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D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

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It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrena It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought (from the Prologue).


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It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrena It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought (from the Prologue).

30 review for D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    May 8, 1994 Dear Prof. Ambrose: I have read most of your books and enjoyed them immensely. I was therefore eagerly awaiting the publication of your new book about D-Day. It finally arrived at our bookstore and I immediately began, greedily, to devour it. As it turns out, last Tuesday, I journeyed to Altoona, one-hundred miles east of here, to take my father to a hospital for some exploratory surgery. My father was an army medic, helping to chase Rommel through North Africa. He made it to Sicily whe May 8, 1994 Dear Prof. Ambrose: I have read most of your books and enjoyed them immensely. I was therefore eagerly awaiting the publication of your new book about D-Day. It finally arrived at our bookstore and I immediately began, greedily, to devour it. As it turns out, last Tuesday, I journeyed to Altoona, one-hundred miles east of here, to take my father to a hospital for some exploratory surgery. My father was an army medic, helping to chase Rommel through North Africa. He made it to Sicily where he suffered shrapnel wounds. Even now, when I read your histories of brave young men, I hear my father's stories of horror, joy, friendship and courage. I was obviously very concerned about the surgery my father faced and the possible results of the concurrent tests. I knew I would have a long, lonely wait in the hospital waiting room. I brought your book. It helped. For long stretches of time the worry surrounding me abated as I turned the pages of that day on the beaches of Normandy. Hours passed and the room filled with patients and their families. An old man came in, alone, and sat next to me. He smelled seasoned. I did not look up from my (your) book. Finally the old man shouted at me, "What's that book about?" I showed him the cover and said, "D-Day." "I was there," he said. I looked from his ice-blue eyes, down his unshaven face, to his windbreaker. There, over his heart, was a Screaming Eagle. It happens that this man, George Adams, was a paratrooper in C Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne. I showed him your book and he began slowly looking through the pictures. After awhile I began to wonder if he would ever give me the book back without a fight. If so, I didn't like my chances. I asked him if he was still close to the men he jumped with that day and his jaw set in a way that I've never seen before and cannot adequately describe. He says he goes to the reunions annually. He's thinking about going back this June to jump on the anniversary. I gave him the address for The Eisenhower Center and urged him to write to you. I hope he does. Anyhow, he said he was going to buy your book. I wanted to buy him a hundred beers and ask him a thousand questions. I wish my own reasons for being in that waiting room were not hanging like a cloud. But my concerns kept me there and George Adams was called out next. We shook hands and I thanked him. He thanked me. I wanted him to know that there are many of my generation who appreciate what he did. I think we both felt our coincidental meeting was more special than odd. He left and I sat there holding your book, full of heroes like George Adams and the man I was waiting for. My Dad was all right: just some hemorrhoids. I pried him loose from the nurses and drove him home. I wanted to share this story with you and to thank you for the gift you share with readers like me. Sincerely

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    As a brit this book really annoyed me. It’s not about the Normandy landings; it’s about the American landing on Omaha Beach. At every opportunity Ambrose trivialises and criticises the British, Canadian and other allied forces while giving us a chest thumping partisan view of the unequalled bravery of the Americans. The bias is embarrassing and a colossal show of disrespect to the soldiers of every other nation in the allied forces.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    My father (Warner Hamlett -D-Day vet and still doing well) was interviewed and quoted in this book. He is 93 years old and relives WWII every night in his dreams. He still goes out to his homemade bomb cellar during thunderstorms and screams in his sleep. Stephen Ambrose is an excellent author. He double checks his details and sources, using first-hand accounts of events. My father was in the 29 infantry out of South Boston, VA when they stormed Normandy Beach. The book tells the story of D-Day s My father (Warner Hamlett -D-Day vet and still doing well) was interviewed and quoted in this book. He is 93 years old and relives WWII every night in his dreams. He still goes out to his homemade bomb cellar during thunderstorms and screams in his sleep. Stephen Ambrose is an excellent author. He double checks his details and sources, using first-hand accounts of events. My father was in the 29 infantry out of South Boston, VA when they stormed Normandy Beach. The book tells the story of D-Day soldiers through their own words. I can tell you myself, Daddy’s stories have never changed over the years and Mr. Ambrose (who interviewed my father personally) did an excellent job of telling his story and quoting him verbatim.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    This book is an absolute masterpiece about D-Day. It's a combination of in In-depth Statistics; Oral History; & lots of fantastic interviews. Kinda long but highly recommended. This book is an absolute masterpiece about D-Day. It's a combination of in In-depth Statistics; Oral History; & lots of fantastic interviews. Kinda long but highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Checkman

