Normandy: The Landings to the Liberation of Paris

Olivier Wieviorka, Author, M. B. Debevoise, Translator , trans. from the French by M.B. DeBevoise. Harvard/Belknap $29.95 (446p) ISBN 978-0-674-02838-8

Accounts of the Normandy campaign are not in short supply, but this one from a French military historian delivers an energetic, mildly revisionist overview. Historians tend to write that lack of resources postponed a 1943 cross-channel attack, but Wieviorka instead pins the delay on the diversion of men from Europe to other theaters. Only at the November 1943 Tehran conference did FDR commit to a 1944 invasion despite Churchill's objections. Wieviorka vividly paints the frantic six-month scramble to organize the landing despite critical shortages, tensions between commanders and Churchill's persistent reluctance. The author excels in describing the complex campaign to conceal details of the invasion, assisted by Germany's incompetent intelligence service. The June 6 landing proved much easier than predicted, but the advance inland, largely ignored by planners, was slow and costly. Wieviorka's final chapters describing de Gaulle's maneuvers to wrest control of France from both the Allies and his French rivals may deliver more than American readers want to know. But aided by a fluent translation, this is an engrossing history of the Normandy campaign. 10 maps, 3 charts. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 446 pages - 978-0-674-04747-1
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