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Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.

D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be.

The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant.

Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.

Topics: World War II, Military, War, American History, Soldiers, Nazis, Dramatic, Informative, Realistic, Realism, 1940s, France, England, Germany, Transcribed Interviews, Based on a True Story, and Political Commentary

Published: Simon & Schuster on
ISBN: 9781439126301
List price: $13.99
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A very nice book, based on personal accounts of D-Day participants. Stephen E. Ambrose doesn't hesitate to point out the planning and execution mistakes of the high-level leadership on both sides. Fortunately, for the Allies, the Germans were the most unprepared and disorganized.more
Where do I begin with a book like this? Imagine watching a scene from high above. Everything is muted and details are fuzzy. Now imagine swooping in to ground level and being able to engage all the senses. You hear, see, smell, taste and feel everything at close range. D-Day is such a book. You know all about June 6th, 1944 from your textbooks and your history classes. With D-Day, June 6th, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II Stephen Ambrose swoops in and takes you down the to fighting. Ground level. You get to hear first hand accounts from the American, British and Canadian men who survived Operation Overlord: the five separate attacks from sea and air. The opening chapter is a parachute drop into enemy territory. Soldiers who fought side by side with buddies who later wouldn't make it recall every emotion. What a strange circumstance, to be fighting for your life and watching men die around you and yet have no fear. They knew they could meet death at any minute but were so moved by commanding offices to keep surging forward. The battle at Omaha Beach illustrates this most poignantly. Probably the most interesting section of the book was the comparisons between Commanders Eisenhower and Rommel. They had so many things in common they could have been friends had it not been for their opposing positions in the war.more
An absolutely priceless piece of research regarding the climactic battle of WWII in June of 1944. Painstakingly researched and told in clear, straightforward prose, Ambrose places us on beaches and in the planning rooms as the battle teeters on the brink of failure. General Omar Bradley nearly calls the men off the beach. His communications are down and the beach is shrouded in smoke so he waits, unaware that most of his armor hasn’t made it to shore, that his officer corps has been decimated, and that it’s his non-coms who have carried the desperate battle to the enemy. A great read and a must for any student of World War II.more
A sweeping survey of D-Day and the build-up thereto, well researched and interspersed with telling recollections from veterans. I personally found that it did not quite live up to its billing by reason of its strong American bias - a sub-title "The American Contribution/Perspective" would have given a fairer idea of its content and scope, as the treatment of the US landings at Utah and Omaha beaches is far more extensive than that for the British and Canadians at Juno and Sword. No doubt the author speaks as he finds, but the criticisms of the British seem relatively more trenchant than those of US forces and the author also seems to have picked up on the dislike of Monty that he attributes to Eisenhower and a number of the references to Montgomery in the book are shot through with this. Overall a good book and one I am glad I have read, but some reservations about the treatment of US allies.more
D-day was a pivotal day in the 20th Century and Ambrose weaves together the logistical planning, strategic decisions, and individual instances of tragedy and heroism into a coherent package. There is no greater drama than that of D-Day, when the fate of civilization depended the actions of individual soldiers and those that led them.more
