14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944 (Pan Grand Strategy Series) (Paperback)
This is, if not the definitive, certianly the most readable version of the Normandy campaign I have read to date. As narrative history goes, Max Hastings has set the bar very high with this work.
There is some complaint to be made with this not being as strictly academic as other work that has since been produced since this book was released. I think this book is not without it flaws, but ones that are forgiveable. The complaint one reviewer made is legitimate, and perhaps this is more a result of the author trying to keep the momentum of the story moving (this is narrative history after all). The Canadians, for example, fought brilliantly throughout the war. When the author is critical of the Canadians and British failing to make progress against the Germans, this is more probably due to shoddy tactics (little armour & infantry working together) than 'not wanting' to fight. For a good idea of how poor their tactics were, I would recommend reading Panzer Commander by Hans Von Luck. He fought on the other side during Normandy, and it is quite eye-opening how badly the British (and therefore Canadian) attacks were planned and executed. Perhaps another issue could be that the author gives too much credence to Monty's retrospective argument for British and Canadian troops taking the brunt of the German forces and 'allowing' the Americans to break-out of the beach-head. But these are relatively minor matters, and I think the author is right not to get too bogged down in dealing with arguments for and against. Leave that to the academics.
But whatever this book's deficiencies, I dare you to put it down once you start reading. It is an excellent starting point or anyone who wants to understand this campaign.
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Initial post: 15 Sep 2009 13:12:32 BDT
The Bard England says:
After publishing this well researched and impartial work Poor old hastings got a grilling in front of a t.v. audiance who were completely ignorant of the campaign who took exception to his findings regarding the merits of the German forces . Having read volumes on world war2 as well as spoken to many Normandy vetrans I like many other of us amateur history buffs can`t help , however reluctantly reaching the same conclussion as Hastings . However you make a valid and often overlooked point as to the outdated tactics and leadership of the British army taking part in this campaign . The raw material ie our troops was sound and may of achieved victory sooner with better planning and leadership and the Germans themselves conceded that the brits and canucks could be tenacious in defence . In addition to which its always easier to defend than attack and as the allies did most of the latter its not easy to draw a like for like comparison . So any " little britains " out there who take umbridge regarding hastings findings can take some solace from donaldo`s comments , no ones saying our troops were inadquate just that their training , equipment and leadership revealed many shortcomings when coming up against the first truly ultra modern army of the 20th centurary.
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