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Need book recommendation for Normandy/WWII

Need book recommendation for Normandy/WWII

Apr 19th, 2004, 07:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 124
Need book recommendation for Normandy/WWII

We are visiting the Normandy area and the WWII battle sites in July, and I'd like to get a book beforehand to review the history of these sites. It's been awhile since high school history, and even then, I'm not sure I really "got" it all.

Looking for an easy-to-read book that lays it all out for us.

Your recommendations are much appreciated.

Wesch is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Ambrose's D Day is highly thought of by many people, but not all. Check it out on www.amazon.com
grandmere is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Also, Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day". Ambrose's "Band of Brothers". If you like anything by either of those two, you might like others they have written.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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I've read Ambrose's "D-Day..." and thought it was excellent, I believe the Saving Private Ryan film was based on that book. I wish it had more and better maps. Ambrose also has several others.

If you do want an easier approach, rent The Longest Day film or read Ryan's book, each is still considered to be accurate, and more approachable perhaps than Ambrose.
elaine is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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If you don't have time to read any books beforehand, you could always rent "Saving Private Ryan" to get an overview and visual of the DDay battle sites. It was filmed on the very beaches the Allies landed on years ago, as well as the American cemetery nearby -- all part of the DDay trip excursions.
Huitres is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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Hi Wesch,
I think a really good book is Beyond the Beachhead by Joseph Balkoski. It deals mainly with the 29th Div of the Army but is an excellent book on the actual events. He has a website--www.angelfire.com/md/29division.
mimipam is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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You can probably learn a lot by reading Ambrose- written later than Ryan so more up to date material. I would suggest you go to Google and type in Normandy Battlefields, et al. I'm sure there is a lot of info posted by people who served then. Make sure you get to the Omaha beach area and to the US Cemetary.
oberost is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Two good overviews are John Keegan's "Six Armies in Normandy" and Stephen Ambrose's "D-Day, June 6th 1944". His "Band of Brothers" covers the airborne landings, but is not exclusively about Normandy, as it follows one company from D-Day to the end of the war.

There's a wealth of reading on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy (which lasted until the end of August '44). Brittanica has put together a good annotated biblography at: http://search.eb.com/normandy/reading.html
and you might want to look at some of these.

I urge you to read George Blackburn's "The Guns of Normandy", which in my opinion and that of many others is the finest personal account of the battle of Normandy, if not the entire war. Blackburn was a Canadian artillery officer who served continually in the front lines from July '44 to April '45. He had been a journalist before the war, and his descriptions of his battle experiences are vividly told. Once started you will not want to put it down. But don't take my word for it. Read the editorial and reader reviews of this book (and his other two) on amazon.com.

Enjoy your reading and your visit.
laverendrye is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 11:13 AM
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We spent a week in Bayeux/Normandy last August. Ambrose's book was very good - it is more sociological than pure history. The Longest Day was also a good read. I'd rent Private Ryan and The Longest Day (if you can find it). Our tour guide was Col.Michael Chilcott and I'd recommend him highly. He pointed out some inaccuracies in Private Ryan but hey, nobody's perfect! If you don't do a tour, at least make sure to see the German Cemetery, British Cemetery, American Cemetery, Longues Battery, Pointe Du Hoc, Omaha and Utah Beaches, St Mere Eglise. We were totally immersed for three solid days on those areas. Read before you go, read every plaque and as many of the tombstones as you can - they tell incredible stories. We also went to Omaha beach at sunrise and my boys/husband ran the beach and dunes - it really brought home how far it was and how hard the landings were with gun fire all around, 100 pounds on your back and confusion everywhere.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Another excellent book is "The Second world War" by John Keegan. Of course it is about more than just D-Day and the Normandy campaign, but you can focus on that part of the book. It's more available at libraries than his book "Six Armies in Normandy." Our favorites were Pointe du Hoc, the paratrooper museum in Ste. Mere Eglise, and the 360 degree movie in Arromanches.
57BelAir is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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"D-Day", by Ambrose is great. He writes with great "flow". Also, if you plan to visit the area, "Pegasus Bridge" by Ambrose is a good one about that very important part of D-Day. I too, would suggest watching "The Longest Day".
thomthumb is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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The Band Of Brothers is advertised on Tv as a series now.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 04:57 PM
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Yes, Band of Brothers is on the History channel now! if you're interested in D-Day only, try to catch part 2 "day of days"
thomthumb is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 05:42 PM
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Hi Wesch,
I have already posted about this but was in a bookstore this afternoon and saw that Balkoski has another book called Omaha Beach D-Day. I looked through it and believe it will be good. I do not study WWII but found his book Beyond the Beachhead easy to read and I know he has done a lot of study and research. I read his first book because of my father's military service. This newer book is more broad in its coverage of all military units. Hope this helps.
mimipam is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 10:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Wow - this is great! Thanks to you all!! I am actually living in France right now (on temporary assignment for my hubby's job), so renting movies in English isn't easy, but I'm going to check out eBay! I'm also going to order up a few of the books you mentioned. Times like these I miss the U.S. and the library!
Thanks so much!!

Wesch is offline  

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