Normandy: The Landings to the Liberation of Paris

Normandy: The Landings to the Liberation of Paris

Paperback

By (author) Olivier Wieviorka, Translated by Malcolm B. Debevoise

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  • Publisher: The Belknap Press
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 145mm x 226mm x 30mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 0674047478
  • ISBN 13: 9780674047471
  • Illustrations note: 10 maps, 3 charts

Product description

The Allied landings on the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944, have assumed legendary status in the annals of World War II. But in overly romanticizing D-day, Olivier Wieviorka argues, we have lost sight of the full picture. "Normandy" offers a balanced, complete account that reveals the successes and weaknesses of the titanic enterprise. In addition to describing the landings with precision and drama, Wieviorka covers the planning and diplomatic background, Allied relationships, German defensive preparations, morale of the armies, economics and logistics, political and military leaders, and civilians' and soldiers' experience of the fighting. Surprisingly, the landing itself was not the slaughter the general staff expected. The greater battle for Normandy - waged on farmland whose infamous hedgerows, the bocage, created formidable obstacles - took a severe toll not only in lives lost, but on the survivors who experienced this grueling ordeal. D-day, Wieviorka notes, was a striking accomplishment, but it was war, violent and cruel. Errors, desertions, rivalries, psychological trauma, self-serving motives, thefts, and rapes were all part of the story. Rather than diminishing the Allied achievement, this candid book underscores the price of victory and acknowledges the British, American, and Canadian soldiers who dashed onto the Normandy beaches not as demigods, but as young men.

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Author information

Olivier Wieviorka is Professor of History at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan.

Review quote

Accounts of the Normandy campaign are not in short supply, but this one from a French military historian delivers an energetic, mildly revisionist overview...This is an engrossing history of the Normandy campaign. Publishers Weekly 20080407 This is a useful and provocative book, drawing our attention to the complex relationship between servicemen, civilians, and national authorities in the newly liberated state. -- Richard Holmes Financial Times 20080531 Possibly the best summary of the Normandy campaign I have yet read...[Wieviorka] brings the contradictory, harsh realities out from the margins into the center of the page. -- Roger K. Miller Chicago Sun-Times 20080606 Engaging and well written, French historian Wieviorka's analysis of the Normandy campaign superbly illustrates the political and military complexities of coalition warfare. Perhaps more striking, this cogent narrative of the 1944 Anglo-American amphibious operation and subsequent ground campaign in northwest France powerfully demonstrates the importance of logistics in modern mechanized warfare, the critical role of intelligence and deception in Allied success, and the limitations of airpower in ground operations...Wieviorka's fresh perspective is thoroughly thought-provoking and a welcome addition to the historiography. -- D. R. Snyder Choice 20090601

Table of contents

* List of Abbreviations and Code Names * List of Illustrations * Introduction: Return to France * Allies, Not Friends * Preparing for War * Planning for D-Day * Logistics, Training, Rehearsals * Strategies and Stratagems * The Other Side of the Hill * D-Day, H-Hour * To Win a Battle * Stalemate * Psychoneuroses * From Avranches to Paris * The Battle of France--and France's Battle * Liberators and Liberated * Conclusion: Farewell to Crusades? * Notes * Acknowledgments * Archival Sources * Select Bibliography * Index