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Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign [Paperback]

Carlo d'Este
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 April 2004
Field Marshal Montgomery's battleplan for Normandy, following the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, resulted in one of the most controversial campaigns of the Second World War. Carlo D'Este's acclaimed book gives the fullest possible account of the conception and execution of Montgomery's plan, with all its problems and complexities. It brings to light information from diaries, papers and letters that were not available in Montgomery's lifetime adn draws on interviews with senior officers who were involved in the campaign and have refrained from speaking out until now.

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Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign + Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944 (Pan Military Classics) + Michelin Historical Map 102: : Battle of Normandy (Michelin Historical Maps)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (29 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141017619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141017617
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Lt Col. Carlo D'Este retired from the US army in 1978 to write full time. His books include Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily 1943, Patton: A Genius for War, World War II in the Mediterranean 1942-1945, and Eisenhower: Allied Supreme Commander. He is currently writing a military biography of Churchill, Warlord, which will be published by Allen Lane.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and impartial account 22 July 2009
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I would not say the best on the Normandy campaign - because that depends what your requirements are! If you're purely interested in the fighting, you're better off with Max Hastings' "Overlord" or John Keegan's 'six armies in Normandy'.
D'Este's book has a lot more about the grand strategy, including 'the war between the generals' - but a lot better written and documented than the Irving book on that subject! There is a lot of dissection of Montgomery's decisions, directives and letters, as well as post-facto arguments. And all very well documented. despite arguments in other Amazon reviews that D'Este is biased, I find him quite impartial; he reveals Monty's weaknesses, as well as Bradley's loathing for Montgomery, but also gives hono(u)rs to these two where due. He also gives the background for Montgomery's and Dempsey's caution - the very limited resources by this time, Britain coming to the end of her manpower; plus their problems with the strategic air forces; plus their *inability* to believe in American *ability* to move rapidly - once out of that wretched bocage and those swamps. Having said that, the book is mostly about the British and Canadian Army fronts, as it focuses on Montgomery; the American front is not mentioned very much.

To me, D'Este is fair; and he has done his research. My only criticisms are what comes over as excessive detail to bolster his arguments, and the maps that lack some placenamens that appear again and again in the text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on the campaign 20 Dec 2012
By Tim62 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book on the Normandy Campaign. The old US vs Brits/Canadians argument will probably never go away - judging by the tone of some other comments here. D'Este's point is not so much against the performance of individual British or Canadian units - who as others rightly note - did have the majority of elite SS and Panzer divisions ranged against them - but more Montgomery's handling of his part of the battle at the time - and his subsequent re-writing of history afterwards.

For all its undoubted bravery and dogged determination, the Anglo-Canadian 21st Army group was not as good in the exploitation phase of the battle as the US armies. This is not being anti-British or revisionist, but merely a recognition that for all their faults - US commanders were able to better integrate and utilise their troops and resources.

Montgomery would have been better served by being more honest in the run-up to D-Day - promising to take Caen so soon was hopelessly optimistic - and should have been more honest in his dealings with Ike and Brad during the campaign. But I also agree that he was acutely aware that he had the only British army there was - and it was going to get smaller - as Britain was running short of avaialble manpower - something US commanders did not have to worry about.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let down 3 Jun 2008
By Carl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While others have rated this work highly, it should be noted that this book (even the newly published 2000 version) is extremely bias and now outdated by more modern works.

My main critique is that D'Este spends what appears to be large amount of the book overly criticising the Anglo-Canadian armed forces and there commanders while not also doing the same for the Americans or Germans. In fact he spends the entire of Chapter 16 on this subject and then in a single footnote tells readers to go elsewhere for any criticism of the American forces. While this may be only one chapter, this trend is throughout the book and makes one question the author's bias and reliability when talking about the Anglo-Canadians.

The work is also now very outdated and there are a large number of books which can replace this one work especially when covering single battles or operations where I feel it is at its weakest and in some places littered with errors.

While D'Este does bring up some good points during the course of the book I would recommend loaning a copy and not buying one.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save your money 11 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback
The campaign for Normandy must at all times be seen in relation to the strategic plan as laid down by Montgomery before the invasion was started, the big plan to which the Americans, the Canadians (yes, they played a big part!) and the British were ALL working. The tying down of the Germans in the east by the Canadians/British so as to allow the Americans to break out in the west. Monty said it would take 90 days. And that is what happened!

For a much more balanced and mature view on this great campaign, see Robin Neilland's "The Battle of Normandy 1944".
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