Synopses & Reviews
The French defeat at the hands of the Germans in June 1940 began a period of occupation, shame, repression, and deprivation. Four years later, the dawn landings of Allied forces on the coastal beaches of France began la Bataille de Normandie—the epic Battle of Normandy—rekindling hopes for liberation which French citizens, including the grandfather of author Dominique François, so longed to see. Like many Frenchmen, Joseph François dreamt of revenge, of washing away the stain of the French defeat, and of freedom. But he did not live to see that long-awaited day, the day his country was liberated from the Germans.
Ten years of writing and research went into Normandy: Breaching the Atlantic Wall, From D-Day to the Breakout and Liberation. François, an author and historian of numerous books on the battle, pored through military archives in France and the United States, selecting the most compelling images and documents from the period. He also included numerous photographs from his family’s collection, including many that show the personal hardships faced by his father’s family, their neighbors, and all of occupied France during the war. In addition to more than 500 images, many never before published, François commissioned a number of highly detailed color maps of the beach landings, the battle plans, and German and Allied military operations and troop movements.
From the invasion to the breakout, to Patton’s opening of the road to Brittany, the Mayenne, and the Loire, and finally, with de Gaulle’s triumphant return to Paris, the Battle of Normandy was won at a terrible price. This grand history covers all aspects of the battle, including:
· France under the Occupation
· Operation Overlord: The Plan
· The D-Day Invasion
· The First U.S. Army and the Capture of Cherbourg
· The Second British Army and the Battle of Caen
· Operation Cobra: The Battle of the Hedgerows
· The Breakthrough at Saint-Lô
· The Counterattack at Mortain
· The Falaise Pocket
· The Race to Paris
· More than 25 vivid color photos of unit patches
· Then-and-now battlefield photos
"This coffee-table book, packed with prints and photographs covering the Allies' June 1944 invasion of France is clearly a labor of love by French military historian Franois. A preinvasion bombing killed his grandfather, a Norman farmer, and barely missed his father, age 10 at the time. Chapter one offers family photographs as well as posters and photos of the 1940 1944 German occupation. Even better is an epilogue of before-and-after photographs juxtaposing images of locations like Omaha Beach in 1944 and 60 years later. In between, the pages teem with images of the massive Allied buildup in England, the invasion itself and the battles in Normandy interspersed with sidebars on generals and soldiers awarded medals for their bravery. Readers familiar with the iconic Normandy photographs will not find them; among the myriad of images in the archives, Franois's choices emphasize modest soldierly activity and civilian miseries. The extensive text delivers a conventional, undistinguished history of events, so readers will lose little by skimming. Picture books on the Normandy invasion would fill a substantial shelf, but this one offers some modestly unusual features. 100 color and 400 b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The first complete illustrated history of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France, with accounts of both the attacking Allies and the defending Germans.
June 6, 1944
“The evening preceding the Allied invasion, the ancient streets of Valognes, locally known as ‘Normandy’s Versailles,’ presented their usual calm. The patina of its stone facades, polished by the ages, its grand hotels particuliers, and its many timeworn yet solid dwellings presented a comforting architectural vision of bygone days. That night, however, its inhabitants were awakened by the muffled growl of Allied planes coming over the Cotentin Peninsula. In the wee hours of June 6, American paratroopers who had missed their drop zones invaded Valognes, landing near the train station. The epic battle of Normandy, so long anticipated, had finally begun.”
—from chapter 10: “Consolidating the Beachheads”
Now available in flexibound format, Normandy illuminates the tense buildup to the Allied invasion of France in World War II, covering both the German and Allied perspectives through previously unpublished period photographs.
