"Glorious, horrifying...D-Day is a vibrant work of history that honors the sacrifice of tens of thousands of men and women."—Time
Beevor's Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available from Viking Books
Renowned historian Antony Beevor, the man who "single-handedly transformed the reputation of military history" (The Guardian) presents the first major account in more than twenty years of the Normandy invasion and the liberation of Paris. This is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. Beevor draws upon his research in more than thirty archives in six countries, going back to original accounts and interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action. D-Day is the consummate account of the invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to Paris's liberation.
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, 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.
I thought the book is very well put together. I had a persnickety problem with the reader's accents. It must be a confusing task to be German, French, Yorkshire and then A MERican in the course of two breaths, but speaking as an American... We just don't talk that way...