    Stephen Ambrose enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1990's with his WWII books about the fighting in Northwestern Europe. The books were massive bestsellers and made him a household name. Of course a historian enjoying such popularity means that other historians and history buffs will be examing his/her's work with a fine tooth comb. Late in his life ,and continuing since his death, reports surfaced documenting/alleging longtime patterns of plagiarism and inaccuracies in many of his published w Stephen Ambrose enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1990's with his WWII books about the fighting in Northwestern Europe. The books were massive bestsellers and made him a household name. Of course a historian enjoying such popularity means that other historians and history buffs will be examing his/her's work with a fine tooth comb. Late in his life ,and continuing since his death, reports surfaced documenting/alleging longtime patterns of plagiarism and inaccuracies in many of his published writings and other work. Additionally Ambrose has come under not unjustified criticism for his unabashed flag-waving and concentration on the men who made up the "elite" units rather than the poor kid who was drafted and thrown into the meat grinder with just a few weeks of training. Though ground combat is ground combat there is a difference between a highly trained paratrooper who had to be motivated just to get through the training and the eighteen year old who was assigned to the infantry with no say in the matter. That will shape perceptions and there are many who feel that Ambrose ignored the grunt because the grunt wasn't going to give a more rah rah account. Well as I wrote at the beginning this is a not unjustified critique of Ambrose. However I feel that it should be pointed out that "D-Day:June 6, 1944" is a little different. There is flagwaving and you can hear the stirring music in the background (albeit faintly), but in all fairness to Ambrose many of the vets who were interviewed were average soldiers - not paratroopers and Rangers and commandos. As a result I think "D-Day" presents a more balanced account of the fighting and the soldiers. No there is not the anger or cycnicsm that one will find with other writers such as Paul Fussell, but there is also not so much chest thumping as was in "Band of Brothers". This isn't a bad book. It didn't present anything new to me. This day has been covered by hundreds of writers in the past seventy years, but it's still a readable account. He does especially fine work covering Omaha Beach. If you're determined to hate Ambrose then you won't like this book . But if you're not very familiar with the war ,or don't have any strong academic opinions, then "D-Day: June 6, 1944" will prove to be informative and an involving read. It's popular history and sometimes that's enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Reading this you'd be forgiven for thinking that the US was alone at Normandy. One-eyed puffery and tabloid in its execution, as is Ambrose's way. There are vastly better books on D-Day (Beevor and Hastings for a start). Reading this you'd be forgiven for thinking that the US was alone at Normandy. One-eyed puffery and tabloid in its execution, as is Ambrose's way. There are vastly better books on D-Day (Beevor and Hastings for a start).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Compelling, suspenseful, inspiring and heartbreaking. The pace of the narrative never flags. Absolutely the finest popular history ever written about the D Day Invasion. Ambrose has the right mix, combining an endless series of fascinating personal accounts from English, German, and American troops, plus balancing out the strategic overview with detailed analysis.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This book is based on the oral histories of 1,400 men who were involved in D-Day. The majority of the book deals with one 24 hour period. Midnight, June 5/6 until midnight June 6/7. I learned about D-Day growing up. Mostly this was facts and figures. I have seen several movies about D-Day. Some were good. With the exception of a few names such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Montgomery I didn't know the people involved in one of the most historic events of the 20th century. In this book This book is based on the oral histories of 1,400 men who were involved in D-Day. The majority of the book deals with one 24 hour period. Midnight, June 5/6 until midnight June 6/7. I learned about D-Day growing up. Mostly this was facts and figures. I have seen several movies about D-Day. Some were good. With the exception of a few names such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Montgomery I didn't know the people involved in one of the most historic events of the 20th century. In this book you get to meet and know some of the men who were there. Citizen soldiers as Ambrose refers to them. They were the children of the Great Depression. For many of these men it was their first time in combat. I call them men but many were teenagers. In this book you meet a 15 year old (he lied about his age in order to enlist) and a 16 year old. No matter their age they were men. This is not an easy read. It is full of military terms and acronyms. I often had to flip to a map in order to try an orient myself to the events taking place. I am glad I was reading the hardback version so that I could do this easily. There were many times in the book when the horrors of war were vividly brought home. Many of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who were involved suffered grievous wounds and continued to fight. Even those who did not suffer a physical injury saw things that stayed with them and can only be described as a living hell. They did not come as invaders. They were there to liberate. There have been many movies about D-Day and they can be entertaining but to really learn about this day in history and appreciate the men who made this happen I would recommend reading this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beanbrenner

    Extraordinarily interesting anecdotes? Check. Chest-thumping patriotism? Check. Unbiased, carefully vetted history? Ehhhhhh.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peter Schmeltzer

