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Normandy's Nightmare War (Paperback)

The French Experience of Nazi Occupation and Allied Bombing 1940-45

WWII D-Day & Normandy Military

By Douglas Boyd
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 283
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781526745811
Published: 17th June 2019

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Famous for Calvados apple brandy and Camembert cheese, Normandy is a green and pleasant land now dotted with thousands of British-owned second homes. Its coastline is also dotted with thousands of indestructible reinforced-concrete bunkers and gun emplacements that formed part of the Atlantic Wall of Hitler’s Fortress Europe.

Tourists passing through the ferry ports like Boulogne, Cherbourg and Dunkirk may wonder why there are so few old buildings. Few know that the demolition which preceded the extensive urban renewal of the ancient town centres was effected by British bombs during four years of hell for the people living there. Before its belated liberation three ghastly months after D-Day, the sirens in Le Havre wailed 1,060 times to warn of approaching British and American bombers. After one single Allied raid, over 3,000 dead civilians were recovered from the city’s ruins, without counting the thousands of injured, maimed and traumatised survivors.

So, whom did the Normans regard as the enemy: the German occupiers who shot a few hundred civilians or the Allied airmen who killed as many neutral citizens of northern France as died in Britain from German bombs during the whole war?

Told largely in the words of French, German and Allied eyewitnesses – including the moving last letters of executed hostages – this is the story of Normandy’s nightmare war.

As featured on Chiznoids via Instagram

Chiznoids

Featured on the 'Christmas Bookshelf'

Somerset Life, December 2019

Normandy had long been a pleasant productive green land, until 1940 when the German occupiers arrived. The sad fate was for the area to be terrorised by the Germans and bombed by the Allies before they arrived in force and fought through the towns of Normandy to liberate them – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here

Firetrench

With Duke William of Normandy the last man to successfully invade Britain, Normandy itself has long figured in our own history. Douglas Boyd looks at the experiences of the Normandy region during the Nazi occupation from 1940-1945, and uncovers some remarkable facts - including the lack of old buildings and the colossal loss of human life during the conflict, not only by the occupying forces, but also by allied bombing raids. A fascinating look at a region that has played a huge part in our own history.

Books Monthly

This is an excellent book, well researched, well- illustrated and brings out into the open facts some people may wish stay hidden. Such as the 3000 children fathered by Germans in Normandy alone, which is now only being discussed long after the war ended.

Read the full review here

GoodReads, Paul Diggett

About Douglas Boyd

Douglas Boyd’s historical writing began with scripting dramatic reconstructions when a BBC Television staff producer/director. For the past 30 years he has been writing full-time, based in the Plantagenet heartland of southwest and western France. His books have been translated into seventeen languages.

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In the South of France, the most memorable event of the Second World War was the sea and airborne invasion of 15 August 1944. Perhaps because it went relatively smoothly, this ‘Second D-Day’ was soon relegated to the back pages of history. Operation Dragoon and the liberation is however only a small part of the story. The arrival of the Allies was preceded by years of oppression and strife. Provençal people still struggle to come to terms with the painful past of split-allegiances and empty stomachs which epitomize les années noires (the dark years). The author’s blend of local and social…

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