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stevehnz

Recommend a book about D-day & the Normandy campaign.

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I'm wavering between Hastings & Beevor. Beevor will be more up to date, I like Hastings style. Any viewpoints appreciated, also any others that might be pertinent.

Steve.

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Not one I was aware of I confess, but having read Holland's "Fortress Malta" I will certainly include that in the to be considered list. It should also be well up to date. Thanks @dnl42

Steve.

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I always find Hastings the most readable but Beevor isn't far behind. I've never read Holland but see him on TV a lot. 

 

I've literally had the same dilemma in a bookshop, Hastings or Beevor? Then walked out having bought neither. 

 

So I'd be interested in the result although I suspect I'll buy both eventually. 

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Personally, one of the best books I've read on the Battle for Normandy is Decision in Normandy by Carlo D'Este, it was written back in 2004 and I read it not long after, I've read others too, but this one always stick in my mind as the most memorable.

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I’ve read all three... Holland, Beevor and Hastings. They’re all worth reading, but James Holland brings a really interesting fresh perspective. For what it’s worth, James recommended “Sand and Steel” by Peter Caddick Adams as his pick for best modern history of D Day. Although it’s on my Kindle, I haven’t read it yet (need a break between magisterial works of military history!)

best,

M.

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D’Este buys too much into the myth of German superiority in training, performance and weaponry for my taste, which is pretty comprehensively taken apart by  James Holland.

best,

M.

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Hmmm, I can see I'm going to need more than one to get a decent spread of opinion. @noelh I agree about Hastings & his readability, I reckon I come away with a better understanding of the subject that I do with Beevor, maybe I have to concentrate too much on the latter. :unsure: I did find James Hollands Malta book immensely readable too.  @cmatthewbacon , in Hastings Armageddon, he rates the German army as more capable & proficient than either the British or US, making the distinction between a professional army & the citizen armies of the Allies. He also rates German Generals as better too, though frequently undone by Hitler's ineptitude.

Steve.

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28 minutes ago, stevehnz said:

@cmatthewbacon , in Hastings Armageddon, he rates the German army as more capable & proficient than either the British or US, making the distinction between a professional army & the citizen armies of the Allies. He also rates German Generals as better too, though frequently undone by Hitler's ineptitude.

Let's just say you'll find Holland's book an interesting counterpoint, then.... I'm not going to try and sum up the main thesis of his entire "War in the West" series in a few sentences but: by 1944, the German Army was far from the professional army on an ideological roll it had been in 1940; the entire Allied way of fighting the war was optimised for a "citizen army" at every level from front line tactics through to mobilised mass production; German equipment that on paper looks superior simply wasn't in the field (NB MG42) not to mention being ridiculously cost and resource intensive to produce EVEN in 1944; the generals were pretty incompetent even without Hitler's help, and the few good ones spent as much time arguing with each other about chain of command as prosecuting the war; and the much-vaunted German tactical doctrine and strategic directive meant that post D-day, they could be repeatedly attacked, after which they would inevitably counter attack and be drawn back within range of the offshore naval guns, which proceeded to grind up another new unit thrown into the fray by the Germans and leave them reduced in strength, demoralised and with half their kit left behind on the field... which when there are no replacement Panthers or Tigers, and hundreds of new Shermans crossing the channel every day, is a recipe for defeat in detail...

 

Like I said.... the James Holland books give a completely different perspective than some more "traditional" views: they are "revisionist" in the best possible way...

 

best,

M.

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I can get the Holland book from a local library, so I'll go for that & possibly add a copy to my book shelves later. I'll also look into the D'Este & Caddick-Adams books for some other perspectives.

Thanks all for your input.

Steve.

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Surprisingly perhaps as a former US officer, D'Este somewhat defends Monty and the way he directed the forces at his disposal.

 

I'll have to check out the James Holland book, I'm always interested in chevking out new perspectives.

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I'm in front of my PC no rather than phone as I was last night & have taken the time to look at the Cappick-Adams book reviews on Amazon, impressive. I'm perhaps just as interested to see the reviews for his Snow & Steel about the Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge. I found  Beevor's book on this a struggle to follow at times, I'll look out for  copies of both of C-A's books & hope to improve my comprehension. :) 

@AntPhillips I've long thought that there was nothing too much the matter with the way Monty handled his forces, but rather his interactions with other Allied commanders from Eisenhower down, in which case he seems to have been an undiplomatic pratt. :( 

Steve.

Edited by stevehnz

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