June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the World War II Allied invasion of Normandy. The landing of 160,000 troops on 50 miles of beach remains a stunning achievement in the history of warfare. To honor those that served on that fateful day and to remember those who lost their lives, here is a list of five D-Day books.
“The Americans at D-Day: The American Experience at the Normandy Invasion” by John C. McManus is the first of two volumes on the Battle of Normandy in World War II. Well-researched and well-written, the book details the pivotal role of the U.S. in the Allied victory.
“The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach” by John C. McManus delves further into detail about the American experience on D-Day. This book follows one division, the 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed “The Big Red One,” through nineteen hours of fighting on Omaha Beach. The heroic efforts of these men is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
“The Longest Day” by Cornelius Ryan was first published in 1959 and remains one of the most widely read accounts of D-Day. Its novelistic style is easy to read. Historians, however, will frown at the lack of footnotes or endnotes. The classic film version of the book featured an all-star cast including John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton and Sean Connery.
“Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6, 1944- August 5, 1944” by John Keegan is another well-researched and solidly written account of D-Day and its aftermath. A renowned military historian, Keegan describes the military strategy of each army involved in the Invasion of Normandy. Originally published in 1982, it was revised and reissued in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
“Decision in Normandy” by Carlo D’Este begins with D-Day and recounts the days following the Normandy invasion. The untold story of the fighting that secured the Allied presence in Western Europe is a compelling read. Using first-hand accounts and never before released documents, the author reveals the key aspects of the Battle of Normandy that led, in spite of mistakes, to eventual victory.
“USA Today” offers a list of ten favorite books about D-Day here.