    The greatest generation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    "The beach was just a complete shambles. It was like an inferno. There were bodies everywhere and some wounded being attended to. As I went by a tank I heard people screaming for morphine. The tank was on fire and they were burning to death. There wasn't a thing that I could do about that... Around midnight... I remember thinking, 'Man what a day this has been. If every day is going to be as bad as this I'll never survive the war.'" - Captain James Roberts (Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach) This book "The beach was just a complete shambles. It was like an inferno. There were bodies everywhere and some wounded being attended to. As I went by a tank I heard people screaming for morphine. The tank was on fire and they were burning to death. There wasn't a thing that I could do about that... Around midnight... I remember thinking, 'Man what a day this has been. If every day is going to be as bad as this I'll never survive the war.'" - Captain James Roberts (Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach) This book took me a very long time to finish (in no small part because I'm a slow reader - a reality exacerbated in this case by how frequently I found myself pausing and staring existentially into the void). The material isn't all dark. In a brief moment of respite I found myself laughing out loud at a Royal Marine Commando with enough presence of mind for a quip upon landing at Gold: "Perhaps we're intruding. This seems to be a private beach." But the accounts (sometimes merely sentence-long observations) of the individual soldier alone on his "own little battlefield," suffering, became recurring reflective exercises for me. Unable to stop myself from imagining the exact instant a life ceased to be - the before millisecond and then the after - I returned to a singular train of thought: What would it be like to die in that way with no witnesses available to emotionally reckon with the moment? What would it be like to die with no one to REALLY notice? This lens shaped my entire reading of the book, and it continues to weigh on me in the sense of an urgent need to seek, to learn, to share veterans' stories. I wish to be able to take the time that for their brothers on the battlefield was an impossible luxury: the time to mourn their passing and feel deeply its implications. A brief trip to Normandy earlier this year offered a tiny peek into what that responsibility entails. I long to go back. In the interim, works like Ambrose's and the introspection they provoke can remind us of our responsibility, even when on their own they feel entirely insufficient. Unfortunately Ambrose truly glosses - I'm talking paragraphs in a 600-page historical record - over the racist and sexist oppression by a people fighting against oppression. Minorities are almost entirely excluded from the narrative. Rather than dwell on this oversight, I choose to focus on each and every story included in the book, all of which deserve to be told. The exclusions simply amplify our responsibilities to each other as fellow Americans to learn as many more stories as we can. "The trouble is you think you have time."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Don Stanton

    Probably one of the top three of all of his books concerning the war in Europe. It is a great place to start reading his series of books about WWII. It would be great to read this and Pegasus Bridge at the same time. If you have an ability visualize, you will be moved. I was in France in September of 2008. I'm not a tour guy, so we just go were and when we want to go. Chelly, my wife, and I went to the cemetery in Normandy. I was nearly overwhelmed at the sight. When We came to the long stairway Probably one of the top three of all of his books concerning the war in Europe. It is a great place to start reading his series of books about WWII. It would be great to read this and Pegasus Bridge at the same time. If you have an ability visualize, you will be moved. I was in France in September of 2008. I'm not a tour guy, so we just go were and when we want to go. Chelly, my wife, and I went to the cemetery in Normandy. I was nearly overwhelmed at the sight. When We came to the long stairway that lead to Omaha Beach, I couldn't go down to the beach. Standing there with the dead behind me and the sacred shore before me, I felt a huge surge of sadness, suffering, patriotism, honor, sacrifice and holiness wash over me all at once. I felt honored to be at the cemetery, but unworthy to walk where those men willingly, knowingly gave there lives. That very alter of selfless sacrifice for freedom. With over 9,000 emblems of Christ's sacrifice for us behind me, and the sandy emblem of those 9,000 dead in front of me, all I could do was weep. Ambrose got it right.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Wonderful. I highly recommend Ambrose for historical reading. He makes things interesting and detailed and you feel like you really get to know somewhat what it was like being there. I will definitely be reading his other books. It's embarrassing that it took me almost 7 months to read this one though! This book was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father was with those soldiers that day. It reminded me of Captain Moroni and the title of liberty-when you are fighting for your liberty and your wiv Wonderful. I highly recommend Ambrose for historical reading. He makes things interesting and detailed and you feel like you really get to know somewhat what it was like being there. I will definitely be reading his other books. It's embarrassing that it took me almost 7 months to read this one though! This book was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father was with those soldiers that day. It reminded me of Captain Moroni and the title of liberty-when you are fighting for your liberty and your wives and children then God will be with you.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    I am currently listening to this audio book while at the same time reading the paperback of Anthony Beevor's D-Day book. I don't usually do that, listen to an audio book and read a paper copy book on the same topic. But in this case I am enjoying doing it, as I am really getting a full scope picture of this fascinating time in American history. I am currently listening to this audio book while at the same time reading the paperback of Anthony Beevor's D-Day book. I don't usually do that, listen to an audio book and read a paper copy book on the same topic. But in this case I am enjoying doing it, as I am really getting a full scope picture of this fascinating time in American history.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathlyn

