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Dawn of D-Day (Paperback)

These Men Were There, 6 June 1944

Military > Greenhill Books

By David Howarth, Stephen Howarth
Greenhill Books
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 16 pages of b/w plates
ISBN: 9781805000471
Published: 21st May 2024

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'This is a masterful work. I am so grateful for Howarth's dedication to capturing the experiences of those who were there that fateful, historic, world-changing day.' – Good Reads

“That morning, the fleet had sailed. He could not possibly count the ships or even guess the numbers…Wallace stood on the head of the cliff, entranced and exalted by a pageant of splendour which nobody had ever seen before, and nobody, it is certain, will ever see again.”

In Dawn of D-Day, David Howarth weaves together the testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses to produce a breath-taking and atmospheric account of the greatest amphibious landing ever attempted.

Based on interviews with survivors and accounts by participants, including American paratroopers, British engineers, French civilians and German soldiers, this enthralling story brings all the drama of 6th June 1944 to life. David Howarth looks not only at the famous incidents but at the full range of D-Day experiences, relating the running battles between parachutists and Germans in the Norman countryside, the torment of being under fire for the first time, the agony on the invasion beaches, the shock of the German defenders and all the confusion, elation and horror of battle.

Dawn of D-Day is superb history from the mouths and pens of the men who fought on that first day of the battle for Normandy.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book, originally published in the 1950’s, is a must read for those with an interest in the D-Day landings. Most other books on this campaign try to capture all events which took place, reference official documents and memoirs from the leaders best placed to discuss strategically the battle outcomes compared to what was planned. Howarth has not done this, instead he recounts the memories of a few individuals focusing on how that day was for them. The selection is sufficient to cover the main components of Operation Overlord but his approach makes for a much more personal insight into what an ordinary, soldier, sailor, engineer, pilot, etc. was experiencing. The result is a true account of many individuals doing extraordinary things facing danger often with low odds of survival all for a very noble cause. It is enlightening, inspirational and often humorous.

NetGalley, Michael Neill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I read this for the eye witness accounts, which make history come alive. Among the things I hadn’t heard before: most Germans at Normandy were too old, too young, or too badly wounded to serve on active fronts; the Americans’ light-hearted attitude toward war shocked the Germans; the B-26 Marauders bombed the beaches at Utah while Liberatores bombed Omaha, where they bombed by instruments and were much less accurate; soldiers hiding behind Germans obstacles delayed the work of the demolition teams.

NetGalley, Terri Wangard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A great human interest and firsthand account of D-Day from both sides. The stories are full of heroism, sacrifice. and ordeal. The book really held my interest, and I could not put it down. A great read for the history fan!

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This excellent book stands out amongst the very many works devoted to what Field Marshal Rommel predicted would be ‘The Longest Day’, when the Western Allies finally launched the much anticipated invasion of continental Europe. Whilst it is not especially long and does not offer an especially unique perspective it nonetheless offers the reader a skilfully put together account of D Day based on the recollections of people who were there, alongside their colleagues or neighbours who were caught up in this most violent of encounters on the narrow coastal strip of Normandy. Perhaps one of the truly valuable lessons this account offers is the sense that, whilst it is inevitable that when seen by a soldier on the small platoon or company scale the individual encounters will appear chaotic, or even heading to an unavoidable disaster, the overall large scale operation - supported by an unprecedented logistical support operation and months of detailed planning - moved forward with remarkable success. The scope of this book is determinedly narrow, focusing as it does on the events of the opening hours of D Day itself, with only brief excursions to review how individuals were prepared for their part or, in a few cases, how they fared after the battle. However, this gives the reader a proper focus on the many separate but ultimately interrelated actions taking place during these few hours.
Strongly recommended.

NetGalley, Kevin Manley

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dawn of D-Day, by David Howarth, Stephen Howarth is an updated reprint of the author's father's book from 1959. This book is about several different people's extraordinary experiences of that infamous day almost 80years ago. I was absolutely enthralled reading about the first hand accounts of that day. I couldn't put this fascinating book down! It is a fairly quick read, and very easy to follow, and because of that I hope more people will read this, because this book is Not boring.

NetGalley, Colleen Schleich
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