Normandy ’44 – Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France by James Holland

Filled with spectacular detail, Normandy ’44 offers a comprehensive view of the Normandy Campaign. Rather than focusing on one aspect, such as a day, a beach, a Division, Holland has written a broad narrative of the entire battle for Normandy from the initial planning to the final outcome 77 days later.

I devoured this book. It is an historic account that for me reads like a remarkable novel. So detailed, but not so academic as to be unreadable by the average student of history. No history of the battle that I have read before has provided such a wide-ranging view and allowed me to discovered so many facts of which I was previously unaware. While conscious of the planning and coordination that had gone into Operation Overlord, I was stunned by the actual logistics required just for the initial days of the invasion. And for all intents and purposes, all the planning went into Overlord and the first few days alone, to the detriment of what was to follow. It was so imperative that the landings succeed that training and planning for the long-term was set aside. 

The stories of the obscure individuals and groups across the extent of the battle were so fascinating. Stanley Christopherson and the Sherwood Ranger Yeomanry, the Dubosq family, the Bowles brothers, Lieutenant Hans Heinze, they and so many more, captivated me with their ingenuity, their humanity, and their courage. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the advance reader copy made available for my review.

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