    This book was terrible. It was biased, factually inaccurate and reflected the author's sycophantic relationship with Eisenhower rather than any objective understanding of the events of June 6 1944. This book was terrible. It was biased, factually inaccurate and reflected the author's sycophantic relationship with Eisenhower rather than any objective understanding of the events of June 6 1944.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason Long

    Too much American "Hoo-ah" and not enough credit given to the British and Canadian forces (only the last 10% of the book is allocated to them). Ambrose even repeatedly sees the need to reiterate that the British could have done more had they not continuously stopped for tea. Too much American "Hoo-ah" and not enough credit given to the British and Canadian forces (only the last 10% of the book is allocated to them). Ambrose even repeatedly sees the need to reiterate that the British could have done more had they not continuously stopped for tea.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    Ambrose sacrifices research for the sake of a flowing narrative.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    A great reminder of why we Americans should proudly stand for our flag!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Washburn

    Good pacing and organization. Great first person anecdotes. The dark humor quotes by soldiers injected some great comedy. I'm no historian, but I felt some obvious US bias when negative actions of the Americans were overshadowed by worse examples of the Germans immediately after. Interesting read and look at a different time. Good pacing and organization. Great first person anecdotes. The dark humor quotes by soldiers injected some great comedy. I'm no historian, but I felt some obvious US bias when negative actions of the Americans were overshadowed by worse examples of the Germans immediately after. Interesting read and look at a different time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    nanto

