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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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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.

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
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,240 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 The Best of Our Spies, plus a fuller biography, please visit my website:

"How long did it take you to write?" It's the most common question I'm asked when people find out that my novel has been published. I have two answers to the question, neither of which tells quite the whole story.
One answer is "since 1994", which is when the seeds of the story were sown. The other answer is "six weeks", which is the amount of time it took me to complete the first draft (just over 140,000 words) between December 2008 and January 2009.
So, here is the story of the story. June 1994 was the 50th anniversary of D-Day and I produced the live coverage from Normandy for BBC Breakfast. The more I researched D-Day, the more I realised that it was a highly complex story and the dividing line between Allied victory and what would have been truly disastrous defeat was extremely narrow. I maintained my interest in D-Day and especially Operation Fortitude, the Allied deception operation was that so critical in the successful outcome of the Battle of Normandy. The plot began to emerge in my mind a couple of years later. At the same time, the main character, Owen Quinn began to establish himself in my imagination. I got to know him very well; I spent many car journeys on my way to and from work imagining how Owen would behave at different parts of the plot. Actually, Owen only became Owen about five years ago. Until then he had various names, none of which felt quite right. I came across' Owen Quinn' on the bow of a ship in Marseilles harbour and somehow it felt right.
In 2008 I decided that I had probably thought about the story for long enough and it would be an idea to actually start writing it. I took six weeks leave from the BBC and began writing. As a journalist, I only really operate effectively with a deadline and I had set myself a very ambitious one. It seemed to work. I would say that I only had about 60% of the plot worked out in my mind when I began writing, although I had prepared all the research, background and characters much more thoroughly.
Every author will write differently. I prefer to let the plot and the characters develop as the story goes along. Sometimes, I get stuck. The best solution for me is to go swimming. I tend to swim three times a week, usually for forty five minutes at a time. About ten minutes in, my mind begins to free up and the plot comes alive. I cannot tell you how many people I have killed while swimming.
Nor do I have a routine for writing, other than that I'm more of a late person than an early one, which is very much the preferred rhythm of our house anyway. Quite often I will struggle with just a couple of hundred words during the day, then start again in the evening and write a couple of thousand words in the four or five hours either side of midnight. Sometimes, if I'm on a real roll, I will keep writing because I want to know what is going to happen next. There is one section of the book where I wrote two chapters totalling around nine thousand words in one session. I don't like too many distractions while I'm writing. I don't listen to music and cats walking across the keyboard are really annoying. I do not even attempt to write when Grimsby Town are playing, it is impossible to concentrate, not least because I can't write well when I am in a bad mood.
I did not approach an agent until I had finished the first draft. I was very fortunate to be taken on by Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown: Gordon is an outstanding agent (he was runner up in Agent of the Year in 2012) and among his clients is the Literary Estate of Winston Churchill.
The Best of Our Spies went through two more versions, so the current version, the one that has been published, is version number three - just under 170,000 words. The core plot is the same but the first quarter of the book is substantially changed and one of the key characters (not Owen) quite different.
I left the BBC in 2011 to concentrate on other projects, including writing. I spent some time working on different ideas for a second novel and am now deep into my second one. I am probably about halfway through in terms of the number of words, but about a third of the way through in terms of the amount of work. Put it like this, I'm going to have to do a lot more swimming before I've sorted out the plot.
I do hope that you enjoy The Best of Our Spies and please do have a look at my website, which will have news of any talks I am giving (there are one or two planned) plus news of my next book.
(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
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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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