An excellent book to learn details about the people and locations preceding and during the Allied invasion at Normandy. The author does an excellent job of presenting the complexities of the invasion in a manner that is easy to understand and follow time-wise. He relied on many first-person accounts and did a masterful job of weaving them into a magnificent chronology for the reader to comprehend.The book contains helpful graphics and maps, photos, and an index.more
This book should be titled "US Airborne and Omaha Beach on D-Day." After a start that discusses the great work of British paratroops Ambrose promises to give a complete look at the battle. But he only tells the US side of the story. It is frustrating how American writers can arrogantly say they are telling the complete story of a battle when dismissing all that is not about them. While admitting the landing at Juno beach was as difficult and bloody for the Canadians as the landing at Omaha was for the Americans (which he dissects in great detail and builds pedestals for all the brave GIs who dared set foot on the beach) he gives but a sentence to the Canadians. He fails to mention the Canadians did not drop their tanks at the bottom of the channel and executed that part of the landing exponentially better than the Yanks. He devotes chapters to the tiny successes of the screw-up American airborne troops that so poorly executed their plans that day. But he has just one obligatory mention of the Canadians and only one specific detail of the Brit paratroops. We get it Steve, you love the old airborne guys. You love the guy that got hooked on the steeple and you don't care what the Brits and especially the Canadians did that day. Fine. Just don't claim to be writing about the entire battle.more
Good, detailed history of the Normandy invasion.more
Stephen Ambrose presents this dramatic account of D-Day based upon newly released archives, interviews with veterans from both sides of the conflict as well as his own considerable knowledge of WWII. It is quite obvious that Ambrose connects with veterans of all levels of rank and all types of background; he admires and appreciates them and the veterans in turn trust him and reveal stories perhaps never told before. It is these stories that flesh out the historical structure of the events of June 6, 1944 and create the drama, heartbreak and pride that was D-Day.more
For the past 15 years or so I have been intrigued by the accomplishments of the Allied forces on D-Day. I visited the area in 1999 and was overcome with emotion at the tremendous sacrifice and bravery that had taken place. Stephen Ambrose has taken it to a new level. It's as though I was one of them and they were sharing with me their most personal stories of the war. War stories from veterans are few but always priceless. These are no exception. Thank you veterans for all you have done.more
im reading this again, for the forth time and hate that there is not enough time in the day to devote to this book. the histories of the men involved in dday are a facinating read, made more so by the way the author has knitted them all together to make an easier to read account; unlike many other books recording the same events.more
A great book by one of the premiere historians on the subject. Definitely worth the read!more
This was the first book of Ambroses I read. Ambrose rally taught me to look at history differently. I actually read this book twice as it is a tough read, June 6 '44 was a very busy day. I read again when I went to Normandy in November of 2004 and carried this copy with me.more
At first I found the style tough to get through because it's a series of really small vignettes, but soon I grew to like it. Felt like a very thorough account with lots of interesting stories from individuals who were there and survived.more
Read all 17 reviews