    Biar Menghayati ditambah membaca pidato Ike pada saat D-Day Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over th Biar Menghayati ditambah membaca pidato Ike pada saat D-Day Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. SIGNED Dwight D. Eisenhower Suaranya dapat didengar di link youtube ini Kalau tentara Indonesia pernah mendapat pidato menggugah dari Jenderal Soedirman, Pidato pertama sesudah pelantikan, Hendaknya perjuangan kita harus didasarkan atas kesucian. Dengan demikian perjuangan kita lalu merupakan perjuangan antara jahat melawan suci, dan kami percaya bahwa perjuangan suci itu senantiasa mendapatkan pertolongan dari Tuhan.(18 Des 1945, di Yogyakarta, sesudah pelantikan Pangsar) Anak-anak ku, Tentara Indonesia, kamu bukanlah serdadu sewaan, tetapi prajurit yang berideologi, yang sanggup berjuang dan menempuh maut untuk keluhuran tanah airmu. Percaya dan yakinlah, bahwa kemerdekaan suatu negara yang didirikan di atas timbunan runtuhan ribuan jiwa harta benda dari rakyat dan bangsanya, tidak akan dilenyapkan oleh manusia siapapun juga.” (Pangsar Sudirman, 5 Oktober 1949) Pidato lain yang banyak dikutip di dunia maya, Anak-anakku, tentara Indonesia, kamu bukanlah serdadu sewaan tetapi tentara yang berideologi yang sanggup berjuang dan menempuh maut untuk keluhuran tanah airmu. Percaya dan yakinlah, bahwa kemerdekaan satu negara, yagn didirikan diatas timbunan runtuhan ribuan jiwa harta benda dari rakyat dan bangsanya, tidak akan dapat dilenyapkan oleh manusia siapapun juga. Berjuang terus, saya tetap memimpin kamu sekalian. Tuhan insya Alloh melindungi perjuangan suci kita. (Jan 1948, halaman Candi Borobudur) (Sumber: dikutip dari link ini,) [pidato itu waktu acara latihan perang di Borobudur itu bukan yah?:] *** Pidato di atas, buat saya mengingatkan pada sebuah game RTS (Real Time Strategy) yang latar ceritanya perang jaman Romawi. Setiap menjelang pertempuran, seorang jenderal sambil menunggang kuda akan berpidato di depan para prajuritnya. Inti dari pidato itu berisi alasan dan tujuan untuk meyakinkan bahwa pertempuran itu secara "moral" sah dilakukan. (Sebisa mungkin diklaim sebagai just war barangkali). Hal yang sama dari pidato jenderal virtual itu dapat ditemukan dalam pidato dari dua jenderal dunia nyata. Lebih menarik lagi adalah memperhatikan pidato Eisenhower. Alinea ketiga merupakan uraian fakta. Misinya yang diuraikan di alinea pertama (the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world) tidak langsung dikuatkan dengan kalimat penambah semangat saja. Alinea kedua malah mengingatkan bahwa musuh yang dihadapi adalah musuh yang tangguh. Namun, ketangguhan itu dijawab dengan data di aline ketiga. Ini yang menarik buat saya. Seolah Eisenhower mengatakan, lawan yang tangguh itu tidak lebih yang kuat dari prajuritnya yang lebih tangguh. Kemenangan Nazi Jerman yang pernah dicapai pada tahun 1940-1941 tidak lagi berarti dihadapan kekuatan mereka saat itu. The tide has turned! Selanjutnya ia kembali pada alur sebuah pidato pengobar semangat, dengan menekankan pada dua alinea penutupnya: tanggung jawab kemenangan dan segenap restu dari Tuhan dalam kerja mulia prajuritnya. Pidato yang cukup singkat itu masih menyisipkan rasionalitas yang layak disampaikan. Kenyataan musuh yang tangguh tidak ditutupi, meski keyakinan mereka lebih tangguh tetap harus ditekankan. Semangat bukan berarti meremehkan kenyataan. Begitu catatan saya atas pidato Ike.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Shampanier-Bowen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My name is Jackson Shampanier-Bowen and today we will be sitting down with Erwin Rommel for an interview. Erwin Rommel is a historical figure who is featured in the book D-Day June 6, 1944 The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose. Erwin Rommel was a German Field Marshal during World War 2, known as the Desert Fox, who, after fighting in the North African deserts, was sent to defend the AtlantikWall against the incoming D-Day invasions. All his genius plans and ideas to fend off My name is Jackson Shampanier-Bowen and today we will be sitting down with Erwin Rommel for an interview. Erwin Rommel is a historical figure who is featured in the book D-Day June 6, 1944 The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose. Erwin Rommel was a German Field Marshal during World War 2, known as the Desert Fox, who, after fighting in the North African deserts, was sent to defend the AtlantikWall against the incoming D-Day invasions. All his genius plans and ideas to fend off a naval assault across the channel were foiled by higher ups and even the Fuhrer himself. We’ll be taking a look at his early decision making, his choices, his downfall, and examining his very complex character. Jackson: “For someone to have been such a rule breaker in their early years, would you have ever thought yourself to be one to join the army, let alone be one of its capable generals?” Rommel: “Probably not, as my family had very little military tradition or history and I was never a stickler for the rules as you mentioned. Despite what most say, my father’s brief career as an artillery commander before I was born always inspired me and I wanted to be just like him. I had the utmost respect for my country, the German Empire, and a strict love for the Kaiser, and when The Great War began, I could think of no better thing than to join the Deutsches Heer, or German army. I performed very well in my early years in the field and was highly decorated with the Pour Le Merite, and the Iron Cross. It was said that I inspired those around me and maybe that is why I became a general.” Jackson: “When did you realize your goals and ambitions for a new German Empire were doomed to fail? Why did you feel this way? What happened to you because of it?” Rommel: “I first realized Hitler was delusional at the first and second Battles of El Alamein. It was my first major defeat in my entire career, and the second German defeat of the war. After the Battle of Britain, our first major defeat, the Luftwaffe was so badly damaged, it might have cost us the war. This was put on full display at the infamous battle of El Alamein. A fleet of fifty transport planes guarded by a Luftwaffe squadron were supposed to bring us our munitions and supplies, but out of the fifty transport planes, forty five were shot down mid-flight. This was mostly because many of the planes sent to protect the transports never showed up to begin with. I marched out into the desert with my young battalion commander, Major Baron Hans von Luck, and I expressed my feeling of incoming disaster for the German Afrika Korps. Hitler began talking about me behind my back, calling me a “Defeatist”, but the German War Cabinet, ever weary of our mounting losses, called me a realist. This “Defeatism” or “Defeatist Attitude” would eventually lead to my downfall. I became twisted up in an elaborate assassination plot against the Fuhrer and he allowed me to commit suicide and leave my reputation and family alone.” Jackson: “How did it feel to be assigned to guard the AtlantikWall, after all of your great military campaigns in Africa and France? Did you feel that your talents were wasted? Would you have rather been sent to the Eastern Front? Did you feel this reassignment was a sign of the Cabinet losing faith in you?” Rommel: “At first I was a little annoyed, but after a little while I came to the realization that this was the most important assignment in all of the war theaters. We knew an Allied invasion was coming but we didn’t know where, so the AtlantikWall defenses were supposedly constructed to fend off such an invasion. However, when I arrived at the site, the task was being utterly mismanaged. I got to work straight away to fix the abomination. I wouldn’t say that my talents were wasted per se, but I do feel I could have been better utilized elsewhere. I may have been one of the few right for the job, but the job still was a downgrade, and I shouldn’t have been needed in the first place if the others had done their jobs. In the case of the Eastern Front, yes, I would’ve much rather been sent there. I think I could’ve been able to turn the war around, maybe even have made the final push to Moscow, but instead I was stuck digging trenches in French mud. I don’t feel that this was the Cabinet losing faith in me, no. I think this is a case of the Cabinet having no other options because I was the only one who could get this very important job done right, whereas others could command the advance.” Jackson: “If I were to ask Dwight D. Eisenhower, he would probably say the theme of this battle is something along the lines of “Hard work and dedication pays off, especially when someone needs it the most.” I assume it would be different for you as your story played out a little differently. What would you say the theme of the story is from a German perspective?” Rommel: “I would say, at least from an officer’s perspective, the theme was the importance of self reliance. Yes, it is important to get help from others when you need it, but never lean on people you don’t fully trust, and especially not any more than you have to. I lost many battles because I didn’t have the supplies to fight, because someone else messed up and the squadron sent to protect the transport planes