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Neptune: Allied Invasion of Europe and the The D-Day Landings 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199986118
ISBN-10: 0199986118
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Editorial Reviews


"[A] fascinating, multi-layered story... Symonds has an excellent eye for telling details and arresting quotes from the ordinary participants." --Daily Beast

"Neptune is a sweeping account . . . Symonds is lucid and incisive. His writing is as good as Rick Atkinson's . . . accessible, sharp and faithful to the human foibles of the protagonists whose plans and courage bore fruit on June 6, 1944." --ARMY

"Excellent... Symonds has produced a terrific account of the heroic role the U.S. Navy played in making the D-Day landings a success." --Charleston Post and Courier

"Symonds employs his extensive knowledge and skill at synthesis to turn an oft-told story into vibrant on-the-scene history... Symonds touches all the bases... The landing is especially well narrated. Solid writing has the reader feeling the suspense, where the outcome is already known." --Sea History

"[A]n impressive account... Most accounts of the D-Day invasion start with landing craft opening their gates as courageous men rush out into German gun fire, Symond's brilliant narrative starts years earlier with American entry into WWII. The reader gains an incredible appreciation for the logistical masterpiece completed by Allied leaders and the careful, all-important buildup of the 'special relationship' between the United States and Great Britain... a must read for this year's important 70th Anniversary of D-Day." --Breitbart.com

"Neptune is unquestionably a work that makes major contributions to the field... a finely written piece of history... It is very readable and hard to put down." --Proceedings

"In Neptune, prolific naval historian and longtime US Naval Academy professor (now emeritus) Craig Symonds describes in fascinating detail Allied planning and preparation for the defeat of Germany in 1944 . . . Neptune fills a lacuna in D-day literature by its unusually thorough treatment of the naval requirements for the successful invasion of northern Europe. And, too, his extensive use of archival materials and relevant personal papers and documents allows him to elucidate the naval planning, preparation, and organization for Operation Neptune in far greater detail than do previous works." --Michigan War Studies Review

"In this well-written, engaging volume, Craig Symonds, Professor Emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, makes an original contribution to the historiography of the Normandy landings... Symonds masterfully mixes the big picture, operational descriptions with colorful, illuminating firsthand accounts from the sailors.... Symonds has an especially strong feel for naval command. His personal profiles and assessment of the key leaders such as Bertram Ramsay, Alan Kirk, Morton Deyo, Philip Vian, and Don Moon are arresting and unforgettable. One suspects that his analysis of these important personalities will substantially influence and inform subsequent generations of Neptune historians...Neptune is a truly original and important contribution, one that substantially rounds out our understanding of the Normandy invasion." --Robert C. McMannus, Journal of Military History

"This superb volume is the first comprehensive account in a half century of the vital naval operations that lifted the liberating legions to France, landed them on D-Day, and supported them. Craig Symonds ranges with easy command from often fractious strategic planning sessions to the searing experiences of young sailors in the crucible of fire-drenched beaches. Neptune is at once an important scholarly contribution and a great read." --Richard B. Frank, author of Guadalcanal and Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

"Craig L. Symonds, one of America's greatest military historians, scores a triumph with Neptune. In this masterpiece of historical scholarship Symonds sheds new light on how FDR mobilized the U.S. Navy for the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. His archival work is dazzling. Highly recommended!" --Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University, CBS News Historian, and author of The Boys of Point du Hoc

"Craig Symonds brings to vivid life the Allied assault from the sea on Normandy. He has written a clear, comprehensive, and often thrilling account of the massive and complex invasion--a tale of heroism and folly, genius and muddle. Neptune is an invaluable contribution to the history and literature of D-Day." --Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and Ike's Bluff

"The prose is distinguished by the author's ability to simultaneously present an academic history supported by excellent research while captivating the reader with the individual narratives of soldiers and sailors who participated in the operation. Symonds has crafted an enjoyable and informative read for anyone interested in the history of WWII." --Publishers Weekly

