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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six armies in Normandy, 9 Jun 2010
By 
David Rowland - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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The great success of the D-Day landings with less casualties than expected is very well known as a result of numerous books and films like the Longest Day but less well known is the tremendous skill in defence demonstrated by the German army in the weeks following D-Day when they managed to hold the allied armies in Normandy for so long and inflict so many casualties through their brilliant use of the terrain and this was often in the face of being greatly outnumbered and outgunned by the allied forces. The bitter fighting in June and early July until the breakout is superbly told by Keegan and is viewed from the differing perspectives of the participants in seperate sections of the book - the Americans, the Canadians, the British, the Germans, the Polish and the French and this gives the book a particular value and scope.

Keegan's account is extremely well written and thorough (as is all his work), exciting and very effectively conveys the frustration of the allies at not being able to break through, the impatience of the Americans with Montgomery at the slow progress of his 21st Army Group and the headlong rush of the American army under Patton after they broke through the German defences. The carnage of the German Army and the destruction of their forces around Falaise is particularloy well told by Keegan - as an historian of the second world war Keegan has few equals.

David Rowland
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a complete history, 24 July 2008
This is not a complete history of the campaign in Normandy, nor does it profess to be. What Keegan does cover he covers very well and has achieved what I believe he set out to achieve very well.

I must however take issue with one or two prior reviwers comments. Many people say that this particular publication is exceptionally readable. I dont actually find this to be the case. I find Keegans prose rather too flowery at times and he certainly goes alittle too far in giving background to various aspects of the plot to the state I feel it drifts somewhat irrelevantly away fronm the subject matter in hand.

Having said that, to cover the German, British, Canadian, French, Polish and American input on an equal basis has given us a superb history which veers away from the Ambrose-esque over-emphasis of American involvement which leads many to believe the Americans won the battle all by themselves. A preconception believed by many which detracts from the efforts of the Coalition, of which the Americans were the Junior members on D-Day and wouldnt outnumber their allies until toward the end of the campaign in Normandy.

In summary; a fantastic history of the campaign in Normandy, if not a little flowery and maybe, in view of the numerous mentions of the cold war described as being in the modern day, in need of being brought up to date a little.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just when you thought you knew it all about D-day, 20 Aug 2010
Given the time that has past and my age (68) I thought I had read or been informed of all they was of importance about the D-day landings in 1944. Keegan's book although in print for sometime now is well worth reading because it gives the background to the 6 Armies. As an example the detail about the Canadian Force explained the attitudes of both English and French speaking Canadians and why, for both the 1st and 2nd world wars. Similar background for The Poles and the free French was good reading and essential to the understanding of why it was such an enduring success for freedom and free will.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic: detail and overview, 8 Oct 2009
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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!
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good, if flawed, overview of the Normandy campaign, 5 Jun 2001
By A Customer
The author has succeeded in producing a very readable and informative overview of the Normandy campaign, told by focussing on elements of the contribution to the conflict made by the six armies of the title. Many of the major engagements of the campaign are brought to life by a series of vignettes, and the human interest that these capture are a particular strength of this account. For me, however, they also represent the principal weakness of the book. The author appears to have engaged so closely with the human participants of the conflict that he has become unable to assess their performance objectively, and the Allied forces in particular have been spared a great deal of the criticism that a more detached viewpoint would have generated. Although I realise that the British and American front line soldiers in general displayed great bravery on a daily basis, taken in the context of WW2 they were notably unwilling to risk their lives in a way that the combatants of other nations were not. Goodwood and Epsom failed, not because they were so fiercely opposed but because they were so poorly prosecuted, and this criticism applies to both the soldiers at the front and to the failure of the commanding generals to drive the offensive on. Cobra was the greatest breakthrough of the campaign, and heralded the collapse of effective German opposition in Normandy. However, Cobra was largely unopposed, and the greatest distinction of the operation lay not in any feats of arms of the American forces, but in Patton and Bradley's realisation that they could drive forward past their objective and capitalise on the weakened and out of position German forces. I suspect a British general in the same position would have halted the advance. I must stress that I greatly enjoyed this book, and it contributes a great deal to the history of the Normandy campaign, but the performance of the Allied forces with their overwhelming superiority in materiel must be viewed as disappointing, and the reasons for this poor performance are never properly explained in this account. For a more rigorous examination of this aspect of the battle I would recommend "Overlord; D-day and the Battle for Normandy 1944" by Max Hastings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, great research, 3 Jun 2014
This review is from: Six Armies In Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris June 6th-August 25th,1944 (Kindle Edition)
When I picked this book up I thought iot was going to have a lot of out of date facts in it. But proven wrong the narrative makes the subject accessable and informative. I thought I had read more than enough books covering the campaign but shown that there is always something new. This book is highly recommended
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account, 6 May 2014
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Thorough and well written account of the D-Day landings, especially interesting focus on the American & Canadian forces. Excellent detail and insight into each offensive of the campaign.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 22 Mar 2013
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A different view of the Normandy landings - good to see the view of some of the minor players. It is quite an old-fashioned read now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Account of the Normandy Landings and Campain For Me, 28 Mar 2012
I found this account of the Normandy Landings and Campaign a better read than the later and better know "Overlord" by Max Hastings . The author has explored the battle from the viewpoints of the various contributing armies and the appearance is that they are all given even weighting in the campaign as opposed to emphasis on the armies by numerical contribution.

"A Polish Battlefield" is how Falaise is referred to by this author. The reason is that the Polish armoured division was used to plug the gap in the Falaise pocket and took heavy fire and casualties as the escaping Germans attempted to fight their way past the Poles.

Recommended.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars six very unequal armies, 11 Mar 2010
By 
Carlos Vazquez Quintana "cvq" (Linares- Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The six armies John Keegan shows us in this book are the British, Canadian, Polish, French, German as the enemy and... the American -the USA army- but with the peculiarity this late is the less mentioned having in count his importance in WW II.
So, this essay is good, but I think the author didn't wanted to do a complete study of D- Day nor the battle for France, but only the book he wanted to write.
That will be good enough for the taste of some readers, but in other cases not. Sometimes this book is very complete in facts and dates, but undoubttly it's unbalanced. You must judge.
In general however, Keegan seems to let the idea that when very big masses of troops are fighting, the best general can get confused and ignorant of what he's truly doing and what's really happening.
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