The Allied fleet attempted by far the largest amphibious assault ever, and what followed was a battle as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. Casualties mounted on both sides, as did the tensions between the principal commanders. Even the joys of liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation, but the whole of the postwar world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe. Beevor draws upon his research in more than 30 archives in six countries, going back to original accounts, interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action, and many diaries and letters donated to museums and archives in recent years.
D-Day will surely be hailed as the consummate account of the Normandy invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to the liberation of Paris.
©2009 Anthony Beevor; (P)2009 Penguin
"It is a dramatic, important and instructive story, and Beevor tells it surpassingly well....Readers fortunate enough to know his previous books...are aware that his fascination with warfare is compounded by a deep knowledge, not always encountered in military histories, that war is hell. People looking for romanticized combat or Greatest Generation sentimentality will not find an ounce of either here." (The Washington Post)
Beevor gives a thoroughly readable account of the familiar D-Day story, enlivened by a number of telling anecdotes from generals to privates and unvarnished sketches of all the key participants on the Allied and German sides. Nor does Beevor spare us the truly gory details of the battles and the systematized killing that was the Normandy campaign. War is always a bloody business and Beevor rightly refuses to ignore it. This is a refreshingly unsentimental view of things that should never be seen as anything but what they were.
The book is not faultless, however. There are annoying factual and grammatical errors that could have been prevented by an attentive copy editor with minimal knowledge of the era: in the most striking example, Beevor writes of a bombing attack carried out by "B-24 Flying Fortresses" and "B-17 Liberators," when the opposite terminology is of course the correct one. My late father-in-law, a "mickey operator" on Eighth Air Force B-17s in 1944-45, would have turned even greyer at the hearing. And Beevor's troops are forever becoming "disorientated." The correct word is "disoriented."
The narration is technically competent and Cameron Stewart moves it along crisply in a strong, clear voice, but he has an unfortunate habit of adopting rather bad American, French and German voice accents when recounting stories from archival material, military orders, personal diaries, and the like. The Germans all sound like bad actors in a B movie. A straightforward narration in his own voice throughout would have been the better course.
Nevertheless, this is a fine account of one of the world's most significant battles and its ensuing military campaign--one that changed our civilization forever for the better. I commend "D-Day and the Battle for Normandy" to historians, WW II aficionados, and general readers alike.
Non-Fiction, Science, Tech, History & Business
A solid history of the events immediately leading up to D-Day and the months that followed.
The other reviews are accurate enough to give a good feel for what to expect, but I will just add for the light reader of history, that while the book hits the occasional dry spell, it succeeds in telling a compelling story with dozens of fun and interesting stories of the persons involved.
I've read two of the author's books and part of a third. This would be the fourth book by this author. What I like about Beevor's histories is that he presents the subject from a broad range of perspectives. Like past books, in D-Day he examines the roles of the generals, the colonels and majors,and the grunts of both sides. Of equal importance, he brings to life the civilians and their roles and outcomes from this event. I came away appreciating the sacrifice, pain and desparation of the many who participated in D-Day. I recommend this book.
On the "con" side, the narration is weird in places. The narrator -- Cameron Stewart -- who is obviously English, sounds goofy and cartoonish when he tries to quote Americans in the narrative. He does a good job with all the other accents, but he makes all the US characters sound like warehouse workers from Brooklyn. The narration is the only reason I didn't give this book five stars.
If you are into a methodical story of a battle from both sides, then Beevor is a master, and this book is for you. I couldn't stop listening.
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor and Berlin by Antony Beevor
His accents were great. He has brilliant, distinct accents for American Generals, American Soldiers, Canadians, Scottish, German and eccentric Brits, etc... I was pleasantly surprised by his masterful performance
I did, but at 20+ hours, that's not possible. It took me about a month of listening to and from work.
The only criticisms I have is there is far too much focus on the French (especially at the end), and not enough criticism of the French (there seemed to be praise and admiration for them and their pompous attitudes). Also, while it is highlighted, I don't think there is enough criticism of Montgomery's failures. I would have also like to hear more from the German perspective, especially from their home-front. But these criticisms are nothing significant. Overall this is a great book.
The audiobook format is a linear one. You can't exactly flick back a few pages to check the details about some place, person or event that has just re-entered the narrative. The progress of war on the other hand is rarely linear: a battle front breaks up into sub-fronts, gets outflanked here, outflanks the enemy there. Lots of stories happening at once.
This is a superbly detailed book, but wow - there's so many battles, place names (in French of course), weaponry, personnel on both sides... so much stuff to keep circulating through my tired old brain. I will find a print copy of this, then I can pore over the maps which I am sure the book will have, I can flick back to previous chapters to remind myself and I can look through the index and citations... and maybe when I have read through it 2 or 3 times I will have wrapped my head around this stupendous piece of history. I would give it 5 out 5 for the story alone, but for me it has to be in print.
(It would appear that when I post this there will be no paragraphs - apologies if it is harder to read as a consequence.)
Say something about yourself!
I was expecting another D-day-only narrative when I bought this book. Something to compliment Ryan and Ambrose. I was pleasantly surprised to get much more, since the book covers the European campaign in some detail from D-day until the liberation of Paris, with much time being spent on the siege of Caen, the battle for the Falaise Pocket, and the capture of Paris.
The narrator did a decent enough job, except he imitated accents when speaking in the voice of American, French, or German people. He even had voices he did for Monty and Churchill.
The practice hit a very discordant note, and distracted from the narrative.
Yes I would recommend to anyone interested in D day and the battle for France.
The Narration was very well done. But we Americans don't really sound like that do we?
The narrator put forth great efforts when reading direct quotes from others. He used the accents of where the quotes were coming from. The author wrote in a highly descriptive way that brought the reader directly to D-Day.
I really liked how he changed accents for the direct quotes.
My first book by this author. I found it interesting and informative, but not necessarily compelling. Lots of anecdotes and tales of egotism and competition among the Allies, and fairly blunt descriptions of Allied shortcomings. All I can say is, thank goodness Hitler trusted his own counsel.
Looking at other reviews of Beevor I see he is highly respected and this is not rated as the top of his game. I will give one of his more definitive books a read and form a final opinion then.
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