The 70th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, has obviously peaked interested in this monumental, historic event. There are two books I would like to recommend to those who wish to pursue the historic details of this epic event and a third which offers important insight into the citizen soldiers so critical to the ultimate Allied Victory. Two of these books are by the same author, historian Stephen E. Ambrose.
One of the most definitive and detailed histories of D-Day: OVERLORD D-DAY AND THE BATTLE FOR NORMANDY by British Historian Max Hastings, first published in Great Britain in 1984. Wrote the Englishman, ” Not the least remarkable aspect of the Second World War was the manner in which the United States, which might have been expected to regard the campaign in Europe as a diversion from the struggle against her principal aggressor, Japan, was persuaded to commit her chief strength in the west. Not only that, but from December 1941 until June, 1944 it was the Americans who were passionately impatient to confront the German Army on the continent while the British, right up until the eve of D-Day, were haunted by the misgivings about doing do.” “Why are we trying to do this? cried Winston Churchill.”
The author of Eisenhower, Stephen Ambrose, wrote the quintessential D-Day history: D-DAY, JUNE 6, 1944, THE CLIMATIC BATTLE OF WORLD WAR II. First published in 1994 on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Dwight Eisenhower, ” The Fury of an aroused democracy.” Eisenhower on Omaha Beach in 1964 on the D-Day 20th Anniversary. ” But it’s a wonderful thing to remember what those fellows twenty years ago were fighting for and sacrificing for, what they did to preserve our way of life. Not to conquer any territory, not for any ambitions of our own. But to make sure that Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world.”
How ordinary enlisted men’s ability to assume leadership turned the tide for the Allies: Stephen E. Ambrose, CITIZEN SOLDIERS. First published in 1997. From the memoir of Bruce Eggert who rose from private to staff sergeant: ” Not a man among us would want to go through it again, but were all proud of having been so severely tested and found adequate. The only regret is for those of our friends who never returned.”
Any of these volumes would make a wonderful Fathers Day gift for lovers of history. All are still available in hard cover and paperback editions.