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The Miracle of Normandy (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Alex Gerlis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 53 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

6th June 2014 will be the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, which marked the start of the Battle for Normandy – which in turn led to the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe and the defeat of Germany a year later. Although it is usually seen as an unqualified success, the Battle for Normandy was actually a much more closely fought affair. In The Miracle of Normandy the author and journalist Alex Gerlis explores whether it would have been won at all without the Allied deception operation. It was not until the 1970s that details began to emerge the Allies’ top secret and audacious deception plan. Operation Fortitude succeeded in confusing the Germans about where the Allies were going to land: would it be Normandy, or the Pas de Calais?
The Miracle of Normandy looks at the part the deception played in the eventual Allied victory and asks to what extent it may have been helped by those in the German High Command and intelligence organisations who by 1944 wanted to see a swift end to the war.
Alex Gerlis was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire and now lives with his family in West London. He was a BBC journalist for over 25 years, leaving in 2011 to concentrate on his writing. He is the author of The Best of Our Spies, a highly acclaimed espionage thriller based on D-Day and especially the deception operation that played a big part in its success. The Best of Our Spies was published in December 2012, since when it has featured prominently in the Amazon Kindle Spy best-selling lists and has over 180 Amazon reviews.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2035 KB
  • Print Length: 53 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KB2JO7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,649 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

For a more detailed account of the story behind both The Swiss Spy and my first novel, The Best of Our Spies, plus a fuller biography, please visit my website:

If you are not one of the 26,000+ people who have read my first novel, The Best of Our Spies, I promise I'm not about to spoil the ending. Suffice it to say however that the book did not provide much scope for a sequel, so when it came to writing my second novel the question was whether to stick with the Second World War espionage fiction genre or try something different.
I did try something different. In fact I tried a number of different themes and genres, but nothing felt as natural and as interesting to write about as the Second World War. It is hard to explain why I feel more comfortable and enthusiastic in writing about a period some seventy five years ago than one I have personal experience of. Perhaps it is the sheer scale of the story, a drama that works at both a human and a global level. Maybe it is the fact that it is a finite story, one that began in the 1930s and then ended in 1945, thereby ensuring ample sources for a writer.
So I decided to stick with Second World War espionage fiction. The plot of The Best of Our Spies is built around a major event in the Second World War, the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944, otherwise known as D-Day. This leant itself to an espionage thriller because of the intelligence operation surrounding it: the Allies efforts to keep the details secret and trick the Germans into thinking the landings would be elsewhere in France; the Germans attempts to find out what they could about the plans.
For The Swiss Spy I used another major event, namely the German plans to invade the Soviet Union. The facts of this event also provided an ideal framework around which to craft a thriller. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had entered into an unlikely non-aggression pact in August 1939, just before the outbreak of the war. But for Hitler at least this was just a device to buy time while he concentrated on the blitzkrieg in Western Europe. By July 1940 the decision had been to start planning the invasion of the Soviet Union. That month there was a top-secret meeting at the Bavarian spa resort of Bad Reichenhall to plan the invasion, which was spelt out in detail in a Directive that Hitler issued in December 1940. Operation Barbarossa, as it was called, finally took place on the night of 21st/22nd June 1941, a good month after it should have started if the Germans were not to be caught out by the Russian winter.
Throughout 1940 and up to the invasion in June 1941 the Soviet Union had ample warnings about the invasion, all of which were dismissed by Stalin who believed that they were attempts by the British to provoke him into breaking the pact with the Germans. This, then, is at the heart of the plot of The Swiss Spy.
Next comes the characters, who I spend some time developing. This development takes place first in in my mind, which is a lengthy process by the end of which they feel to me like real people, who I feel I know and who I can predict how they will behave as the story develops. I also plan the characters on paper, so that they have back-stories that I can refer to so that their biographies make sense.
The final part of the framework around which I work are the locations. For me it is very important that the story feels as authentic as possible. I am not under any illusions: I know that I am writing fiction and I don't pretend it is anything other than that. But having said that, my background as a journalist means that I enjoy the research, the challenge of ensuring that locations and other factual detail in the story (such as travel, military ranks etc) are as accurate as possible. This has another advantage in that this research opens up whole areas of dramatic potential that one may otherwise have been unaware of .
For example, in the first chapter of the Swiss Spy Henry Hunter travels from Croydon Airport to Switzerland in August 1939, just before the outbreak of the war. I wanted to check which airline he may have flown on. The research opened up the whole world of civil aviation that continued in Europe throughout the Second World War. As a result of this by chance discovery, a whole new area of the book opened up for me. I knew it needed to be right because I know that I had I read in a book of spies flying around Europe on civil flights I would have been sceptical to say the least and checked it out. Likewise with many other facts in the book: I always assume that someone like myself will seek to verify them.
Once the plot, the characters and the locations are in place, I begin to write the book. I have only the vaguest sense of the ending when I start. I know that will emerge as the plot adapts and changes, as the characters take on a life of their own and as the locations come to life.
This is the very process that I am going through now as I write my third novel, which will be a sequel to The Swiss Spy. Without giving too much away (not least because there is much about it that I don't yet know myself) it is set primarily in Austria, mostly in the period 1944-1945. At the same time I am planning the fourth novel because there is a chance that could be linked with the third one - and that means characters being in the right place and not being unhelpfully killed off.
(photo: Ealing Gazette)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its all in the planning 3 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A concise and easy to read account of the time and extent of planning and misdirection leading up to the Allied landings on 6th June 1944.
Shows there were as many backroom people involved as there were up front military personnel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank god for these boys 2 Jun. 2014
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Very informative ,life would not be the same if it was not for these boys ,A great story THANK YOU.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reding 13 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It works well in Kindle format, quite short but very interesting - it's pushed me to look at the other Normandy landing books, the Mulberry Harbour (not in Kindle) - Bought, PLUTO, can't find at a reasonable price yet. I recommend this book on the stealth technology of the day
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4.0 out of 5 stars A neglected story that was waiting to be told 4 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A neglected story that was waiting to be told about an aspect of warfare which because of its secrecy has, out of necessity perhaps, been almost forgotten about. It was, however, instrumental in enabling the invasion of France to be more effective than it might otherwise have been and, in so doing, changed the path of World War 2 and of history.

