This is not a history of the 1944 landings and resulting battles; well, not a compete one anyway. Instead, it consists of a series of quick-draw, but detailed, portraits of the main protagonists, from Stilwell (yes, really) to Rommel, by way of Wedemeyer and Molotov (yes, really, again). This is to set the strategic scene quickly: buildup, politics, manpower issues, views and visions.
And then: the six armies, American paras, Canadian and Scts infantry, English and Scots armour, German armour, Polish combined forces and, finally, French armour triumphing in Paris. Each of these is linked by the general base story, so you get it all: bocage frustration, the agony of Caen, Wittmann's ride, Bradley's breakout; all backed up by short pieces on the Warsaw uprising, Balmorality, and the German attitude to army and war. From the detail, a general overview comes into view. Six detailed campaign bits showing peculiarities as well as generalities, national specialties as well as individuals.
My Penguin copy fell apart after the third reading, so I bought myself this in hardback. With an elegant choice of words, like de Gaulle worrying about the inheritance of hs patrimony; a triple entendre? This is a book I will return to, at intervals, a classic. And the introduction is a gem, too, of Keegan's own schoolboy war years; propaganda posters, regarded by the 8-year old as 'tastelessly overstated'. Very nice!