Top positive review
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Testimonials: "For your tomorrow, we gave our today"
on 14 June 2012
I highly recommend this book for several reasons. For the first thing, we all have got a warped sense of D-day and who fought that day. Like the introduction says in the book, "Hollywood revels in depicting D-day and the ensuing Battle of Normandy... as an overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, American affair". Hollywood, Stephen Ambrose and Tom Hanks/Stephen Spielberg, all being guilty as charged. And to my horror, being a historian, I discovered, that it's mostly what is taught in schools all over as well. So, this book really is an excellent tool to set history straight.
Secondly, the book is so well put together and so organized that even if you are not particularly well versed in battles and reading about them, you can make a mental picture of what was going on. No, I know very little of guns and tactics, but still could get a lot out of this book, and understand. The different chapters and sub-chapters, always explain what the plan was and what actually happened. Then you get comments from all layers. From top brass down to the privates and THIS makes the book so wonderful. One event is described by many, the bird's view and the little ant's view. Those people at the imperial war museum, really know what they are doing when they commission a book! The major chapters are: Build Up, Countdown, Airborne Assault, Seaborne Assault, Pushing Inland, Holding On, Day's End. So it covers a lot of angles and interesting aspects.
What this book shows more than anything, is that British and Commonwealth citizens were involved on all 5 beaches, in one way or the other. There were as many of them, as there were of Americans! Which both are overlooked facts. And they did not have an easy time on their "own" beaches, at all. Nor in taking their goals, even if Pegasus bridge was taken rather quickly.
The men that have written down their experiences for the IWM are all different. Some bring up all the horror. Some bring up things that make you laugh. Some bring up eccentric leaders or just crazy things that happened. Some what saved their lives. But every comment/story, feels valuable and I am very grateful that they took the time to record all this, since nothing can beat this, first hand accounts.