historian.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Narrative with big holes, September 22, 1998
By A Customer
I liked his use of the soldier's point of view. But, all in all, a big disappointment. He didn't make good use of the maps to tell the story. For that matter, there should have been more maps.
The unpardonable thing was the way he treated what happened on the British and Canadian beaches, all of which got a couple of small chapters at the end. It was almost as if saying, oh, by the way, there were some Brits around who landed on a couple of beaches.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well rounded accurate portrayal of D-Day, June 24, 1999
By A Customer
As a Canadian, I would like to say that finally someone has accurately represented the Canadian contribution to the invasion. Ambrose graphically portrayed Omaha beach as a meatgrinder to which Juno Beach was compared. It was a relief to finally see the Canadians given credit due for assaulting a beach whose defences were almost as formidable as Omaha's. Many excerps about Juno that I have read, portrayed Juno Beach as an easy assault and that there were relatively few casualties.
Ambrose also brought to light the shortcomings of the Allied force which included it's lack of training for hedgerow fighting. This is a point that has never been explored and I think that the military authorities from all nations represented at Normandy would like us all to believe that the troops going ashore were superbly trained in all facets of combat. This was just not true and I'm glad that Ambrose brought this to light. We tend to forget that after the battle was won, there was still 11 more months of war left in the ETO where inadequately trained men (see Citizen Soldiers) were thrown into battle.
Overall an outstanding book. Ambrose represented fairly all major combatants and didn't hold any punches about the realities of war. I have read the book three times (yes, I do enjoy reading it) and each time I am so thankful that my generation has it's freedom because of what those men acccomplished on the beach that morning of June 6, 1944. Thank you Mr. Ambrose.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Biased?, July 17, 2002
By A Customer
I loved this book. I have rarely read such an informative and 'on the beach' account of the d-day landings. There are a huge number of personal accounts and experiences of people who were actually there. Its actually very interesting to note how many small details the film Saving private Ryan apparently took from this book (e.g. Cross of david on the back of a Rangers tunic, Brooklyn, NY.)
However after reading most of Stephen E. Ambrose's work an overiding theme occurs. Acording to Ambrose, the second world war was entirely won by the American nation. Despite several years of war before the US became involved, Ambrose consistantly portraits all non-American allied forces as bumbling fools. I really feel that Ambrose is an amazing historian who really needs to let go his bias and accept that no single nation was capable of winning the war.
All up one of the best accounts of D-Day I've ever read but please Stephen, relax, America was essential in winning the war, but they didn't do it alone, and the rest of the world survived several years before the US got involved. What can I say, Theres no US in team.
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D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches
D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches by Stephen E. Ambrose (Paperback - June 5, 2002)
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