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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gripping yet badly biased
I found reading this book a strange experience. It's a gripping read, very thorough in terms of detail and research, and it brings the realities of war into sharp focus. I couldn't put it down, despite the fact that I was on holiday and should have been out sightseeing.
Despite getting great enjoyment out of the book, it also left a rather sour taste in my mouth...
Published on 2 April 2003 by Kenny Smith

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed account of a pivotal moment of the 20th Century
Just browsing the other reviews is reassuring - I am not alone in regretting Ambrose's terribly one-sided view of the conflict in Normandy.

Ambrose was clearly a hard-working historian whose contribution in collecting hours of eyewitness accounts will be valued by generations to come. But his shortcomings are clear in this book - he is biased, as other...
Published on 24 July 2007 by T Westcott


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed account of a pivotal moment of the 20th Century, 24 July 2007
By 
T Westcott (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
Just browsing the other reviews is reassuring - I am not alone in regretting Ambrose's terribly one-sided view of the conflict in Normandy.

Ambrose was clearly a hard-working historian whose contribution in collecting hours of eyewitness accounts will be valued by generations to come. But his shortcomings are clear in this book - he is biased, as other reviewers have expressed, and he is a poor writer, incapable of injecting the events he is describing with any drama. Max Hastings is a proper writer, so if you want a much better book, I commend you to Overlord.

Sadly, because Ambrose acted as an advisor on the movie Saving Private Ryan, his strange belittlement of the contribution on the non-US allies to D Day has probably become a received idea for millions of people.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gripping yet badly biased, 2 April 2003
This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
I found reading this book a strange experience. It's a gripping read, very thorough in terms of detail and research, and it brings the realities of war into sharp focus. I couldn't put it down, despite the fact that I was on holiday and should have been out sightseeing.
Despite getting great enjoyment out of the book, it also left a rather sour taste in my mouth. The author is primarily concerned with the American contribution to the D-Day operations - fair enough, since I take it he's American. However, he is openly contemptuous of the role of the non-American forces involved. The Canadians get a slightly condescending, brief mention. The most offputing factor was his treatment of the British soldiers though - according to Ambrose, the British took on the 'easy' beaches, wandered ashore, had a cup of tea then packed it in for the day. Not only did we not do much on D-Day, but we scuppered the American soldiers by providing them with our amateurish, ad-hoc kit. I found this kind of stuff slightly offensive and disappointing. The one plus point in this regard is that he keeps his mention of British troops to a minimum, so you aren't reminded of his bias too frequently.
The book is a flawed yet entertaining read, and it has motivated me to do some further reading on the role of the British troops in the D-Day landings.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unbalanced Approach to History, 19 Aug 2005
By 
J. Bloss "jethrox1" (Buckingham,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
This is the first Stephen Ambrose history book that I have read and it is most likely that it will be the last too. If you read the title you would believe that this is an all-encompassing account of D-Day based on first hand accounts. However because I would guess 80% of the accounts are from US veterans the book reflects this. It would be far more honest to call this work "D-Day : An American Triumph" because that is the way it is portrayed. You have to question an author's objectivity when it becomes clear that Ambrose knew Eisenhower personally and is in awe of him, the source material is so skewed towards US accounts and that when you begin to read through you will see opinions given with little or no supporting evidence. There is a really patronising view given of all the nationalities - i.e. the British are a bunch of tea drinkers who are either eccentric boffins or timid, thick soldiers. The really disappointing element is that this was an operation that covered 5 beaches and airborne operations but we only get the detail on 2 beaches - you are not able to judge which landings were the most important militarily for the Allies because there is so much emphasis on the US beaches where they endured a truly hellish time before getting themselves established. There are better accounts out there.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good as a novel, based as an historical text, 25 Jun 2001
If you are looking for an immensely readable novel about the D-Day landing, then this is the book for you. The pace is fast, and it doesn't get overly bogged-down in technical detail, or endless military jargon. What I find disappointing is the side-swipes at all non-US allied forces at all levels - from senior officers to foot soldiers. To read this book without prior knowledge of the operation would leave one with the impression that the British, Candians, New Zealand and other allied forces played nothing more than a diversionary role in an American operation. It is very disappointing to see such un-balance - clearly a book written for the U.S market and not the European one.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Putting the Record Straight, 18 July 2008
This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
Ambrose described an alleged incident on Omaha Beach in which a Captain Zappacosta threatened the British coxswain of his landing craft with a pistol in order to make him move closer inshore. Private Robert Sales, the only survivor of that landing craft has since stated that this was a complete invention. It never happened. Sales, who was angered by the allegation, challenged Ambrose in person and asked him to correct it but the writer just brushed it off. There is much more in this vein - Ambrose rarely missed an opportunity to disparage the British individually and collectively. If this is representative of the standard of his research, then this book should be treated with extreme caution. His sections on the Anglo-Canadian contribution to D-Day are in any case lamentably brief. This is just bad history. There are many excellent works about D-Day, but this isn't one of them.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Ambrose whitewash of WW2 !!, 17 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
Running on the back of Saving Private Ryan movie... Ambrose does it again (very badly!)
As the reviewer below states this is little more than another American historian's biased view of D-Day, if you only read this book on the campaign you will come away with a very black and white view of this most
famous operation of WW2.
There are many better books on the market without this American bias view included. Though if you can live or enjoy that sort of thing, the only plus points going for it are that it is a comfortable and easy read.
Try these instead; Robin Neillands' The Battle of Normandy 1944, Max Hasting's Overlord and Carlo D'Este's Decision in Normandy are far better to name but three.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars US nationalist rubbish. Do not buy., 31 July 2011
By 
John Dynan (Highett, Vic Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
Once a fine historian, Stephen Ambrose eventually made a very good living out of telling US readers what they want to hear. Sometimes he did it with good history and other times he did it by deception. In this case that deception meant telling his readers that that the US alone won the war against the Nazis and saved the cheese-eating surrender monkeys and their limey pals from a life of sufferance under Hitler.

