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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy [Paperback]

Antony Beevor
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 May 2010

The Normandy Landings that took place on D-Day involved by far the largest invasion fleet ever known. The scale of the undertaking was simply awesome. What followed them was some of the most cunning and ferocious fighting of the war, at times as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. As casualties mounted, so too did the tensions between the principal commanders on both sides. Meanwhile, French civilians caught in the middle of these battlefields or under Allied bombing endured terrible suffering. Even the joys of Liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation but the whole of the post-war world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe.

Making use of overlooked and new material from over thirty archives in half a dozen countries, D-Day is the most vivid and well-researched account yet of the battle of Normandy. As with Stalingrad and Berlin, Antony Beevor's gripping narrative conveys the true experience of war.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 632 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 May 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141048131
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141048130
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Antony Beevor was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, where he studied under John Keegan. A regular officer with the 11th Hussars, he left the Army to write. He has published four novels, and ten books of non-fiction. His work has appeared in more than thirty foreign editions. His books include The Spanish Civil War; Inside the British Army; Crete -- The Battle and the Resistance, which was awarded a Runciman Prize, and Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper). He has also contributed to several books including The British Army, Manpower and Society into the Twenty-First Century, edited by Hew Strachan and to Russia - War, Peace & Diplomacy in honour of the late John Erickson.
Stalingrad, first published in 1998, won the first Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1999. The British edition was a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback. Berlin - The Downfall 1945, published in 2002, was accompanied by a BBC Timewatch programme on his research into the subject. It has been a No. 1 Bestseller in seven countries as well as Britain, and in the top five in another nine countries. The book received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award.
In May 2004, he published The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, which describes the experiences of the Chekhov and Knipper families from before the Russian revolution until after the Second World War. His Russian research assistant Dr Lyubov Vinogradova and he edited and translated the war time papers of the novelist Vasily Grossman, published in September 2005 as A Writer at War - Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945.
He has also published a completely revised edition of his 1982 history of the Spanish Civil War, with a great deal of new material from Spanish sources and foreign archives. This came out in Spain in September 2005 as La guerra civil española where it became the No.1 Bestseller and received the La Vanguardia prize for non-fiction. It appeared in English in spring, 2006, as The Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. It has been a top ten bestseller in eight countries.
D-Day - The Battle for Normandy, published in June 2009, has been a No 1 Bestseller in seven countries, including the UK and France, and in the top ten in another eight countries. It has received the Prix Henry Malherbe in France and the Duke of Westminster Medal from the Royal United Services Institute.
His most recent book, The Second World War, published in June 2012, is being translated into twenty-one languages. It has already been a No 1 bestseller in Britain and four other countries, and a bestseller in another four. Altogether, more than five million copies of his books have been sold.
Antony Beevor was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1997 and in 2008 was awarded the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He was the 2002-2003 Lees-Knowles lecturer at Cambridge. In 2003, he received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. He is also Visiting Professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In September 2003, he succeeded Philip Pullman as Chairman of the Society of Authors and handed over to Helen Dunmore in September, 2005. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and the University of Bath. He was a judge of the British Academy Book Prize and the David Cohen Prize in 2004, and is a member of the Samuel Johnson Prize steering committee. He is married to the writer and biographer Artemis Cooper and they have a daughter Nella and a son Adam.

Product Description


As near as possible to experiencing what it was like to be there. . . It is almost impossible for a reader not to get caught up in the excitement (Giles Foden Guardian)

No writer can surpass Beevor in making sense of a crowded battlefield and in balancing the explanation of tactical manoeuvres with poignant flashes of human detail (Christopher Silvester Daily Express) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Antony Beevor is the renowned author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and Berlin, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. His books have sold nearly four million copies. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
221 of 249 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a particularly good book on the subject 1 Jun 2009
By Marcus
I would like to warn others against this book. The main ideas and arguments it puts forward have already been dealt with far more competently by other authors. It also claims to be based on extensive new research but it is not. If you have already read widely on the subject of the Normandy landings and the campaign that followed then it may just be worth reading this book so that you can discuss its shortcomings honestly if required to do so.
If you are new or relatively new to this subject area then I would strongly recommend you read the following authors before you read Mr Beevors book as their work is far superior-
Max Hastings - Overlord
Carlo D'este - Decision in Normandy
Robert J Kershaw - D-Day
If you really want to go into the detail of German combat readiness and performance in this theatre- in a properly researched book - then I would also recommend-
Niklas Zetterling Normandy 1944.
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far too simplistic 13 July 2009
I was suspicious of the true historical value of this book after watching Antony Beevor commenting on the BBC during D Day commemorations. However, I took the plunge and ought the book as a holiday read. There is nothing of substance in the book and the text is littered with comments which originate from the mouths of 'Officers Mess Bores' and armchair experts and as such have little worth. The author tells us no more about D Day and the subsequent battle for Normandy than we already know. Beevor focuses on the failings on Monty which is not new. However, his constant referral to these failings when referring to the British influence on the battle became rather annoying. If you want a true history of the events, look elsewhere.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't add much to the subject 5 Jun 2009
How many books have been written about D-Day? Dozens? Hundreds? The question we must therefore ask ourselves is does this book add anything to the already impressive list?

