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76 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unmissable account of D-Day, 28 May 2009
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This review is from: D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (Hardcover)
Anthony Beevor is probably most famous for his other World War Two book, 'Stalingrad', and in 'D-Day' he certainly shows the same ability to conjure up the realities of a single theatre of battle. His style is almost novelistic, and from the start, this book is full of evocative, telling details, such as the pockets of the Airborne men stuffed with chocolate, and the gambling they did to while away the hours before they took off. And in true English style, it begins with a chapter on the weather forecast.

It's quite a contrast to Max Hastings' book 'Overlord', up till now considered the central account of the Normandy landings. Where Hastings puts the military action into the context of the Russian front and the war as a whole, Beevor is very much focused on people. Hastings is fantastic on tactics and weaponry, and has earned deep respect for his assessments of the allied effort overall. But reading Beevor is far more like watching a film.

Beevor's 'D-Day' reminds me more of John Keegan's moving 'Six Armies in Normandy". Beevor has incorporated details of the day-to-day experience, such as their cooking, or taking wine from the cellars of an abandoned chateau, as well as the fighting.

To sum up the difference, with Hastings, you have the grim details, the grind of it, the effort, the planning, the grit. Yet with Beevor the reader understands what it had been like to be there: the companionship, the nerves, the odd little forays into the woods, even the traffic jams. But when I want to know WHY it happened like it happened and why it took so very long to break the German forces, I will be returning to Hastings.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2009 13:46:33 BDT
I noticed that the previous reviewer got told off for reviewing this book too soon after it was released! I got a copy this weekend from a friend who works for a newspaper and I have been reading ever since.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2009 19:09:49 BDT
Withnail67 says:
Looks like I'll have to be careful with my timings or I'll be in trouble again! Glad you liked the book as much as I did - I agree with your comments and enjoyed your review.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2009 20:38:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Jun 2009 10:32:05 BDT
I too noticed Withnail withdrew. D Day is weighty history and Beevor's book has generated some well informed comment. Dr Trew of the RMAS is a world-class expert on the Normandy campaign. For any of us to be in his company requires considerable knowledge. The high voting level shows lots of people are widely read and serioulsy interested. Amazon book reviews are a valuable forum, which should be respected. It is a shame when people - presumably addicted to seeing their words in print - revert to making banal comments on anything and everything.

Posted on 25 Jun 2009 01:09:39 BDT
Ben Alofs says:
Thank you, Emma, for this very helpful and nice review. I will act on your advice and get a copy of both 'Overlord' by Max Hastings and Anthony Beevor's 'D-Day'.
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