Reviews

A very nice book, based on personal accounts of D-Day participants. Stephen E. Ambrose doesn't hesitate to point out the planning and execution mistakes of the high-level leadership on both sides. Fortunately, for the Allies, the Germans were the most unprepared and disorganized.more
Where do I begin with a book like this? Imagine watching a scene from high above. Everything is muted and details are fuzzy. Now imagine swooping in to ground level and being able to engage all the senses. You hear, see, smell, taste and feel everything at close range. D-Day is such a book. You know all about June 6th, 1944 from your textbooks and your history classes. With D-Day, June 6th, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II Stephen Ambrose swoops in and takes you down the to fighting. Ground level. You get to hear first hand accounts from the American, British and Canadian men who survived Operation Overlord: the five separate attacks from sea and air. The opening chapter is a parachute drop into enemy territory. Soldiers who fought side by side with buddies who later wouldn't make it recall every emotion. What a strange circumstance, to be fighting for your life and watching men die around you and yet have no fear. They knew they could meet death at any minute but were so moved by commanding offices to keep surging forward. The battle at Omaha Beach illustrates this most poignantly. Probably the most interesting section of the book was the comparisons between Commanders Eisenhower and Rommel. They had so many things in common they could have been friends had it not been for their opposing positions in the war.more
An absolutely priceless piece of research regarding the climactic battle of WWII in June of 1944. Painstakingly researched and told in clear, straightforward prose, Ambrose places us on beaches and in the planning rooms as the battle teeters on the brink of failure. General Omar Bradley nearly calls the men off the beach. His communications are down and the beach is shrouded in smoke so he waits, unaware that most of his armor hasn’t made it to shore, that his officer corps has been decimated, and that it’s his non-coms who have carried the desperate battle to the enemy. A great read and a must for any student of World War II.more
A sweeping survey of D-Day and the build-up thereto, well researched and interspersed with telling recollections from veterans. I personally found that it did not quite live up to its billing by reason of its strong American bias - a sub-title "The American Contribution/Perspective" would have given a fairer idea of its content and scope, as the treatment of the US landings at Utah and Omaha beaches is far more extensive than that for the British and Canadians at Juno and Sword. No doubt the author speaks as he finds, but the criticisms of the British seem relatively more trenchant than those of US forces and the author also seems to have picked up on the dislike of Monty that he attributes to Eisenhower and a number of the references to Montgomery in the book are shot through with this. Overall a good book and one I am glad I have read, but some reservations about the treatment of US allies.more
D-day was a pivotal day in the 20th Century and Ambrose weaves together the logistical planning, strategic decisions, and individual instances of tragedy and heroism into a coherent package. There is no greater drama than that of D-Day, when the fate of civilization depended the actions of individual soldiers and those that led them.more
An excellent book to learn details about the people and locations preceding and during the Allied invasion at Normandy. The author does an excellent job of presenting the complexities of the invasion in a manner that is easy to understand and follow time-wise. He relied on many first-person accounts and did a masterful job of weaving them into a magnificent chronology for the reader to comprehend.The book contains helpful graphics and maps, photos, and an index.more
This book should be titled "US Airborne and Omaha Beach on D-Day." After a start that discusses the great work of British paratroops Ambrose promises to give a complete look at the battle. But he only tells the US side of the story. It is frustrating how American writers can arrogantly say they are telling the complete story of a battle when dismissing all that is not about them. While admitting the landing at Juno beach was as difficult and bloody for the Canadians as the landing at Omaha was for the Americans (which he dissects in great detail and builds pedestals for all the brave GIs who dared set foot on the beach) he gives but a sentence to the Canadians. He fails to mention the Canadians did not drop their tanks at the bottom of the channel and executed that part of the landing exponentially better than the Yanks. He devotes chapters to the tiny successes of the screw-up American airborne troops that so poorly executed their plans that day. But he has just one obligatory mention of the Canadians and only one specific detail of the Brit paratroops. We get it Steve, you love the old airborne guys. You love the guy that got hooked on the steeple and you don't care what the Brits and especially the Canadians did that day. Fine. Just don't claim to be writing about the entire battle.more
Good, detailed history of the Normandy invasion.more
Stephen Ambrose presents this dramatic account of D-Day based upon newly released archives, interviews with veterans from both sides of the conflict as well as his own considerable knowledge of WWII. It is quite obvious that Ambrose connects with veterans of all levels of rank and all types of background; he admires and appreciates them and the veterans in turn trust him and reveal stories perhaps never told before. It is these stories that flesh out the historical structure of the events of June 6, 1944 and create the drama, heartbreak and pride that was D-Day.more
For the past 15 years or so I have been intrigued by the accomplishments of the Allied forces on D-Day. I visited the area in 1999 and was overcome with emotion at the tremendous sacrifice and bravery that had taken place. Stephen Ambrose has taken it to a new level. It's as though I was one of them and they were sharing with me their most personal stories of the war. War stories from veterans are few but always priceless. These are no exception. Thank you veterans for all you have done.more
im reading this again, for the forth time and hate that there is not enough time in the day to devote to this book. the histories of the men involved in dday are a facinating read, made more so by the way the author has knitted them all together to make an easier to read account; unlike many other books recording the same events.more
A great book by one of the premiere historians on the subject. Definitely worth the read!more
This was the first book of Ambroses I read. Ambrose rally taught me to look at history differently. I actually read this book twice as it is a tough read, June 6 '44 was a very busy day. I read again when I went to Normandy in November of 2004 and carried this copy with me.more
At first I found the style tough to get through because it's a series of really small vignettes, but soon I grew to like it. Felt like a very thorough account with lots of interesting stories from individuals who were there and survived.more
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