THE SIXTH OF JUNE

Collectable Books On the Shelf

Ahead of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, John Carroll looks at three heavyweight books by noted authors about the 1944 Normandy campaign

All three books are readily available from all good bookstores or online

In the 21st Century, it seems that many of us can’t drive too far without the aid of a satnav or park without electronic assistance, so reading books about any aspect of the D-Day landings, amphibious or airborne, serves to reiterate how far technology has come. To my mind, that makes the scale of the invasion and its precise planning even more impressive. These three academic studies written decades after ‘The Longest Day’ provide in-depth reading on its complexities.

D-Day: Stephen – Stephen E. Ambrose

I’ll never know what it’s like to jump out of a C-47 into the darkness and parachute into an opposed landing zone, but a sober assessment of the risks of being shot, drowned, injured, blown off course and generally disorientated shows what risks many British and American troopers willingly took. Other, but no less dangerous, risks awaited those who came ashore from landing crafts. In this 1994 book, illustrated with black and white photos and maps, based on 1,400 oral histories from those who were there, noted World War Two historian Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of D-Day. It is about the citizen soldiers, a favourite theme of Ambrose – junior officers and enlisted men taking the initiative to act on their own to break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. It is a no holds barred story of the battles on landing beaches and drop zones. Ambrose believes that D-Day was “the epic victory of democracy on the most important day of the 20th century”.

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