It's one thing to present a case that one group was better than another. It's quite another thing to indulge in nationalistic claptrap, spending page after page deriding experienced soldiers who had already fought almost five years of war, as cowards who stopped fighting to drink cups of tea. In academic terms alone, that is utterly disgraceful. On a personal level - and as an Australian, I have no dog in this fight - it is nothing less than offensive. He doesn't even bother to provide any meaningful evidence that this was the case. Nothing speaks more loudly of a low blow than that sort of derision.

His rather questionable assertion that US troops were better educated, better trained, better led and better fed is included to give US readers a warm and fuzzy feeling so that he can deliver at least one outright invention - that a US soldier had to point a pistol at a cowardly British coxswain in order to get all the way to the beach - and hammer home his case. The American right will lap it up gleefully. How he wasn't sued I don't know.

I got two thirds of the way through this jingoistic schlock before I binned it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars bias, bias, bias!!!, 2 Feb 2010
This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
I can't complain about this book in terms of the writing, its well written and gripping. The reason I have given it a low rating is the complete bias to the American forces at D-Day and the continous disparaging remarks about the British forces. Why does such a fantastic writer have to let himself down in this way??
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A poor craftsman, 27 Aug 2009
By 
F. Graham (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (Paperback)
There's one thing very wrong with this book and unfortunately it's the author. His inability to stop his patriotism getting in the way of history means many very important facts of WWII are missed out.

I wouldn't waste your money buying this book unless you want to be irritated by a very blinkered view point which uses prose that belongs more to screen play rather than a significant military event in our near past.

The one star I merit this book with is for the historical content it does contain. However, much of it is tainted by the American necessity to insist they succeeded against the powers of evil and saved the world from a big scary monster.

Impartiality is the difference between an average Historian and a great one. Stephen Ambrose is a very average historian.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, 2 Oct 1999
By A Customer
I am afraid that this is the worst D-Day book that I have had the mis-fortune to read. And I've read a lot I can assure you. It is un-balanced and all to often racist toward the British and Commenwealth countries. What happened to the author of the simply incredible "Pegasus Bridge"? One of Steven Ambrose's better attempts. A book that devotes about eight chapters on every aspect of Omaha beach while only giving the British one chapter each is terrible. I have read this book once since I bought it about three years ago. Just the chapter where he attacks the British as being "war weary" and loath to fight is enough for me. The worst book yet written on D-Day, and that includes Cornelius Ryans "The Longest Day", I ean even that book had suspense and balance, a lot more than this one does.
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D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose (Paperback - 5 Jun 2002)
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