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Book Review - D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
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Author:  Blake [ Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Book Review - D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

D-Day:The Battle for Normandy. Antony Beevor. Penguin Books, 2009.

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Many books have been written about the invasion of Normandy in 1944 I am well aware. Being a new student to World War Two I have little to compare this book to at the moment. My initial impression is that this book is a very informative read and gives some great insight into the invasion of Normandy and its impact on the citizens of France. Beevor's book concludes that the citizens of Normandy were sacrifical lambs to the allies who destroyed that region in order to save greater France from a war of attrition as seen in World War One. Paris was liberated without being torn to the ground by the Gemrans and the other regions of France (excluding some port cities) were abandoned without real incident. The towns of Normandy though were bombed by the allies to make the German escape and/or reinforcement much more difficult in that area. Although allied planes dropped leaflets to the people of these areas to leave the towns many failed to do or were not able to because of German occupation. The resulting cost in French lives was very high. Beevor argues, convincingly, that the cost was an acceptable one as the campaign could not have gone as smoothly had the allies tried to spare civilian lives in their objectives during those crucial early months.

Much of the writing I generally found to be a bit dry. He would include great stories in some places but then would go long stretches of without including anything more interesting than a general play-by-play of which division went where and fought who. Additional insights into the leaders would have been welcomed. He did cover the Montogomery vs. Eisenhower angle well and probably made a few enemies of the British by declaring Montgomery's performance at Normandy to be well-below average.

The book follows the Allies from Normandy to the liberation of Paris as they fought through the bocage and against Panzer divisions shifted from the eastern front. The inclusion of the assassination plot against Hitler was interesting as to how it affected his actions concerning the new front in France. Rommel's wounding during this period is also unfortunate as the author believes he was ready to make a separate peace with the allies or to revolt against Hitler himself.

I look forward to more books on this era of history and have quite the pile of books ready to go!

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