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Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe (Zenith Graphic Histories) Paperback – September 15, 2012

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Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe (Zenith Graphic Histories) + Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Graphic Histories) + Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America's Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of The Civil War (Zenith Graphic Histories)
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Product Details

  • Series: Zenith Graphic Histories
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press (September 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760343926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760343920
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The thing that most people notice first about the region is the quiet, pastoral setting. The slow waters of the Douve and Vire rivers where the cattle come right down to drink and eat the buttercups and mallows. The wagtails, kingfishers, and dragonflies darting among the hedgerows. The tall cornfields in the shadow of the l'abbaye d'ardenne near Caen. It is a region that both time and history seems to have passed by. History, however, would cast its shadow across this region in many strange and terrible ways. It was in the town of Falaise, in 1027, that a young girl named Arlette would give birth to the illegitimate son of Robert the Devil, Duke of Normandy. Despite the circumstances of his birth, young William would embark for the invasion of Britain, destined to meet Harold of England on the fields of Hastings . . . . . . in the summer of 1944, history would again cast it's shadow across normandy . . . and the devil would return to Falaise.

Winston Churchill (in a radio speech to Nazi-occupied France in October, 1940)

". . . goodnight then. Sleep to gather strength for the morning, for the morning will come. Brightly will shine on the brave and the true: kindly on all who suffer for the cause. Vive la france!"

By the spring of 1944, Nazi Germany was in retreat on every front. after many huge and bloody battles on the Russian front, the soviet army had pushed the Germans back to the Polish border. In Italy, the British and Americans had captured Rome. Allied bombers made raids on German industry day and night. Nonetheless, allied planners in London knew that if they were to defeat Germany, they had to cross the English channel and invade the European continent itself. Now, after four 4 years, the "morning" that Mr. Churchill had spoken about was about to dawn.


"I am very pleased to have discovered a new history graphic novel series, beginning with Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day: The Allied Invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe which is both written and illustrated by Wayne Vansant. Other books will follow, on subjects including Gettysburg, Civil War Generals Grant and Lee, and the Bombing of Nazi Germany. The series is aimed at teen readers, but I find it's great for adults interested in experiencing history through the graphic novel medium. I recommend this book and the forthcoming books in the series to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and/or history, and for those older kids in your life who are having a hard time getting into history. We will definitely be using it for our homeschooling curriculum when my kids are a bit older." - Geek Dad

"â?¿ absolutely one of the most phenomenal things I've ever read. It was like reading a textbook except it was interesting. These are fantasticâ?¿ I love these things. I wish I had these when I was in school because I probably would have learned a hell of a lot more." -

"What a glorious book, vivid, accurate, utterly bewitching." â?? Alex Kershaw, bestselling author of The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice

"Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day; The Allied Invasion of Fortress Europe, adopts the comic-book, graphic-novel style of illustrated panels accompanied by a bit of text to tell the story of the June 6, 1944, invasion of France through the August 25 entry into Paris. Unlike the mostly-for-entertainment comics of my childhood, this book gives an accurate overview of the events it relates and provides a surprising amount of detail, given its limited-text, just-over-100-pages format. It isn't just for younger readers, either, although it would serve as a great introduction to the Normandy campaign for pre-teens and teens. Wayne Vansant found the right mix of text and illustration in creating this book. The short sentence structure imposed by the graphic novel format adds to the story, giving an enhanced sense of action and urgency. It's a good, short, informative read for adults and an excellent tool for introducing younger readers to the story of D-Day. Highly recommended." -

"If you have a nostalgic affection for comic books--I mean (ahem!) graphic histories--or if you enjoy reading and collecting them today, you'll certainly want to get a copy of this one. I'd also recommend it as a gift for any young reader you think might be developing into an enthusiast of military history." - World at War

"This book is a fine work for someone looking for a quick overview of the Allied campaign in Normandy or for someone who would appreciate its visual stimulation. It is perfect for a youngster or a novice that needs to get familiar with D-Day and subsequent events associated with the battle." - Air Power History

More About the Author

I was born and raised near Atlanta, GA, and served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. I graduated from the Atlanta College of Art in 1975 and have had many jobs, including being a salesman, security guard, milk delivery man, and the Director of Security for a large art museum.

I began my writing and illustration career in 1986 with Marvel Comics' "Savage Tales" and "The 'Nam." Since then I have written and/or illustrated many books and comics on historical/military subjects such as Battle Group Peiper, Days of Darkness, Antietam: The Fiery Trial (commissioned by the National Park Service), Blockade: The Civil War at Sea, The War in Korea, The Hammer and the Anvil (profiling Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass), Normandy (profiling D-Day and the entire Normandy Campaign), Gettysburg (profiling the Battle of Gettysburg), and many others.

