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D-Day

The Battle for Normandy
Written by: Antony Beevor
Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
Length: 19 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: History, Military
5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From critically acclaimed world historian Antony Beevor, this is the first major account in more than 20 years to cover the whole invasion, from June 6, 1944, right up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians were by the Luftwaffe.

The Allied fleet attempted by far the largest amphibious assault ever, and what followed was a battle as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. Casualties mounted on both sides, as did the tensions between the principal commanders. Even the joys of liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation, but the whole of the postwar world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe. Beevor draws upon his research in more than 30 archives in six countries, going back to original accounts, interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action, and many diaries and letters donated to museums and archives in recent years.

D-Day will surely be hailed as the consummate account of the Normandy invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to the liberation of Paris.

©2009 Anthony Beevor (P)2009 Penguin

What the critics say

"It is a dramatic, important and instructive story, and Beevor tells it surpassingly well....Readers fortunate enough to know his previous books...are aware that his fascination with warfare is compounded by a deep knowledge, not always encountered in military histories, that war is hell. People looking for romanticized combat or Greatest Generation sentimentality will not find an ounce of either here." ( The Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 2010-01-19

A commendable book

Beevor gives a thoroughly readable account of the familiar D-Day story, enlivened by a number of telling anecdotes from generals to privates and unvarnished sketches of all the key participants on the Allied and German sides. Nor does Beevor spare us the truly gory details of the battles and the systematized killing that was the Normandy campaign. War is always a bloody business and Beevor rightly refuses to ignore it. This is a refreshingly unsentimental view of things that should never be seen as anything but what they were.

The book is not faultless, however. There are annoying factual and grammatical errors that could have been prevented by an attentive copy editor with minimal knowledge of the era: in the most striking example, Beevor writes of a bombing attack carried out by "B-24 Flying Fortresses" and "B-17 Liberators," when the opposite terminology is of course the correct one. My late father-in-law, a "mickey operator" on Eighth Air Force B-17s in 1944-45, would have turned even greyer at the hearing. And Beevor's troops are forever becoming "disorientated." The correct word is "disoriented."

The narration is technically competent and Cameron Stewart moves it along crisply in a strong, clear voice, but he has an unfortunate habit of adopting rather bad American, French and German voice accents when recounting stories from archival material, military orders, personal diaries, and the like. The Germans all sound like bad actors in a B movie. A straightforward narration in his own voice throughout would have been the better course.

Nevertheless, this is a fine account of one of the world's most significant battles and its ensuing military campaign--one that changed our civilization forever for the better. I commend "D-Day and the Battle for Normandy" to historians, WW II aficionados, and general readers alike.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erik
  • 2013-03-04

Another great book by Beevor

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you are into a methodical story of a battle from both sides, then Beevor is a master, and this book is for you. I couldn't stop listening.

What other book might you compare D-Day to and why?

Stalingrad by Antony Beevor and Berlin by Antony Beevor

What does Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His accents were great. He has brilliant, distinct accents for American Generals, American Soldiers, Canadians, Scottish, German and eccentric Brits, etc... I was pleasantly surprised by his masterful performance

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did, but at 20+ hours, that's not possible. It took me about a month of listening to and from work.

Any additional comments?

The only criticisms I have is there is far too much focus on the French (especially at the end), and not enough criticism of the French (there seemed to be praise and admiration for them and their pompous attitudes). Also, while it is highlighted, I don't think there is enough criticism of Montgomery's failures. I would have also like to hear more from the German perspective, especially from their home-front. But these criticisms are nothing significant. Overall this is a great book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Jane Hicks
  • 2019-04-08

Wonderfully woven history

God bless this historian for digging through archives, reports, data, letters, diaries, etc. to reveal a cohesive chronology of the events and personalities from D-Day to the liberation of Paris. The narrator does a superb job of putting voice to the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • gra_factor
  • 2011-02-18

Would be better in print

The audiobook format is a linear one. You can't exactly flick back a few pages to check the details about some place, person or event that has just re-entered the narrative. The progress of war on the other hand is rarely linear: a battle front breaks up into sub-fronts, gets outflanked here, outflanks the enemy there. Lots of stories happening at once.


This is a superbly detailed book, but wow - there's so many battles, place names (in French of course), weaponry, personnel on both sides... so much stuff to keep circulating through my tired old brain. I will find a print copy of this, then I can pore over the maps which I am sure the book will have, I can flick back to previous chapters to remind myself and I can look through the index and citations... and maybe when I have read through it 2 or 3 times I will have wrapped my head around this stupendous piece of history. I would give it 5 out 5 for the story alone, but for me it has to be in print.

(It would appear that when I post this there will be no paragraphs - apologies if it is harder to read as a consequence.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Conway
  • 2010-12-03

Solid

A solid history of the events immediately leading up to D-Day and the months that followed.

The other reviews are accurate enough to give a good feel for what to expect, but I will just add for the light reader of history, that while the book hits the occasional dry spell, it succeeds in telling a compelling story with dozens of fun and interesting stories of the persons involved.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bruce
  • 2010-07-23

Beevor gets it right

I've read two of the author's books and part of a third. This would be the fourth book by this author. What I like about Beevor's histories is that he presents the subject from a broad range of perspectives. Like past books, in D-Day he examines the roles of the generals, the colonels and majors,and the grunts of both sides. Of equal importance, he brings to life the civilians and their roles and outcomes from this event. I came away appreciating the sacrifice, pain and desparation of the many who participated in D-Day. I recommend this book.

On the "con" side, the narration is weird in places. The narrator -- Cameron Stewart -- who is obviously English, sounds goofy and cartoonish when he tries to quote Americans in the narrative. He does a good job with all the other accents, but he makes all the US characters sound like warehouse workers from Brooklyn. The narration is the only reason I didn't give this book five stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Frantz
  • 2019-08-11

Great Coverage of a Famous Campaign

A rare, well-balanced account of the Normandy campaign from D-Day to the liberation of Paris. Drawing on sources from all the participating armies, Beevor provides an accessible and enjoyable retelling of the action, with enough new information to keep even a seasoned armchair general happy!

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  • A. M.
  • 2019-05-28

History the way it should be...

If it is written by Antony Beevor you know you're getting a great history lesson. This is my 3rd book by Beevor. I highly recommend it.

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  • George Bettasso
  • 2019-05-11

1944 France

Awesome History of D-Day in depth and well done analyzed information of the battle of France.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-15

Annoying narration took away from the story

Narrator Cameron Stewart’s penchant for reading quotations in the accent of the speaker - German, French, and an American accent that made all GIs sound like Depression-era gangsters - seriously detracted from the quality of the story. I will think twice about purchasing another book narrated by Cameron Stewart.