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D-Day June 6, 1944
: The Climactic Battle of World War II

Author: Stephen E. Ambrose
Hardcover (June 1994)
Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0671673343
Dimensions (in inches): 1.71 x 9.53 x 6.43
Paperback 655 pages (June 1995)
Simon & Schuster (Paper)
ISBN: 068480137X
Dimensions (in inches): 1.33 x 9.22 x 6.20

Notes: 32 pages of photos; 8 maps.

They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not hand grenades, shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other men.

But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned,
- they fought.
- They were soldiers of democracy.
- They were the men of D-Day.

When Hitler declared war on the United States, he bet that the young men brought up in the Hitler Youth would outfight the youngsters brought up in the Boy Scouts. Now, in this magnificent retelling of the war's most climactic battle, acclaimed Eisenhower biographer and World War II historian Stephen E. Ambrose tells how wrong Hitler was.
Drawing on hundreds of oral histories as well as never-before-available information from around the world, Ambrose tells the true story of how the Allies broke through Hitler's Atlantic Wall, revealing that the intricate plan for the invasion had to be abandoned before the first shot was fired. Focusing on the 24 hours of June 6, 1944, D-Day brings to life the stories of the men and women who made history -- from top Allied and Axis strategic commanders to the citizen soldiers whose heroic initiative saved the day.
From high-level politics to hand-to-hand combat, from winner-take-all strategy to survival under fire, here is history more gripping than any thriller -- the epic story of democracy's victory over totalitarianism.

Table of Contents:

  • Total pages : 655 pages

Ed's Analysis:
Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, Stephen E. Ambrose's D-Day: June 6, 1944 relies on over 1,400 interviews with veterans, as well as prodigious research in military archives on both sides of the Atlantic. He provides a comprehensive history of the invasion which also eloquently testifies as to how common soldiers performed extraordinary feats. A major theme of the book, upon which Ambrose would later expand in Citizen Soldiers, is how the soldiers from the democratic Allied nations rose to the occasion and outperformed German troops thought to be invincible. The many small stories that Ambrose collected from paratroopers, sailors, infantrymen, and civilians make the excitement, confusion, and sheer terror of D-day come alive on the page. --Robert McNamara --

From Kirkus Reviews , April 1, 1994
A splendid, moving, and authoritative account of the most decisive day of WW II by Ambrose (History/Univ. of New Orleans), whose massive biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon have won widespread praise. Based on ``the most extensive first-person, I-was-there collection of memoirs of a single battle in existence,'' Ambrose moves easily between the strategy of each side and the individual recollections of the battle. He conveys not only the magnitude of the enterprise but its complexity. He also suggests some significant changes to the conventional interpretation of the war, most notably in the view hitherto taken about the respective quality of leadership and soldiers on each side. He contradicts the belief in the superiority of the German soldiers and says that the higher losses they inflicted against the Anglo-American armies derived from the necessity for the latter to take the offensive. The German army was, he writes, ``inferior in all respects (except for weaponry, especially the 88s and the machine guns) to its allied opponents.'' He call Rommel's plan to stop the Allied invasion on the beach ``one of the greatest blunders in military history,'' and he compares the strategy to that of the French Maginot line. By contrast, he argues that Eisenhower's judgment was generally right and that he not only inspired his subordinates but also showed courage in rejecting suggestions for an alternative strategy from Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. But most memorable in the account are the tales of individual heroism, from the 16-year-old French girl who, with a group of companions, paralyzed the German Second Panzer Division by removing the axle grease from its transporters and substituting an abrasive, to the Canadian soldier who threw himself down on barbed wire to enable his companions to use his body as a ladder. A brilliant account that blends perfectly the human and the strategic dimensions of this great battle. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to U.S. News & World Report; Book-of-the- Month Club main selection; History Book Club main selection) -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal
World War II buffs have always liked books about the Normandy invasions, but most popular accounts are now several years old. Ambrose has updated the familiar story of the massive amphibious landings with new information, deft historical perspective, and a gripping narrative. Several opening chapters about the strategic situation and the laborious preparations for the invasion keep this book from becoming just another battlefield drama. His portraits of the various military commanders are superb. Numerous interviews with Allied veterans provide fresh material for the vital human element of the story, and accounts from German survivors show the enemy's viewpoint. The result is the best popular history since Max Hastings's vigorous "Overload: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy" (LJ 6/1/84), detailed enough for the historian yet with plenty of action for the lay reader. Recommended for public and military collections. - Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Edwards AFB

From Raleigh Trevelyan - The New York Times Book Review
The early chapters about strategy, planning and preparation include some new and illuminating details about undercover liaisons with the French Resistance and the Allies' deceptive ruses. . . . But the descriptions of individual ordeals on the bloody beach of Omaha make this book outstanding. . . . Mr. Ambrose makes some didactic pronouncements in this book that could cause arguments, demolishing, for instance, the 'mythical' qualities of the German fighting soldier. . . . Such matters aside, Mr. Ambrose wonderfully illuminates the mind of the very young soldier of any nation anywhere who has never been in fighting before.

From Russell F. Weigley - Parameters (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.)
{Ambrose} clearly intends his book not only as a comprehensive history but also as a memorial tribute to the men and women of D-Day. The result nevertheless is troublesome. His tributes to the gallantry of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Resistance fighters keep getting in the way of history as a search either for truth or for lessons. . . . With the Germans, Ambrose is more willing to offer critical judgments, and we are treated to some of the perceptiveness of which he is highly capable. . . . In particular he presents shrewd judgments on the debate among the Germans over the proper conduct of the defense against the allies' amphibious assault. . . . {This} is a book that every student of World War II ought to read. It is almost encyclopedically comprehensive in its recital of the events of the invasion day and of the preparation forOverlord. Yet it could have been more than it is. . . . A great work of critical history can be a stronger tribute to the heroes of the past than a conventional monument, in stone or in prose.
Copyright 1983 The H.W. Wilson Company. All rights reserved.

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