never showed up. Had I known something like this could’ve happened, I would’ve preserved the resources we had more acutely. Again, when I was attempting to counterattack the beginnings of what was to become the Normandy Landings, I needed Hitler’s personal approval for the use of tanks, which he refused to give because he was convinced Normandy was a diversion. I should’ve rallied the tanks regardless, and maybe then I would have been able to push them back out to sea, but I’m not sure if that would have made a better or worse outcome.” Jackson: “It is said that many people other than yourself can be to blame for your losses. Do you believe that it is the fault of others and not your own? Why? Who do you blame most, your enemies, or your ‘friends’?” Rommel: “I believe that in most cases, it was the incompetence of others that lead to failure, not my mistakes. Surely I made mistakes, but there were many cases where it I was lacking supplies or unable to use assets because an incompetent higherup made a bad decision. I don’t particularly blame my enemies for my failure, that's just stupid. They are just following their orders, as I was mine, it is not their fault they had better resources and more practical orders.” Jackson: “There are many myths surrounding your name, particularly because of all the NATO Propaganda you were featured in during the war, used to show motive for West German Rearmament. How do you feel in your character being portrayed in this way? How much of it is true?” Rommel: “Well, my name is often used to portray an apolitical great commander who stood against Hitler and met his end because of it. It is true that I am not as extreme as most, but in the earlier years of Hitler’s rise to power, I supported him through and through. I generally am against all the anti-Semitism the Nazis imposed on the public, and most Nazi ideals. Also I never knew the true extent of the Holocaust and I surely would have stood against it had I known more. As for how I felt about my name being slandered in useless Allied propaganda? I loathe it. Even the Nazi propaganda I feel is going too far. Although I did enjoy the fame, I am always one for facts and logic, and this mix of lies and propaganda around my name angers me.” Jackson: “Despite all of this propaganda surrounding your name, you still did stand against Hitler and the Nazi ideology, so why did you stay in the Wehrmacht under his command?” Rommel: “Even though I hated the Nazis, I had a love of my country and I couldn’t bear to see my country fail and have another Versailles forced upon it. I fought in the Great War honorably, but even with my best efforts I was unable to prevent its downfall. I have much pride for my great honorable nation. Versailles and the years following the war were so terrible that I would do anything to keep my nation and its people from suffering again. The Entente tore apart Germany and then the Great Depression kicked us while we were down. Although the Nazi regime was bad, in my eyes, they were a better alternative to the country-destroying, economy-mauling Allies.” Jackson: “If you could change one thing about your life or the war, what would it be?” Rommel: “Probably the ending, as in my career I had not committed any war crimes and would have likely gotten off the hook. I could’ve lived out my days peacefully with my family, or even had a successful political career in West Germany. Similar to Dwight D. Eisenhower, I was a renowned war hero back home.” Jackson: “Of all your greatest accomplishments, which do you value above all the others?” Rommel: “In my eyes, the achievements that outshine all my other achievements are probably my service for my country in The Great War, and my family. I was and always will be insanely proud of my country and its great peoples and the fact I was able to serve it will always be important to me. The Great War, especially because not only did I serve admirably, but I was fighting for something good, something much better than what I fought for in the Second World War. I also my family is also one of the things I am most proud of and I ended up taking my own life dishonorably rather than have my family hurt because of my actions.” Jackson: “What would you say you like the most about Dwight D. Eisenhower?” Rommel: “Honestly, I admire the man. I admire his ability to stay calm in stressful situations, utilize his assets to his advantage, and his leadership skills. We are both very alike in many, many different ways. There are many comparisons to be drawn and if we had known each other we surely would’ve been good friends. We were both commanders who liked to get their hands dirty but I usually jumped right into the action, while Eisenhower often took his time and planned his moves. That could be a very important skill in the heat of a battle. I’d say the only thing I ever truly and completely bested him at was that he was an avid smoker. He smoked almost four packs a day, while I never smoked one. Other than that I’d say we are either equal or he narrowly wins everytime.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    This is a classic retelling of the events of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in WWII. It sets the stage, and then stays focused, for the most part, on the events of the first 24 hours. It's a page-turner, it is fascinating, and I would have it on my shelf in preference to The Longest Day, even though that work is justly famous. Things that I especially admire about Ambrose's presentation: -- He mentions, frequently, men who broke down. Too many military histories ignore the fact that people comple This is a classic retelling of the events of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in WWII. It sets the stage, and then stays focused, for the most part, on the events of the first 24 hours. It's a page-turner, it is fascinating, and I would have it on my shelf in preference to The Longest Day, even though that work is justly famous. Things that I especially admire about Ambrose's presentation: -- He mentions, frequently, men who broke down. Too many military histories ignore the fact that people completely shatter in battle. They dig foxholes in the water, they hide under hedges, they curl up in a ball, they become incoherent, they try to swim back to England. Ambrose doesn't go on and on, but he counts the men who didn't jump out of the plane, mentions officers who wouldn't go ashore, and so forth. -- He is clear that all the training in the world, all the dedication, all the leadership qualities, and so forth will avail you nothing if a shell goes through you. He gives us bios of men who did their best, and lasted ten seconds in combat. That's part of battle, too. -- He does not love Field Marshal Montgomery, which is only proper in a historian. Montgomery did not pass along key information to his troops (like the presence of a Panzer division at Caen), because he didn't want to demoralize them. He'd pull the same crap at Market-Garden. He had a number of virtues, but if there is a Hell, he's down there. -- He is aware of the civilians, both back home and the poor French civilians who were never evacuated from the Atlantic Wall. We get, for instance, the story of the French young woman who had left her swimsuit in a hut on one of the British beaches, and she went down to fetch it (wearing her Red Cross armband) because she didn't want anybody to steal it. She ended up spending two days tending to the wounded and the dead. -- He is good at enumerating the differences between the five beaches, and between the US forces and the UK/Commonwealth forces. Each of the landings (and the two airborne landings) was different, and he's good at letting you know why. My favorite line is from a British Royal Marine, approaching the shore with heavy machine-gun fire playing around: "Perhaps we're intruding. This seems to be a private beach." This is a good book, but I have some issues and complaints. -- The maps are inadequate. There are no maps of the British beaches, which is half the invasion. The "original plan" map does show the British area, but because it's oriented N-S, rather than along the line of the beaches, all the rear area and the eastern flank of the British sector is cut off. Also, it would be possible to give a down-to-the-pillbox map of the key sectors in which we get detailed discussions in the text, but instead we can't connect the stories to the terrain. [My standard beef with military histories is this: Do Not Mention A Town or Village, Unless You Give Us A Map That Shows Where It Is.] -- The British and Canadian beaches are given relatively short shrift, which goes along with the lack of detailed maps of those sectors. -- Yeah, it shoulda been about a hundred pages longer. Ambrose had written about the Pegasus Bridge operation, he knew a good deal about the left half of the operation, but he spent 28% of the entire text on Omaha Beach. Omaha was Sheol on shingle, but a book about D-Day should be better balanced than that. -- On two occasions he chastises Hitler for using the V-1 against London, instead of against the Normandy beaches. That's just baloney. A few extra random 1-ton bombs dropped across 50 miles of beachhead would not have made a significant difference. They just weren't that useful of a weapon.