Over the past seventy years, the D-Day landings carried out by Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy have become perhaps the most famous component of World War II history. Mentions of Operation Overlord immediately conjure up images of Higgins boats, cliff-top snipers, paratroopers, and utter chaos. But the critical events that preceded WWII’s most telling battle—the German occupation of Normandy, the construction of the Atlantic Wall by Erwin Rommel, the Nazis’ mounting defense of the French Coast—are too often overlooked. Similarly excluded are the Allied preparations, such as their rigorous training exercises in England and the extensive aerial planning implemented by the U.S. Air Force. In Normandy, French military historian Dominique François illuminates this tense buildup from both the German and Allied perspectives, moving effortlessly between the two sides to craft the first complete illustrated history of the Allied invasion of France, from its early development all the way to its conclusion at the end of August 1944. A rare collection of remarkable period photographs—many of them never before published—accompany François’ lucid descriptions, placing you directly in the middle of wartime action. From the Dieppe Raid to the tragedy at Slapton Sands, from the night drops and the beaches to the breakout and race across France, this expertly narrated volume makes a crucial moment in WWII history real for all readers and all times.
The French defeat at the hands of the Nazis in June 1940 began a period of occupation and deprivation; four years later, the dawn landings of Allied forces on the beaches of France began la Bataille de Normandie
—the epic Battle of Normandy—rekindling hopes for liberation. The grandfather of author Dominique François, like many Frenchmen, dreamt of revenge, but did not live to see his country freed from the Nazis. Normandy
is the result of ten years of research by François, drawing on French and U.S. military archives as well as numerous photographs from his family’s collection that capture the hardships of occupied France. From the invasion to the breakout, Patton’s charge through France, and finally de Gaulle’s triumphant return to Paris, the Battle of Normandy was won at a terrible price. Normandy
covers all aspects of this turning point in World War II and includes more than 500 images, many never before published, as well as eleven detailed color maps of the beach landings, battle plans, and German and Allied operations and troop movements.
Told in full, in never-before-seen detail, this is the first complete illustrated history of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France. The book's on-the-ground and behind-the-scenes accounts of both the attacking Allies and the defending Germans offer a uniquely broad perspective on the Normandy landing and subsequent battles.
From the invasion to the breakout, to Patton's opening of the road to Brittany, the Mayenne, and the Loire, and finally, with de Gaulle's triumphant return to Paris, the Battle of Normandy was won at a terrible price. This grand history covers all aspects of the battle.
About the Author
Dominique François is a French military historian specializing in D-Day and the subsequent Normandy campaign. He has written fifteen books on the subject, including Normandy: Breaching the Atlantic Wall (Zenith Press, 2008). His expertise on D-Day is well known throughout France, and he has served as a consultant for the History Channel, NBC, and Inertia Films. He currently lives in Normandy, France.
Table of Contents
List of Maps Acknowledgments Introduction Part I: Four Years of German Occupation 1 June 1940: The Defeat of France 2 France under the Occupation 3 Construction of the Atlantic Wall 4 German Forces in Normandy on the Eve of the Allied Invasion Part II: Operation Overlord: The Plan 5 Strategic Preparations 6 Airborne Operations 7 Amphibious and Naval Operations Part III: D-Day: The Invasion 8 Airborne Missions 9 The Beaches 10 Consolidating the Beachheads Part IV: Expanding the Beachheads 11 The First U.S. Army and the Capture of Cherbourg 12 The Second British Army and the Battle of Caen Part V: Operation Cobra 13 Preliminaries 14 The Breakthrough at Saint-Lô Part VI: Normandy’S Stalingrad 15 The Counterattack at Mortain 16 The Falaise Pocket: The Road of Death (Todesgang) 17 The Race to Paris Epilogue Appendices A: The Battle?eld: Then and NowB: Unit InsigniaBibliography Index MapsOperation Overlord Plan German Forces in Normandy 1st Division Landing at Omaha Beach Utah Beach: D-Day Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches: D-Day The U.S. Drive to Secure the Cotentin Peninsula and Cherbourg The British and Canadian Capture of Caen Operation Cobra: The Breakout from Saint-Lô The German Attack at Mortain The Falaise–Argentan Pocket Cartography by Philip Schwartzberg, Meridian Mapping, Minneapolis