The Normandy Campaign by Victor Brooks

The Normandy Campaign by Victor Brooks is an excellent short history of one of the most pivotal military campaigns in history. Brooks succinctly describes the main characters and events of this momentous event.

The book more or less goes in chronological order from the Allies’ first inklings of an invasion of mainland Europe to the eventual capture of Paris. It describes the painstaking preparations for gathering the mountains of supplies for the invasion and the efforts the Allies made in trying to deceive the Germans where the actual landing was going to occur (including creating a false Army under the command of General George Patton).

The book further explains what went right and what went wrong at each of the invasion beaches. Some of the most interesting parts of the book describe the different problems that each invasion force had – the British and Canadians had to deal with the German armor forces and the Americans had to deal with the miles of Norman hedgerows.

Although this is a traditional telling of the Normandy Campaign, Brooks brings new life to the subject. I especially like how he interweaves small biographies of each of the major characters – including Dwight Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, and Erwin Rommel. These brief biographies provide you with an idea of what these men were like. In a similar vein, Brooks gives brief descriptions of the organization of the American, British, and German Armies and how those organizations affected the outcome of the campaign.

Finally, Brooks’ writing style is very easy to follow and understand. He does not get bogged down in the intricate details of the campaign (this is not the type of book for those who want an in-depth description of the battles). The book flows very well.

This is an excellent example of an academic history with a popular history twist.

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