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The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944--The American War from the Normandy Beaches to Falaise Paperback – August 25, 2005
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Long on engrossing combat vignettes but short on historical perspective, this fine-grained narrative covers some 80 days of the American campaign in France, from the bloody stalemate in the hedgerows to the decisive breakout and defeat of the German army in Normandy. In line with the Stephen Ambrose school of populist historiography that sees the campaign as the Greatest Generations finest hour, military historian McManus (The Americans at D-Day, etc.) challenges historians who have characterized the U.S. Armys performance as sluggish, tactically inept and dependent on a colossal superiority in numbers and firepower over its German opponents. He does so by focusing on the battlefield exploits of small infantry units and individual GIs, whom he feels displayed plenty of drive and tactical ingenuity. These well-paced and often moving stories, based on veterans first-hand reminiscences, are full of blood and guts, squalor and heroism, pathos and despair, and they add up to an indelible portrait of the horror of war. But McManuss conclusion that the Americans were "better soldiers" than the Germans is both unfair and untenable. The details of his account make clear that American infantry tactics did indeed rely on the crushing assistance of tanks, artillery and airpower. Meanwhile, he avoids meticulous comparisons of front-line strengths that would reveal how hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned the Wehrmacht was, while his exclusive interest in the American side neglects the tactical achievements German soldiers pulled off with incomparably skimpier resources. The many war stories McManus offers make for a gripping read, but they add up to a seriously biased picture of the Allied victory.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
McManus, a professor of military history, follows up his widely praised Americans at D Day with a worthy successor. The narrative begins the day after the Normandy landings. There is a common misconception that, with the beachheads secured, success was a foregone conclusion, because of overwhelming Allied materiel and numerical superiority. McManus convincingly refutes that assumption. From the beaches to the hedgerows to the breakout and slaughter at the Falaise gap, the Americans fought bravely, effectively, and often brilliantly against a tenacious and well-led opponent. McManus seamlessly weaves the experiences of individual soldiers into the broader strategic picture. The result is a tough, inspiring, but often heartrending portrait of ordinary men compelled to do extraordinary things in combat. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book provides an excellent overview of American strategy and objectives, but I feel it's best feature is the many personal recollections by the men (and some women) who were actually there: tankers, artillerymen, medics, paratroopers, pilots and of course, infantrymen. Truly a great collection of oral history, all woven together into a narrative which flows smoothly and doesn't bounce all over the place. I will say the maps could have been better, but I really didn't feel I needed them.
This is the third book I've read by John McManus on the fighting in Normandy, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
I just couldn't put it down. The book is detailed in its geographic references and I could find
the many locations on Google EarthLink. It is an eyewitness account of many of the events of that day.
It brings a realism to the events and at times the descriptions of the realities of war will make you
pause, even for a vet like myself. My dad served during this time in France and some of his descriptions
are confirmed in this book.
As I stood in the cemetery above Omaha Beach, I was glad I had read this book and could piece together
some of what these heros experienced and how truly blessed I was to be an American and in their presence.
This book will soon be available in Kindle form.