Alex Gerlis highlights not only the 'deception' that was taking place in the South of England, but that which was taking place in Scotland as well, an aspect that might have been relegated as a mere sideline but which, nonetheless, for as long as it lasted, was also important.

I was surprised how much double agents were involved - a 'spy thriller', if there was one, yet true!

It raises all sorts of 'ethical' issues concerning deception - 'official lies' and 'misinformation' to put it bluntly - which makes one wary of government pronouncements in times of war, yet, sadly, a necessity in the scenario of war, and particularly so in World War 2. 'Situational ethics' may not be popular with 'purists' but is, as this short book illustrates, a lesser 'evil' and, at times, it might be debated, actually a 'good'. (Now there's a subject for Philosophy in the Pub'!)

The book tended to be a little repetitive in parts - hence only 4 stars - but is a worthwhile read, both as an historical account and, if one wants to look at this way, a good 'yarn' as well.

I recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read 20 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book by accident it's not what I usually read but once I got started I found it hard to put down, it's a short book packed with interesting facts, I recommend you read it, you won't be dissappointed .
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Miracle 3 Jun. 2014
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A brief narrative of the deception plan to cover the invasion. Regurgitates a lot of stuff that has already been published elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend. 15 Aug. 2014
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A short overview of the events leading up to D-day in 1944. The work is clearly written and presents in an interesting and relevant way. Would recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars an extremely useful source of detail 22 Oct. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Extremely interesting, but sometimes difficult to follow the narrative due to abbreviations and the note style of writing,. The extracts from War Diaries could become more informative had the author given some explanation of the context of the incident reported. However, an extremely useful source of detail.
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