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Publisher's Summary

In December 1943, with the rising realization that the Allies are planning to invade Fortress Europe, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is assigned the title of General Inspector for the Atlantic Wall. His mission is to assess their readiness.

His superior, theater commander, crusty old Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, who had led the Reich to victory in the early years of the war, is now fed up with the whole Nazi regime. He lives comfortably in a plush villa in a quiet Paris suburb, waiting for the inevitable Allied invasion that will bring about their final defeat.

General der Artillerie Erich Marcks, badly injured in Russia, is the corps commander on the ground in Normandy, trying to build up the coastal defenses with woefully inadequate supplies and a shortage of men to fulfill Rommel's demands. Marcks is convinced that the Allies will land in his sector, but no one higher up the chain of command seems interested in what he thinks.

Countdown to D-Day takes a detailed day-to-day journal approach, tracing the daily activities and machinations of the German High Command as they try to prepare for the Allied invasion.

©2019 Peter Margaritis (P)2019 Tantor

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What listeners say about Countdown to D-Day

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well worth the length

I enjoyed the length of this bookAnd how much about how much it revealed the chaos, the futility surrounding much of the German side of the war

2 people found this helpful

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Forest or trees

This extremely long book covers in excruciating detail the German preparations for the allied D-Day landings of June, 1944. The site was expected to be Normandy but could have been elsewhere in occupied Europe so we hear about motor trips all over Europe, including the names of hotels and dinner menus. We get detailed descriptions of French chateaux and mansions where commanding officers lived and worked. We get a good sense of the infighting and jealousies among top generals. If there is one important narrative in this mass of detail, it is about General Rommel, who comes across as a decent human being, a man to whom all who have served under him are fiercely devoted. Many of his letters to his wife are reproduced in the book. The author clearly likes him. Thus, it is surprising that after the D-Day narrative , no mention of Rommel's tragic end a few months later is made. This is definitely a book for students of the June, 1944 Allied landings.

2 people found this helpful

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Unbelievable Minute Detail

Peter Margaritas has a narrative masterpiece with this work. Yes it is dense, and yes it is VERY detailed. But that shouldn't deter anyone with interest in the subject. And yes, it is Rommel-centric to the point of ignoring everyone else. But one has to remember that Rommel was that important to the lead up to D-Day and German command in the most chaotic years of 1943-1944. What Margaritas does so well is detail a German command in complete confusion and under no illusions that the war is winnable. And therefore Hitler and his commanders toggle between euphoria and despair from moment to moment. And all the while the Allied invasion is assured, a plan to assassinate Hitler is underway, involving key persons in all areas of German hierarchy. It's truly a wonder. And Roger Clark is a main reason to listen. He's extraordinary when narrating a work like this. Not many can pull this off. He brings history to life, which is a gift in itself. BRAVO.

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible

Another rock start performance by Roger Clark, who never stumbles over German words 18 letters in length. Margaritis paints a phenomenal portrait of the inner workings of the Reich leading up to and through the first days of the D-Day invasion. Details abound, without diving too far into the weeds. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful

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its was really good

I really like hearing the other side of stories. Knowing both sides gives you a better understanding of history .

1 person found this helpful

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Unexpectedly good !

Enjoyed the book immensely. It is a detailed account of the days leading the the Normandy invasion, delivered in a absorbing manner.
One of the readings you wish would never end.
Highly recommended to military history enthusiasts.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

Could have been cut in half. The prelude to the invasion was tedious and at a level of detail that was mind numbing and inconsequential. Would not recommend it

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Great

Very informative and learned a lot of new things very good on the perspective of the Germans

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should have included Rommel in the title...

book is pretty much about Rommel... not impressed at all. at the least it should have been called Rommel and the count down to D-day

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  • P Foster
  • 03-24-20

Great book.

Excellent book. It is a pity that the narrator seems unable to correctly pronounce a single foreign word !!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • PD AmazonBuyer
  • 05-09-20

Shame - potentially interesting topic spoilt.

The subject is potentially fascinating, especially for those keen on the history of the events of June 1944. However, the insistence on writing the chapters in the present tense ruins it. Why do this? It makes the flow disjointed.

Coupled with the monotone reader it spoils what I hoped would be a good audiobook. After just two chapters I couldn’t take any more and abandoned it.

Real shame.

2 people found this helpful

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  • James G.
  • 10-27-21

Very Good Oppositional Perspective

Really enjoyed this. English language history books, obsess over all the easy to reach Allied sources and then dip in and out of the German ones. This Audio book, stays hyper focused on the German side. Thank god that the Nazi and Whermacht upper orders were so hide bound in their own egos, that they were beaten in WW2. My only negative point would be the Saint hood of Rommel in the book. Obviously a phenomenal Warrior, etc. But he only got that job by being Hitler's bodyguard leader, from early on. A shrewd politicians nose must have kept him from being an early SS recruit. And Hitler was a dog lover too. None of the senior German Generals would have been blind to the slave labour used in making their war toys.

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  • Ken P
  • 10-15-21

A full account of the German D Day preparations

Narration very good. Story excellent (was the author planning a film of this book?)
Content very exact and taken from diaries 3rd I suspect, along with memories of Edwin Rommel's son.
A very good listen going over ground already covered, with the exception this book fills in details probably missing from some accounts.
Highly recommend this book

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  • H Buckner
  • 10-10-21

very good, but could have been better

Rather too much emphasis on Rommel and no mention of the exception caused by our wickedly clever deception units

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  • Nik
  • 08-29-21

Quite hard going, but the subject matter was always going to be.

Thought the book was read by a computer, but this seemed to fit the tone of the book

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  • Paul R Gregory
  • 03-17-21

Enlightening yet turgid

An alternative viewpoint from the Axis side of D-Day landings. Overall I enjoyed it, it’s well written, there’s plenty of detail and some good dramatisation. However, the narration is delivered in such a ponderous manner that, after the first 10hrs, I found myself wishing that the Allies had invaded in May rather than June 1944. Fortunately, the day was saved by running the audio at x1.5 normal speed. I can thoroughly recommend the book, the narration not so much.

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  • Lorraine wood
  • 03-08-21

Mixed emotions

it was nice to hear about ww2 from a German perspective, they wasn't all monster's they to had families,I found myself feeling tremendous sympathy for the whole war and every nationality involved.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Luc S.
  • 03-05-21

Great book, bad choice from the publisher

The story is excellent, very much recommended.
The narrator is not, at times I couldn't make out which Belgian town he was talking about ( and I live in Belgium !).
Bad choice of the publisher to pick him as the narrator for this book, take one that can pronounce French and German names.

Buy only if you are not annoyed easily by terrible pronunciation of towns/personal names.