I am currently working on graphic histories of the Battle of the Bulge, Manfred von Richthofen, aka the Red Baron, and and am finishing up my Russian Front trilogy entitled Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Patriotic War, which is currently available as an eBook on Comics Plus, a leading comics book app.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful graphic novel about D-Day.
M. Knight
This graphic novel is the story of the Allied forces and their endeavors from June 5 through early August 1944, the Normandy Campaign.
Pvt. W.G. Kirby
I would have preferred a standard 7" X 10" size trade, that is the standard for comic book trade collections.
D. Berkebile

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on February 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book was glorious. It presented the invasion vividly. The Allied forces sure kicked Rommel's butt, and although the American forces had many casualties, the Germans were defeated. After the Allies liberated France, people revealed hidden Tri-Color French flags.

I was interested to learn about the problem of French hedgerows and how an American sargent (Curtis Cullin) improvised a brush-cutter out of the beach barricades in order to leave the tanks less vulnerable as they crossed the fields. Thank you Curtis!

The book also talked about a German tank commander named Michael Wittmann and his Tiger tank. This was a powerful weapon that destroyed a group of Shermans very quickly and then took out part of a convoy. The allies finished him off by using British Fireflies (a British type of tank) that sent a disabling shot into the tank. Michael Wittman and his crew escaped. There was good tank action in this book. It feels like you're stuck in the middle of battle, but you're safe. But you're watching in horror.

The drawings of the Avro Lancasters were really great. That's my favorite British plane. The air war made the difference in the invasion's success. If it weren't for the RAF and the Allied air forces, the invasion might not have succeeded.

I'm eleven years old, and this is a really good book. I learned a lot.

This book had really good maps, and it was in color. That helped me a lot. The blood was not too bloody -- just scribbles.

Parent note: my son says blood and guts included.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erik Gilg on March 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan on Vansant's work - I have read Vietnam, The Hammer and the Anvil, and Katusha (only released in eBook). Overall he has a great sense of storytelling and historical accuracy that make his work the best kind of history - it is deeply narrative and has a nice line going straight through the story.

Normandy is a history of the first two months of the Normandy campaign beginning with the moments before D-Day leading up until the liberation of Paris in August, 1944. Vansant captures individual stories amid the larger story of the largest amphibious assault in history.

I LOVE graphic non-fiction and consider Vansant to be among the best practicing the art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Higgins on November 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a tremendous graphic history of D-Day to the Liberation of Paris. Both the history and the artwork are top-notch. This graphic history should be in every High School Modern American History class as a part of the required reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim Broumley on February 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was the first nonfiction "graphic novel" I've read and I enjoyed it a great deal. I think the history is good and well written. The graphics are also excellent and entertaining. There are a small number of criticisms, like on page 75 the author states that we "had our tank aces too" and mentions Sgt Lafayette Pool of the 3rd Armored Division, but doesn't say what made him a "tank ace." At the same time, however, the book actually mentioned some things I did not know about the Normandy Campaign, like on page 59 where Vansant tells us that Sgt Curtis Culin of the 79th Infantry Division invented the "Hedgerow Cutter" that mounted on armored vehicles to help them bust through hedgerows.

I enjoyed the book, no doubt, but I still like to get my history from a traditional book or documentary. However, I wonder, and hope, that this kind of history book would engage anyone, not just the young. And anything that gets more people tuned in to history is more than okay with me.
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Format: Paperback
This is a graphical history book done with the same attention to art as a graphic novel. No simple comic book, this is graphic art with more detail and color as well as length than the comic books we read when we were growing up.

It is art since it connects the reader to the past through emotion. And it is historical. Vansant illustrates (quite literally in this case) the Allied and Axis sides of the Normandy Invasion — heroes and war criminals — great decision makers and bad decision makers. He also addresses, and has the reader have a sense of, the terrible destruction suffered by the civilian populace.

The invasion is not only about D-Day, it is about the ramp up to D-Day through the liberation of Paris two months after the Allies first stormed Fortress Europe. Vansant describes the strategic overview of many of the battles which took place, leaving no involved nationality without mention — quite unbiased with regard to national perspective. Especially poignant is the story told of the Polish 1st Armored Division and the defense of Mont-Ormel at the “Mace” (Maczuga, in Pole) with their loss of 325 against the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions — though the spoils of war would not allow them to return to the homeland they left. Feats of many Wermacht soldiers are also told. Vansant’s objective approach makes this book’s writing more by an historian since he applies so much context with little in the way of a particular side’s amplified glorification. The Waffen-SS tank commander Michael Wittman’s exploits and leadership clearly illustrate that brave and dedicated soldiers were on both sides — and explains the obvious, why the battle took so many weeks and at a tremendous cost.

Airpower is addressed just as well as the infantry and armor aspects of the combat.
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