From Publishers Weekly
Just as his father captured the heart of the Civil War with such fine novels as The Killer Angels, Shaara has done the same with his tremendous non-fiction saga of the Allied landings on Omaha Beach in Normandy. Anthony Heald is an ideal reader; his authority relays the epic story in a way that never loses track of the humans affected by war. He brings historical figures like Eisenhower and Rommel to life, but his best work is portraying the ordinary troops who did the war's heavy lifting. The audiobook feels like a group of soldiers and sailors sitting around in a VFW lounge, swapping stories of the greatest event in their lives, with Heald giving their memories voice. The abridgement trims the book but not its power. A Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 31).
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This is the second volume of Shaara’s planned trilogy of novels dealing with America’s role in World War II in Europe. Here Shaara’s topic is D-Day, the Allied effort to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe by amphibious landings on the coast of Normandy. With decades of hindsight, the success of the Normandy invasion may seem inevitable and a tribute to Allied forces. As Shaara’s fine novel illustrates, however, success was far from assured, and the planning fell short in numerous ways. Paratroopers missed their drop sites by miles; air cover for the debarking troops was sporadic; and units became quickly separated on the beaches. On the German side, similar confusion reigned. Although this is technically a work of fiction, Shaara again relies on actual historical figures to tell his story, including Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Rommel, and von Rundstedt. Although the dialogue is invented, Shaara knows the men and the material so their thoughts and conversations are credible. In the end, it appears, Allied success was due to the actions of hundreds of ordinary soldiers, who combined courage with the ability to improvise when the best laid plans broke down, as they so often do in war. --Jay Freeman
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