D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
This is the best one-volume history of the invasion of Normandy yet written.
After countless books and movies, it’s hard to imagine that there is much left to write about the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France in June 1944. But as Antony Beevor demonstrates in D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, our knowledge of this military campaign – like any part of history that becomes very familiar – benefits considerably from fresh eyes and exhaustive research.Skip to next paragraph
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Beevor argues that the D-Day invasion must be seen as part of a much larger campaign. The invasion itself is only the first part of the story. It was what happened after D-Day, in the brutal fighting among the hedgerows and small towns of Normandy, that ultimately enabled the Allies to push the Germans out of France. This broader and longer struggle, from the invasion to the liberation of Paris, is the subject of this extensively researched, well-written, and insightful volume.
Beevor is one of the most influential and prolific military historians currently writing about World War II. His books are characterized by exhaustive research, careful analysis of the strategic and tactical decisions on all sides, an emphasis on the fighting as experienced by front-line soldiers, and an unrivaled ability to convey in clear language the horror of warfare.
He tells the story of the Normandy campaign chronologically beginning with the mobilization of the men and materiel in Britain. This is followed by four separate chapters that analyze the invasion beaches and a fifth that summarizes the effort to secure them. The remainder of the book examines what it took for the Allies to break out of Normandy and to liberate Paris at the end of August. Individual chapters are devoted to major aspects of the campaign such as Caen, Villers-Bocage, the Cotentin Peninsula, Saint-Lô, and the Falaise pocket.
Beevor clearly admires some of the military leaders on both sides, such as Dwight Eisenhower and Erwin Rommel. Among the Americans, Omar Bradley is portrayed as solid and careful while George Patton, the allied general the Germans most feared, is vain, aggressive, and extraordinarily effective. He also makes clear who he thinks fell short: British Gen. Bernard Montgomery comes across as pompous, self-serving, and ineffective.