Friday, Sep. 04, 2009

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

The best-selling popular historian Antony Beevor turns his powerful, revisionist gaze on the great Allied assault on Normandy. Beevor (Stalingrad) has a gift for bringing a new vividness and horror to old war stories, with brute-force statistics and small human details — a sergeant remarks that paratroopers, dropped too low for their chutes to open, sound "like watermelons falling off the back of a truck." Greeted as a near definitive account in the U.K., D-Day adds dark shadows to the story that other historians have unwilling or unable to include: for example, Beevor focuses attention on the indiscriminate aerial bombing of the region by the Allies, which killed French civilians in appalling numbers.