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Rather subjective and certainly over-rated!
on 23 April 2008
Hasting's 'Overlord' has earned a reputation of being almost as close as one can get to becoming a definitive history of the 1944 landings in Normandy.
Whilst far superior to the work of 'historians' such as Stephen Ambrose, there is still an overwhelming feeling of this book being authored by a journalist and not an historian. Hastings makes many sweeping statements, many of which are totally unfounded, yet does very little to substantiate his claims. He constantly enforces the popular misconception, which have almost become fashionable, to criticise rather than to focus on the positives. Reading 'Overlord' found me actually questioning myself as to whether or not the Allies actually won the Battle of Normandy or not.
There is far too much unbalanced emphasis on the conceived failures, failures which can only be called such with the benefit of no small amount of hindsight. Operation Overlord was the biggest and best operation the western allies launched in WW2 and should be celebrated for what it achieved, not disected to an extent that only with that valuable aid of hindsight can decisions be doubted and triumphs blunted beyond recognition.
Hasting plays up the superiority of the German forces but, in my opinion, fails to give due credit to the forces (prodominantly British) that took on the bulk of the German elite, and beat them into submission within just 71 days in Normandy.
Whilst I dont agree with every sentiment expressed by historians like John Keegan, Carlo D'Este, Denis Whitaker and Terry Copp, these historians make much more effort to present an objective and substantiated account than Hastings achieves in this publication.
I'm afraid to say it but I do have a sense of real disappointment that Hastings may be becoming Britain's very own Stephen Ambrose in so much that he is only interested in sensationalising popular history for a popular audience with more of an eye on book sales than the recording of an accurate, academically robust, history.