  23. 5 out of 5

    RyanP

    About three months ago I came across The Rising Tide, by Jeff Shaara, in a box in my room. I have always been interested in the World Wars era, so I decided to give that book a try. I absolutely loved it and it inspired me to seek out new WWII novels. While searching for my next read, I came across D-Day and thought it would be a good book. D-Day depicts the story of its namesake, both the day and preparations. On June 6, 1944, the United States and Great Britain led the Allied forces in a full-s About three months ago I came across The Rising Tide, by Jeff Shaara, in a box in my room. I have always been interested in the World Wars era, so I decided to give that book a try. I absolutely loved it and it inspired me to seek out new WWII novels. While searching for my next read, I came across D-Day and thought it would be a good book. D-Day depicts the story of its namesake, both the day and preparations. On June 6, 1944, the United States and Great Britain led the Allied forces in a full-scale invasion of the Normandy coast in Northern France. Prior to the assault, the Soviet Union was suffering heavy losses while keeping Germany in check in Eastern Europe. Stalin demanded that the Allies open up a new front to relieve some of the pressure on Soviet Forces. The campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy were not enough, so the only option for the Allies was to liberate France, which had been taken under Nazi control in 1940. And so the largest invasion in history was formed. Over 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. They crossed the channel in an armada of warships, landing craft, and other support ships. It was a feat of ingenuity. Deception, surprise, decoys, new technologies, and just sheer numbers and firepower enabled the Allies to establish a beachhead, officially opening a strong second front to the European Theater of World War II. I found this book to be just phenomenal. I am utterly amazed at the scrutinizing detail put into Ambrose’s narrative. The back cover states that about 1,400 interviews were compiled while writing the book. For just about every stage of the invasion, every event, there is an eye-witness account of what happened. With so many primary sources, the book creates a completely accurate account of D-Day, including the details put into planning the invasion. The only negative thing I have to say is that there is an uneven distribution of fame in the book. By this I mean that the United States receives far more credit than the other Allies (with the other primary ones being the UK and Canada; the other Allies receive virtually no credit). I suppose that this is understandable, seeing as how Ambrose was born in the US and no doubt has a bias, as all people do. Regardless, Stephen Ambrose has composed an incredibly extensive account of what was one of the most important events in the last 100 years.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Walker

