Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson


Two years ago, I recommended Antony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin 1945. I'll parallel that review in this year's Book Review No. 42 by recommending his D-Day: The Battle for Normandy. In the Cold Spring Shops library, it's an excellent supplement to Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day and to Stephen Ambrose's D-Day: June 6, 1944 -- The Climactic Battle of WWII. If you don't have either of those books, buy this one. There's less individual detail than Ryan's or Ambrose's, but more overview of coordination, or not, among the allies, as well as an overview of the breakout from Normandy, the second invasion through the south of France, and the liberation of Paris. Mr Beevor suggests that the most difficult part of the invasion, Omaha Beach, still featured the fortunes of war, with some units landing almost unopposed and beginning to work their way up the bluffs within the hour, and with the Germans unable to oppose the landings their as vigorously as they might like, thanks to the success of the British and Canadian units to their right. And perhaps those optimists, including me, who gave some credence to the notion that Iraqis would welcome American liberators, will gain perspective from the stories of unrest and score-settling among the French as their liberation occurred. There was the potential for a civil war loosely along communist and republican lines: possibly an area for future research? And Mr Beevor has no brief for his countryman General Montgomery. Perhaps he will follow up with an investigation of Market-Garden -- after all of General Montgomery's lapses in the dash from the beaches to Paris, it's hard not to sympathize with General Patton griping about General Eisenhower holding Monty's hand and starving Third Army of supplies.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: history, military
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