Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

D-Day by Antony Beevor

It has been decades since a full-scale, comprehensive history of D-day last appeared. It may be longer than that before another one is needed. Antony Beevor (Stalingrad) marshals vast armies of facts and anecdotes to his cause, switching lightly from the general's top-down view of the battlefield to the infantryman's trench-level perspective and back again. Beevor doesn't stop at the beaches but follows the whole bloody shooting match up to the liberation of Paris. He's sensible of both the human triumph of D-day and its appalling costs, some of which should have been avoided: more French civilians died from Allied bombs on D-day than were killed by the Germans during the Blitz on Britain.