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D-Day: The Battle for Normandy Hardcover – 28 May 2009
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'As powerful and authoritative an account of the battle for Normandy as we are likely to get in this generation. Nobody knows better than Beevor how to translate the dry stuff of military history into human drama of the most vivid and moving kind' -- Max Hastings, Sunday Times --Max Hastings, Sunday Times
'A brilliantly co-ordinated and almost overwhelmingly upsetting history. Beevor is singularly expert at homing in on those telltale human details that reveal just what it would have been like to be in Normandy in the summer of 1944' -- Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday -- Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
'No writer can surpass Beevor in making sense of a crowded battlefield and in balancing the explanation of tactical manoeuvres with poignant flashes of human detail' -- Christopher Silvester --Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
'Beevor's previous books led us to expect something special from D-Day, and he does not disappoint. Beevor has a particularly keen eye for the apercu or quotation that brings an experience - very often a gory one - to life' -- Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph --Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph
'Compulsive. Beevor tells it all with the soldier's eye for what matters on the ground as much as with the historian's for the broader understanding of events' -- Allan Mallinson, The Times
--Allan Mallinson, The Times
From the Inside Flap
Antony Beevor's D-Day: The Battle for Normandy is the closest you will ever get to war - the taste, the smell, the noise and the fear.
The Normandy Landings that took place on D-Day involved by far the largest invasion fleet ever known. The scale of the undertaking was simply awesome. What followed them was some of the most cunning and ferocious fighting of the war, at times as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. As casualties mounted, so too did the tensions between the principal commanders on both sides. Meanwhile, French civilians caught in the middle of these battlefields or under Allied bombing endured terrible suffering. Even the joys of Liberation had their darker side.
'Antony Beevor's gripping narrative conveys the true experience of war.As near as possible to experiencing what it was like to be there. . . It is almost impossible for a reader not to get caught up in the excitement' Giles Foden, Guardian
'No writer can surpass Beevor in making sense of a crowded battlefield and in balancing the explanation of tactical manoeuvres with poignant flashes of human detail' Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
Antony Beevor is the renowned author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and Berlin, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. His books have sold nearly four million copies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
A Canadian soldier noted that the British Army could not fight without a tea break. For example, in Villers-Bocage, troops stopped for a break before putting out patrols or taking up fire positions - with disastrous results when 'panzer ace' Michael Whitteman charged into the town with his Tiger tank.
Structurally, Beevor says, "The main drawback of the British regimental system was its reluctance to face major structural reform. It was incapable of adopting a German panzergrenadier or an American armoured infantry organization, to work closely with tanks". The Americans, he says, though green, learned quickly.
Beevor also assesses the leaders. Montgomery comes out rather badly: his insistence that his master plan worked out exactly as he intended did him much professional harm. Beevor sums Monty up: "The problem was that Montgomery, partly for reasons of morale and partly out of puerile pride, could not admit that any of his plans had gone wrong." This weakness dims his military career. Montgomery's unbridled egotism also made him very difficult to work with. He was always looking for the limelight. Eisenhower comes over as a politician more than a military strategist: given the personal conflicts amongst the Allies' leaders he showed remarkable patience.
Beevor draws attention to the moral issues concerned with the actions taken to save the lives of Allied soldiers: artillery was used on a massive scale to reduce Normandy towns to rubble so that advances were less risky. The problem here was the huge numbers of Normandy citizens that were killed. Montgomery's own reliance on artillery was revealed in a ghastly joke to de Guingand, 'Montebourg and Valognes have been "liberated" in the best 21st Army Group style, i.e. they are both completely destroyed!!!'
Beevor notes an observation by major Lional Wigram that a relatively small proportion of front-line forces truly engage in combat. A small number truly did the fighting. Another small group were likely to run away at the first opportunity. Those in the main group would follow the fighters if things went well, or the deserters if things went badly. The Germans had a similar breakdown. 'Battle fatigue' was a big problem - though less so for the politically indoctrinated Germans - particularly the SS units.
It is remarkable that the Germans - short of men, tanks, fuel, and lacking air support - put up such a stubborn resistance. The Germans sometimes resorted to black humour: 'If you can see an aircraft, they are American' went one joke. 'If you see khaki planes, they are British, and if you can't see any planes, then they are German'.
This detailed account of the Normandy campaign is well worth reading today as it embraces issues that remain relevant to any complex military operation. It includes maps and some photographs.
It was good to have a balanced description of events and to hear, for a change, that it wasn't just the Americans involved!
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Riddled with poor grammar and use of language.Read more