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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.


 

Decription:
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.

Amazon.com
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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist
An expert on D-Day, Ambrose heads a premier oral history archive based in New Orleans. He has written invasion-related narratives on both the macro (a two-volume biography of General Eisenhower, 1983 and 1991) and the micro (Band of Brothers: E Company, 501st Regiment, 1992) scales. This fiftieth anniversary salvo brackets the big and small as it finds the range on its target: the critical first hours of American landings on Utah and Omaha Beaches, and concurrent paratroop drops behind the lines. Ambrose calls his text a "love song to democracy." Since it draws from some 1200 eyewitness testimonials collected in his archive, however, his book might more accurately be thought of as an organization of the chaotic, terrifying, and courageous experiences of the first soldiers to face the Nazi hellfire. An excellent editor of the raw material, who knows Pointe du Hoc as if he had scaled it himself, Ambrose situates his pungent, laconic, and gruesome quotations at virtually the exact spots where they were uttered, and he is completely unbashful in his patriotic reverence for the sacrifices these men made. A consuming and highly readable memorial to the day's infantry-unit victors--one that World War II veterans will demand in strength. Ambrose's is the leading and required element in the coming wave of commemorative books. (Watch for the round-up review in the May 1 Booklist) Gilbert Taylor

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.

Book Description

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. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Synopsis
From the author of the definitive biography of Eisenhower comes the chronicle of the Allied invasion of Normandy, published on the 50th anniversary of the historic event. Eminent military historian Ambrose draws on previously unavailable government documents and more than 1,200 new interviews to tell the tale. Condensed in Readers Digest. 32 pages of photos; 8 maps. (Military History)


Reviewer: Barron Laycock (Labradorman) (see more about me) from New Hampshire
No one has been more prolific or entertaining in his efforts to bring the gritty, unit-level personal experiences of the Allied drive from Normandy into Germany to the public's attention than Stephen Ambrose. In his series of books including "Band Of Brothers", "The Victors", "Citizen Soldiers", and "D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War Two", he has masterfully employed a little-known treasure trove of personal interviews with thousands of Allied soldiers to marshal an absolutely absorbing, captivating, and insightful treatise on the nature of combat as experienced by the men and women in the forefront of action as it transpired all along the front.

In this volume he concentrates on the D-Day invasion onto the beachheads along the exposed coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944, in what was the largest and by far the most dangerous sea borne assault since the disastrous Australian failure to establish a beachhead at Gallipoli and the ensuing bloodbath earlier in the century. In a book memorable for its countless personal stories and private adventure in the midst of carnage, chaos, and confusion, of free fire zones where anything that moves dies, Ambrose paints an indelible portrait of the unbelievable madness of war. Following in the famous footsteps of famed author Cornelius Ryan in "The Longest Day", Ambrose uses the amazing and absorbing recollections of the men who fought there to tell the story with poignancy, clarity, and a profound respect for the deeds of so many who fought so valiantly there in service to their countries.

This is a story that should be told again and again, so we never forget what it took to take back the beaches, the surrounding countryside, all in preparation for moving on into the interior of France to push the Germans all the way back to Berlin. This was not only the longest day, but also one of the greatest days in history, when hundreds of thousands of Brits, Canadians, Australians, Frenchmen, and Americans strove out of their landing boats to set foot back on Europe, to take back by force of arms the liberty and freedom that had been wrested away from the mainland so cruelly nearly five years before. This, then, is the story of how that crusade to liberate Europe began, of its first shaky steps off the LSTs and boats onto the rocky bloodied shores of France.

Mr. Ambrose has become a virtual cottage industry in the World War Two section of your local bookstore, while he has also published works such as his recent best seller on explorers Lewis and Clark. Meanwhile, he has become phenomenally successful because many of his books have captured the public's imagination by being so readable, entertaining, and informative. While popular success doesn't always equate to critical worthiness, in his case it consistently seems to. This is a wonderfully worthwhile, eminently researched, exhaustively documented, and superbly narrated book on the most critical day in the long and painful struggle to finally liberate Europe. Enjoy!


Reviewer: A reader from Northeast Arkansas
Ambrose has truly contributed to the world's knowledge by his work. This book was my introduction to the works of Steven Ambrose, but I have since read almost all of his books still in print. Having read scores of histories of The Second World War, including Cornelius Ryan's classic account of D-Day, I can honestly say that Ambrose's "D-Day" told me quite a bit that I didn't know. And, Dr. Ambrose is a gripping writer; his books are impossible to put down. While all his works are highly readable, this book is perhaps his best to this point, though Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers are also outstanding.

The real significance of "D-Day" is that it tells us just how brutal the assault at Omaha really was for the men of that generation. No account prior to this has been willing to expose the slaughter of the first waves of assault troops on Omaha. D-Day also tell us the personal stories of some of the average citizen soldiers placed into the horrible crucible of combat. Many times histories focus on strategies, officers, and overall accomplishments. This book gives us a compelling view of the rank and file who did the work of winning the war. Those who survived, and those who didn't, confronted and ultimately conquered what should have been an insurmountable fixed defense; they did their duty in a way that should make us all proud and grateful. Most veterans interviewed by Dr. Ambrose were quite modest about their accomplishments, but their quiet heroics---doing that which human beings find so hard to do---literally saved the world from a terrible tyranny---make no mistake about that! This book offers a compelling account of the price that was paid by average men (our fathers, uncles, and grandfathers), for the freedom we now take for granted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

 

 

 

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