And I have to say it doesn't really. Most of what is here has been revealed before. Sure there are some new "voices" from the battlefield and elsewhere but we have seen innumerable such "memoirs" over the past few years (I notice another of the "Forgotten voices" series specifically for D Day has recently been published)

Where Beevor scored with Stalingrad and Berlin was that he had access to new material released in Russia which allowed a whole new dimension to be opened. Such material must be pretty thin on the ground regarding D Day so there is not much that is new here.

It is apparent that such a huge concern needs a multi-volume work or indeed perusal of the many books that come up if you type in "D day" in the search engine above. (7000+ books!) My personal favourites have always been the Purnell History of World War 2 series of books that came out originally in the 60's. They were and are (if you can find copies) fascinating reading for anyone interested in the military events of the time.

Having said all that, this is still well written and easy to read which would make it serve as a good introduction to the events of the 6th of June (This piece is being written on the 65th anniversary of the eve of the battle) but for more detail you'd be better turning to many of the other books on the subject

One final thought, I note that some of the other reviews of this book are aghast at how Amerocentric this book is. Equally I notice that Robin Niellands' book for example is seen as being too Anglo/Canadian centric. Why not read both and then make up your own mind?
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210 of 243 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beevor's D Day, a job half done 1 Jun 2009
By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We all agree that Antony Beevor is a fine popular historian; you feel you are leaning over the Colonel's shoulder, maps spread out amid the confusion of battle. But D Day is more than a battle in France, it was an immense task conceived, organised and implemented then very hard fighting won. If you are interested in the Normandy campaign he is up to the task, but so too are a plethora of authors. What can Beevor add, could he link the pre 6th June preparation in equal measure to the fighting and present a complete D Day in one book? I wish he had given it a go.

Previous - serious - reviews suggest he has written a good but not an outstanding book. Given the confusion and complexity no one will ever write a definitive account. Of course narrative and academic historians will slog it out but for me it was a good "macro" account that added to the other books I have read. It is still the case D Day tends to be marginalised, gathering overwhelming forces in Southern England, a cross channel dash, some fighting against second tier troops, the allied generals -with "real time" Enigma intelligence - breaking out and processing to Germany. Allied air domination made it a turkey shoot. It was not like that and Bevoor details just how bloody the post invasion campaign was. Could the landing have been repelled on the beaches, or the breakout prevented? Disaster was real possibility, massive force never guaranteed success (ask the Romans). Beevor gave no sense of just how great the risks were.

D Day is a generic term for a staggeringly complex event. The harder you work, the luckier you get might be the real lesson. It demands an outstanding writer to present it to the general reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Incredible mix of broad history and detailed observation / anecdote. Like Beevor's previous books this one reads like an engrossing novel.
Published 1 month ago by Lisa Drage
1.0 out of 5 stars Beevor's Botched Book
A very disappointing book for any reader who has some sound knowledge of the campaign in Normandy.

I agree with the comments of the other more discerning reviewers in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. Sandeman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great value for money fast delivery
a book that helps me a lot, invaluable
I would recommend it to friends
Published 2 months ago by colin jeary
3.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed.
Well written and gives a good account of this momentous chapter in history. I learned quite a few things but the incredible detail may not be for everyone. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Allen Dewsnap
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good book
Another good read by Antony Beever
Good quality reading material that made an ideal present for all men.
Well packaged fast service
Published 3 months ago by D. Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Beevor's extensive and truthful research about days that changed the...
After D-Day as theme has already been written about a lot and countless movies were made, it's hard to imagine that there is much left to write about the invasion of occupied... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Denis Vukosav
5.0 out of 5 stars Beevor never fails to satisfy
Aside from the fact I realise my title for this review sounds a "bit risky", this book lives up to the very high standards of Stalingrad, with precise detail, good argument... Read more
Published 4 months ago by BobM
4.0 out of 5 stars A Defining History & Chronicle.
Brilliant writing and research brought into one volume. Let down by the very poor and infrequent maps which make the military reader ( me ) scream in frustration.
Published 4 months ago by omegaman
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, Antony Beevor does not disappoint
Having read 'Berlin, the Downfall', I decided to buy his story of the D day landings. Very interesting and a pleasure to read. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cautious rider
4.0 out of 5 stars D-Day Remembered
Very professionally written book covering the allied landings in Normandy and the defence put up by the axis. Must read for World War 2 enthusiasts.
Published 6 months ago by Richard
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