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on 31 October 2017
Another well written and informative book
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on 3 June 2017
Another well researched and well written Max Hastings book. As with all his books, the author makes you feel you are actually there. An excellent read.
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on 4 September 2017
Comprehensive and compelling record of the Normandy invasion. Well researched and very well written with thoughtful and fair reflections of the actions of the major combatants
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on 26 July 2017
Sometimes the narrative is clumsily written and needs to be read more than once to get the full meaning. Otherwise Ok
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on 29 June 2009
This book provides a very informative picture of the D-Day landings and the immediate aftermath. It pulls no punches and gives an un-biased appraisal of each armies performance and command structure, warts and all. It understands that this was an action fought by men who were basically civilians from democracies, on the allied side, and the problems that such an army ineviatably has in pressing home battles that demand a high attrition rate. (Maybe Stephen Ambrose could take a lesson from this ).Recommended
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on 15 January 2016
Terribly written, jumps all over the place and is difficult to follow the over all plan of Overlord as you spend a paragraph learning the life story of one character then within a line you start all over again with the next character.
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on 1 June 2016
Map printing very poor
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on 5 October 2016
purchased as a guide pre trip, found it useful in identifying locations a very complete record of events
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on 15 July 2013
This took me back to the 2nd World War when as a child I saw the arrival of the GIs in England with their smart uniforms and their generosity to us kids. 'Got any gum chum?' was our cry. This kind of immediacy runs throughout this book.

Hastings deals with Overlord with great conviction and fairness. The difficulties on the Allied side are not glossed over. He acknowledges that the German army was the outstanding fighting force of the Second World War: even in its much reduced capacity it put up a very stubborn resistance in Normandy. Hitler's contribution to defeat through a series of tactical errors is given due attention.

The variable quality of the Allied forces and their leadership is explored. The failure to integrate fully the objectives of the Allied air forces and armies was crucial. 'Bomber' Harris, for example, paid lip service to ground support believing - wrongly - that the bombing of German cities would bring an end to hostilities without the need for ground intervention. But the evidence from German documentation is clear: bombing focussed on petrol supplies and on oil installations would quickly have brought the German army to its knees.

Written over 30 years, but ago this account still carries weight. The main criticism I have of the Kindle version is that the maps are unreadable, even on a Kindle HD. Highly recommended nevertheless.
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on 20 April 2012
Hastings book on the Battle for Normandy is not the most detailed book on the subject. However, as an avid reader of World War II, I would say this is one of the best evaluations of the battle for Normandy. The book covers the war from D-Day to closing of the Falaise Pocket. Hastings seeks to explain not only what happened, but why it happened. Hastings starts off summarizing what lead up to the cross-Channel attack and discusses the status of the attacking and defending armies. Hasting does not spend a lot of time here. As he says others have already covered this area to significant detail. If you want to really know about what led up to the cross-Channel attack I would recommend CROSS CHANNEL ATTACK by Gordon Harrison. One area he does dwell on is the Air Forces. While he praises their accomplishments in support of the Allied invasion and ground campaign, he does not shy away pointing out their lack of team spirit and poor coordination with the Army especially in regard to close ground air support. Hastings has also written a book, Bomber Command (Pan Grand Strategy Series), which discusses the air war in World War II in more detail.

I found Hastings's writing style is easy to digest and well paced keeping my interest. The book uses endnotes to identify sources properly. He uses firsthand accounts to add color and references to his points. I did find that he would occasionally provide an account that was not representative of the overall events without presenting the context. I found that these cases would lead to incorrect impressions. Fortunately, this was limited. He provides great maps of the major operations which are immensely better than throwing out endless place names. There are a large number of good B/W photographs which add to excellent writing.

Something I did find refreshing was the more British centric presentation of the story. Most of the books I have read gloss over the activities of the non-American Allies. Hastings discusses the British and Canadian's amphibious landings and airborne assaults. He also discusses their failure to take Caen on D-Day and why. He follows their many attempts to maneuver and break out including the Battle for Villers-Bocage, Operation Epsom, Operation Charnwood, and Operation Goodwood. He addresses and criticizes Montgomery for deflecting the ineffectiveness of the British/Canadian operations as part of the plan. He discusses the difficulties and failure of tactics which contributed to the faltering of the attacks. On the whole I feel he defends Montgomery as much as he beats him up. Hastings also makes some statements that I don't agree with, but for the most part I found him fair and balanced.

Hastings does not neglect the Americans in his account either. He describes the American amphibious landings and airborne assaults. He follows the battle for Cherbourg and the breakout through Operation Cobra. However, I found Harrison's Cross-Channel Attack did the subject more justice for American actions up to the capture of Cherbourg. Hastings also does not neglect the German perspective of the conflict. He pulls from numerous German sources including personal interviews. Hastings is able to show their frustrations in attempting to defeat the Allies which truly reflect the difficulties in attacking. The reader also comes to understand the influence of Hitler's meddling in the campaign which sealed the fate of the German army.

Some of Hastings's best insights are when he talks about what the soldiers were facing during the battle. He discusses the unbalanced quality of the German weapons and vehicles compared to the allies. He addresses the difficulty of taking the offensive in the bocage country and even open areas where maneuvering was not possible. He discusses the lack of coordination of the armored and infantry forces. He discusses the limitations of ground air support and the effectiveness of slowing the mobility of the Germans. He addresses the difference in attitude and tactics of the German army as compared to the Allies. He addresses the difficulties of the command structure within the Allied army which started at the lowest levels. Hastings talks about battle fatigue and the affects to capabilities of the infantry left in battle. These chapters alone make the book worth reading.

All in all, I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in World War II or war in general. While I would suggest this not be your sole resource on the Normandy campaign, it should be part of it.
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