    Stephen Ambrose's book is told from an American viewpoint; only a cursory run-through of other Allied participants in the Normandy invasion on D-Day is included at the end of the book, covering 65 pages (out of 583 total pages). Otherwise, a well-told account, giving first-hand stories (both oral and written) from those who participated; over 1,400 interviews! Also, the book covers a brief description of the planning phase during the run-up to June 6th, but focuses primarily on the events of tha Stephen Ambrose's book is told from an American viewpoint; only a cursory run-through of other Allied participants in the Normandy invasion on D-Day is included at the end of the book, covering 65 pages (out of 583 total pages). Otherwise, a well-told account, giving first-hand stories (both oral and written) from those who participated; over 1,400 interviews! Also, the book covers a brief description of the planning phase during the run-up to June 6th, but focuses primarily on the events of that one day only. Granted, Ambrose, though a historian by trade, was no wordsmith like McCullough. As with all war stories of this magnitude, constant reference must be made to maps, and it helps greatly if the reader is familiar with military terms, abbreviations (LSI, LSA, LST, etc.) and equipment. Therefore, 4 stars for the informative nature of the battle, but misses a 5-star rating because the story just doesn't "flow."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elsabet

    While I read this, I wanted so badly to help those men somehow. To do something. But most of them are dead. All I could do was thank God that they were willing to sacrifice their all to protect the liberty of generations yet to come.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Leidner

    Superbly researched and written book that brings the stories of hundreds of heroes in to your living room. Difficult to put this book down, and even more difficult to read without weeping. This was truly as Tom Brokaw says, the greatest American generation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Wheatley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Supreme Commander Eisenhower. Operation Fortitude was the fake. Plywood gliders like Lester worked on crashed into hedgerows that were taller and the fields shorter than expected. Omaha beach was much tougher than Utah beach. Volume of the ships was overwhelming. Traffic jams on the beaches. Difficult for those coming ashore to link up with the paratroopers who came in during the night. Difficult for the navy ships to be effective against the sea wall during the invasion. When will their glory f Supreme Commander Eisenhower. Operation Fortitude was the fake. Plywood gliders like Lester worked on crashed into hedgerows that were taller and the fields shorter than expected. Omaha beach was much tougher than Utah beach. Volume of the ships was overwhelming. Traffic jams on the beaches. Difficult for those coming ashore to link up with the paratroopers who came in during the night. Difficult for the navy ships to be effective against the sea wall during the invasion. When will their glory fade?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt Midlock

    As much as I am interested in history I have an impossible time getting through history books..... I am looking for an overall sweeping view of what happened and why it happened, but it seems like many books get mired in the details of divisions, troop numbers and vehicle acronyms. It's all just gobbledygook after a while and I'm not left with a sense of what actually happened. I'm not faulting the author as those things are important to most history buffs - just not for me. Maybe I just need to As much as I am interested in history I have an impossible time getting through history books..... I am looking for an overall sweeping view of what happened and why it happened, but it seems like many books get mired in the details of divisions, troop numbers and vehicle acronyms. It's all just gobbledygook after a while and I'm not left with a sense of what actually happened. I'm not faulting the author as those things are important to most history buffs - just not for me. Maybe I just need to watch more documentaries on the history topics I'm interested in?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dwight

    An excellent piece of research and writing. Another reminder of what the "greatest generation" did for our nation and our world. We as Americans need to utilize the insights provided to us by our ancestors to pull together and work with one another to improve the plight of all Americans. What has happened to our nation? The greed, the self-centeredness? Where is our sense of community? I am so proud of the people of this era who came together for the common good. I hope and pray that our generat An excellent piece of research and writing. Another reminder of what the "greatest generation" did for our nation and our world. We as Americans need to utilize the insights provided to us by our ancestors to pull together and work with one another to improve the plight of all Americans. What has happened to our nation? The greed, the self-centeredness? Where is our sense of community? I am so proud of the people of this era who came together for the common good. I hope and pray that our generation or future generations can do the same.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Schroeder

    A solid yet brief history on D-Day by the master World War 2 historian, Stephen Ambrose. For anyone willing to understand the context and complexity to achieve such success from the mind of Eisenhower and Bradley to the preparation and response from Rommel, it is intriguing. Ambrose does a fine job following multiple stories of common soldiers, NCOs, and officers so the reader feels an ounce of what they experienced. I highly recommend.

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