On 6 June, 1944, Britain woke up to a profound silence. Overnight, 160,000 Allied troops had vanished and an eerie emptiness settled over the country. The majority of those men would never return.
This is the story of that extraordinary 24 hours. Using a wealth of first-person testimonies, renowned historian Max Arthur recounts a remarkable new oral history of D-Day, beginning with the two years leading up to the silent day that saw the UK transformed by the arrival of thousands of American and Canadian troops. We also hear the views of the American troops, who quickly formed strong views of both the British military and civilian populations.
Then, on that June morning, many British people woke up to discover that vast areas of the country, which had throbbed with life only the day before, were now empty and silent. Civilian workers found coffee pots still warm on the stove but not a soul to greet them. Many women - and children - felt bewildered and betrayed. Then, throughout that day and the days that followed, the whole population gathered around wireless sets, waiting for news.
There are powerful testimonies from families of who lost loved ones on the beaches of Normandy, and dramatic personal accounts from young widows who had never had the chance to say goodbye.
The Silent Day is an original and evocative portrait of a key event in world history, and a poignant reminder of the human cost of D-Day.
©2014 Max Arthur (P)2014 John Murray Press
A mailman in Iowa, I have hours and hours to listen as I walk along. History in the am, adventure in the pm, literature when the muse calls.
English men and women, and Americans and Canadians recount the Allied build-up in England for D-Day with stories, some funny, some sad. Troops, tanks, ships crowded harbors and village lanes until it seemed England could hold no more, and still more came. Frictions, friendships and loves formed - and suddenly, they were gone, off to war, and a now-quiet England held its breath. The narrators are superb, bringing to life the people and events of a still uncertain trial by combat. A pleasure to "read".
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