"Acclaimed naval historian Symonds has the teacher's patient touch and big-picture knowledge to accessibly present the truly incredible scope of this largely naval endeavor." --Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Craig L. Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is the author of many books on American naval history, including The Battle of Midway and Lincoln and His Admirals, co-winner of the Lincoln Prize in 2009.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199986118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199986118
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary K. McCormick VINE VOICE on March 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Craig L. Symonds has done a great favor for WW II history enthusiasts by bringing us the story of Operation Neptune in such a readable form. A book detailing the politics, logistics, and personalities that form the story behind the greatest military sealift operation ever mounted could be bogged down in names, dates, and places - and though Symonds' book doesn't stint on detail, it never gets bogged down, and is very readable.

The book does a great job of giving the reader an appreciation of the scope of the task that was laid out before the Allied personnel who were responsible for the planning and execution of Operation Neptune, or a greater appreciation if you were already somewhat familiar with the events. Symonds paints a wonderfully complete picture of the political maneuvering and compromises that underlay the invasion, the adjustments in planning that were made as Allied military operations preceding Neptune/Overlord moved the Allies up the learning curve (the Torch and Husky operations, in North Africa and Sicily, in particular), and how military actions in the Mediterranean and Pacific Theaters affected the availability of ships and other materiél required for Neptune.

But "Neptune" isn't only about politics and logistics. The chapters dealing with the operations as they took place, while men and materiél were being landed on the Normandy beaches, are thrilling -- and moving -- reading, full of acts of heroism and sacrifice.

This book is a noteworthy addition to the body of work chronicling the greatest military conflict the world has ever seen, and belongs in the collection of anyone with an interest in WW II history.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In his most recent book, "Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings" (2014) Craig Symonds tells the story of Normandy with a focus on the role of individuals in an enormous undertaking. Symonds tells the reader that the invasion of the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944 bore the designation "Operation Overlord" while everything that came before it, "including the surge across the Channel and the landing itself" was part of Operation Neptune.

Symonds (b. 1946) taught at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis for many years. He is a prolific author on the Civil War whose books include a highly-praised study of Lincoln's role in the war at sea, Lincoln and His Admirals and a biography of the enigmatic Confederate general, Joseph Johnston Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography (Norton Paperback). Symonds has also written an earlier book about WW II on the Battle of the Midway.

Symonds conveys the background, scope, and extraordinary character of the Normandy invasion. Eloquently written and well-organized his book tells the broad story with an eye for specifics as well. Symonds has a gift for writing military history in a technically sophisticated way that remains accessible for non-specialists.

Besides telling the facts and background of the invasion -- the events and the participants -- Symonds writes with passion and with a sense of meaning that gives importance to facts. He describes heroism.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My very first thought when I picked up this book was not to expect much. I have read a fair percentage of the history of D-Day, and of the planning and politics behind it. I came away pleasantly surprised. While Symonds may not have broke much new ground-there were no major new revelations- he does do a marvelous job of pulling together a single narrative of what was going on.

=== The Good Stuff ===

* Symonds writes well, avoiding the usual academic nonsense of fifteen letter words and two hundred word sentences. His writing is not the usual 8th grade level we have come to expect, but what have been called high school level English when I went to school. His facts are well supported by references, and the bibliography seems quite comprehensive.

* There is a nice mix of material in the book. Symonds touches on strategic-level concerns such as the decision to prioritize Germany over Japan, but also delves into the details of how ammunition replenishment was handled on D-Day. He also spans the gamut of characters from purely military to purely political persons, and captures their concerns and actions quite well. FDR is as much a part of the book as the private getting bounced around in a Landing Craft.

* While the book is not full of amazing revelations, it is very comprehensive, and covered quite a bit of material that I had not read previously, but which was relevant to the battle. Even the most well-read WWII fan will find some reward in reading this book.

=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===

* Symonds takes the role of a faithful reporter, but shies away from any role as an analysts or critic of what was going on.
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