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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy Hardcover – October 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Beevor has established a solid reputation as a chronicler of WWII's great eastern front battles: Stalingrad and Berlin. In addressing D-Day, he faces much wider competition with historians like Stephen Ambrose and Max Hastings, who also use his method of integrating personal experiences, tactical engagements, operational intentions and strategic plans. Beevor combines extensive archival research with a remarkable sense of the telling anecdote: he quotes, for example, an officer's description of the bloody mass of arms and legs and heads, [and] cremated corpses created by artillery fire as the Germans tried to escape the Allied breakout. He is sharply critical of senior commanders on both sides: Bernard Montgomery's conceit; Adolf Hitler's self-delusion; Dwight Eisenhower's mediocrity. His heroes are the men who took the invasion ashore and carried it forward into Normandy in the teeth of a German defense whose skill and determination deserved a better cause. The result was a battle of attrition: a bloody slog that tested British and American fighting power to the limit—but not beyond. Beevor says that it wasn't Allied forces' material superiority but their successful use of combined arms and their high learning curve that were decisive in a victory that shaped postwar Europe. Maps, illus. (Oct. 13)
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"Absorbing... The reader finished this accessible history with the sense he has had a 360-degree look at Operation Overlord and its multinational cast... Terrifing reading."—USA Today
"A dramatic, important, and instructive story, and Beevor tells it surpassingly well."—The Washington Post
"Where the book really scores is in its eye for the operational detail and its vivid reconstructions of the experience of battle, as unavoidable courage mixes with arbitrary tragedy."—Lawrence Freedman, Foreign Affairs
"Beevor excels in recounting, from interviews with veterans and from the testimony of soldiers' letters and reports, just what a bloody campaign the invasion was... Beevor is especially gripping in his account of the U.S. 120th Infantry... Beevor is to be commended for emphasizing a troubling theme: the inferiority of much Allied equipment."—The Wall Street Journal
"His account of atrocities on both sides, of errors committed and of surpassing bravery makes for excellent - though often blood-soaked - reading. Beevor gets better with each book."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Beevor has written an in-depth campaign history...that should be read by beginners and experts alike."—Library Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
The book gives you a real sense of what it was like for both the common soldier and the commanders. It highlights the frictions experienced between different nationalities and different arms of the service. Importantly, it also conveys the highly successful, if not ultimately doomed, resistance of the German forces facing the largest invasion fleet in history.
It highlights the struggles and challenges the invaders faced that in many cases could only be overcome with the application of total air supremacy. This, however, does not detract from the amazing achievements of average soldier who successfully stormed Hitler's vaunted Fortress Europa and accelerated the end of Nazi Germany.
This book is a must read for war historians and those seeking to understand the momentous events of the 6th of June 1944.
This treatment of D-Day is the most logical as it spans from preparation of the invasion to the liberation of Paris. June 6th itself will always be an incredible day in history but including the bocage fighting, the breakout, and entering Paris provides greater context and understanding to D-Day overall. I read The Longest Day about thirty years ago and approximately twenty other books on D-Day since and believe that Beevor's is the most holistic and balanced especially his insights into German strategy and response.
As a proud Canadian, I appreciated his treatment of the Canadian contribution. Many of the histories have given the subject short shrift. The 'what-ifs' Beevor explores regarding the taking of Caen breaks new ground. Obviously mistakes were made and his new theories are incredibly interesting and valuable for the debate. I also appreciated the photographs included because many I had not seen before. And facts like most allied tanks were knocked out by artillery and close order anti-tank weapons rather than the vaunted and feared Tigers and Panthers add more texture and insight.
I highly recommend this work along with his others mentioned at the top of the review.