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Normandy '44

D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France
Written by: James Holland
Narrated by: John Sackville
Length: 24 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, Military
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the 76 days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed the Allied landing, have become the defining episode of World War II in the west - the object of books, films, television series, and documentaries. Yet as familiar as it is, as James Holland makes clear in his definitive history, many parts of the OVERLORD campaign, as it was known, are still shrouded in myth and assumed knowledge.  

Drawing freshly on widespread archives and on the testimonies of eye-witnesses, Holland relates the extraordinary planning that made Allied victory in France possible; indeed, the story of how hundreds of thousands of men, and mountains of materiel, were transported across the English Channel, is as dramatic a human achievement as any battlefield exploit. The brutal landings on the five beaches and subsequent battles across the plains and through the lanes and hedgerows of Normandy - a campaign that, in terms of daily casualties, was worse than any in World War I - come vividly to life in conferences where the strategic decisions of Eisenhower, Rommel, Montgomery, and other commanders were made, and through the memories of paratrooper Lieutenant Dick Winters of Easy Company, British corporal and tanker Reg Spittles, Thunderbolt pilot Archie Maltbie, German ordnance officer Hans Heinze, French resistance leader Robert Leblanc, and many others.

For both sides, the challenges were enormous. The Allies confronted a disciplined German army stretched to its limit, which nonetheless caused tactics to be adjusted on the fly. Ultimately ingenuity, determination, and immense materiel strength - delivered with operational brilliance - made the difference. A stirring narrative by a pre-eminent historian, Normandy ‘44 offers important new perspective on one of history’s most dramatic military engagements and is an invaluable addition to the literature of war.

©2019 James Holland (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 2019-11-04

Excellent in every way a must listen

Never boring but still very detailed with so many interesting personal stories while still maintaining the story of the bigger picture. So many books are great at either the bigger picture or the everyday grind of the military personal but this book does such a great job of both and from both sides axis and allied and adds so many other intangibles it keeps you listening. Seriously I would not be surprised if this book ends up a classic.

The narrator is soft spoken and it took me a couple chapters to adjust to it but after that I really grew to appreciate it and the narrator does a great job of the voice acting with the different regional accents when necessary.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JOHN DAVIS
  • 2019-11-26

outstanding in every way

Magnificent research, writing, and narration. It is the most personal of the many recent books written about the 1939-1945 War in Europe. One can only hope that the final chapter from August 1944 to May 1945 is forthcoming. It is meticulous in its research, beautifully written and the narrator deserves a position in the hall of fame.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Allan Schneider
  • 2019-11-28

Great Book and excellent story. Narration is awful

Book is a great read , detailed , interesting and shows the decision process extremely well. The discussion and consideration technology and the development of the overall strategy again very well done. Highly recommend this book.
The narration is awful. The reader shows us he can verbally be very expressive and emotive , but he does not understand when the appropriate moment to use those skills. He loves his own voice so much that he use music like tones merely to hear himself and mostly when it is superfluous . The tonal additions are distracting and off putting. Let the book tell the story. Over dramatizing the narrative is not needed - but it seems to me this point is wasted on the narrator . He loves his tonal emphasis , breathy pronunication and added emionality way too much .

2 people found this helpful

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  • A. Mattson
  • 2020-05-12

Ok, not great

The book itself was pretty bland with bad pacing (most of the non-dday operations were basically sidenotes), nothing really new or interesting discussed, and some false information (at one point talked about "gas cooled" machine guns).
Narrator was ok, except he did really bad accents whenever someone was quoted, and his pronunciations of foreign words was pretty bad

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  • S. Ainsworth
  • 2020-05-07

History told from both sides

I have read several WWII books that included the D-Day invasion. This book is different in that it tells the story from both sides. You get to see what is going on behind the front lines on both sides. Great way to read history

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  • DUCKLover
  • 2020-05-04

Best account of the Normandy battle I read

I was quite impressed by this book. The introduction is well fulfilled.
All major side well covered British American Greman as well as French Canadian and some neutrals.
I have read many accounts in 40 years this is the most interesting.

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  • Darth Kellen
  • 2020-04-15

better w a physical copy

this book needs maps and you don't get those w an audible book
the performance and story are quite good but I would go w the physical copy for this one

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  • Gus
  • 2020-03-14

War as seen from the ground level

An outstanding tale exquisitely presented about the horrors of war as seen from the ground level. An outstanding presentation of an epic battle and a great allied victory. The listener is almost there.

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  • S. H. Moore
  • 2020-02-22

Excellent account of Normandy but be weary...

This is a great start to finish of the Normandy campaign. Deeply flushed out and detailed and told excellently. However, and it’s a BIG however, the author is British. As such, like every Normandy conversation, you have to address Montgomery. This author suffers from trying to hard to excuse and justify Montgomery. Now, do I think people are to hard on Monty? Yes. Do I think this author bent over backward to make him look good? Yes. He literally has nothing negative to say about his conduct of the war other than he was a pompous grump.

That aside. It’s really very good.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • lmtwashington
  • 2020-02-14

Say What?

The narrator must be the war whisperer. At any volume, his unintelligible speech slurs on and on just above a whisper. Is there good content in this accounting? I really don't know. I cannot review content that I cannot process. Horrible narration. Avoid this purchase