D-Day (Turning Points in History)

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9780471423409: D-Day (Turning Points in History)
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"The Allied landings in 1944 had all the prospects for disaster. Churchill thought he would be woken up to be told of massive casualties. Eisenhower prepared a somber broadcast announcing that the enterprise had failed.

The specter of failure was always present. After a failed landing the Nazi regime would have regained the ascendant. New, terrifying bombs and rockets were ready to be launched. Long-distance submarines were in the final stage of development. The last million Jews of Europe were listed for deportation and death.

Failure at Normandy could have given Hitler the chance of continuing to rule western Europe, particularly if the United States, bloodied and defeated in Normandy, had decided-after two and a half years of focusing on Europe-to turn all its energies to the ever-growing demands of the Pacific, leaving Europe to its own devices. Had that happened, I doubt if I would have been alive to write this book, or free to express my opinions without fear of arrest."
--Martin Gilbert

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From the Inside Flap:

"I hope to God I know what I’m doing."
–General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the night before D-Day

"Do you realize that by the time you wake up in the morning, 20,000 men may have been killed?"
–Winston Churchill, to his wife, the night before D-Day

It was the most massive, complex, and spectacular amphibious assault ever attempted, the long-awaited turning point in the bloodiest and most savage war in history. But when 7,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, and 150,000 troops converged on the coast of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the outcome of the attack, code-named "Operation Overlord," was far from certain.

In D-Day, one of the foremost historians of the twentieth century provides an incisive and dramatic account of the strategic planning, in-fighting, invention, deception, and hard labor that led up to that momentous day. Through vivid, firsthand accounts of the battle, Martin Gilbert also captures the horror and heroism of D-Day, from daring paratroop attacks behind enemy lines to grim determination under withering fire on the beachheads.

Tracing the genesis of D-Day to the early days after Dunkirk, Gilbert recounts how the results of numerous commando raids–some successful, others disastrous–shaped the Allies planning for a full-scale assault. He reveals Churchill’s hands-on involvement in both strategic and tactical planning, and explains why the invasion was delayed for more than two years after America’s entry into the war.

Gilbert offers a wealth of new and detailed information on the Allies’ use of double agents and phantom armies to fool Hitler and his generals into believing that the Normandy invasion was a mere diversion in preparation for a larger assault elsewhere. He also reveals how British codebreakers provided Allied commanders with astonishingly accurate information on German troop movements, defense strategies, and command decisions.

D-Day introduces hundreds of extraordinary people whose confidence, ingenuity, and courage were crucial to the success of "Overlord." You’ll meet the American air commander who calmly assured Churchill that there would be no German planes over the Normandy beachheads, the bulldozer operator who took out a German bunker with sand, and the general who calmly strode the beach, cane in hand, personally leading his men over a seawall to safety.

Complete with twenty-seven maps prepared especially for this book, D-Day offers a fascinating, moving, and inspiring account that sheds new light on one of the greatest achievements in military history.

About the Author:

MARTIN GILBERT, one of the leading historians of the twentieth century, is the author of more than seventy books, including the official biography of Winston Churchill, a definitive history of the Holocaust, and comprehensive studies of both World War I and World War II. Among his recent titles are In Search of Churchill and Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, both available from Wiley.

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9780470373019: D-Day (Turning Points in History)

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Publisher: Wiley, 2008
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