Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944
Omaha Beach witnessed the greatest drama and loss of life on D-Day. Across a four-and-a-half-mile front consisting of sand, stones, and cliffs, largely untested American troops assaulted Germany's Atlantic Wall head-on, encountering fierce resistance but eventually securing the beachhead. Their actions paved the way for Allied victory in World War II, yet until now, a truly comprehensive history of the momentous battle for Omaha Beach has not been written. In Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944, Joseph Balkoski picks up where other historians left off and weaves personal recollections and historical analysis into a gripping, unforgettable narrative of one of the U.S. Army's most costly days of World War II. After placing the D-Day preparations firmly within their diplomatic and strategic context-from Gen. George Marshall's early enthusiasm for a Normandy landing to the Tehran conference, where Stalin's support moved the plan into its final stages-Balkoski describes the minute-by-minute combat on Omaha Beach. Using a series of detailed maps to illustrate the progress of the invasion, as well as a broad selection of first-person accounts-many given mere weeks after the fighting-Balkoski crafts a seamless story of the action as it unfolded. He allows both officers and enlisted men to speak for themselves, as they vividly recount their attempts to maneuver bombers through heavy cloud cover, the claustrophobic terror of manning a tank aboard a landing vessel, and the relentless fire that greeted them as they inched their way across the beach. A concluding section recognizes Omaha's Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross recipients, some of them posthumous, and lists the minute details of the landings, such as the order of battle, unit-by-unit casualties, and the equipment the men carried. Equal parts oral history and meticulous reconstruction, Omaha Beach is the closest the modern reader can get to experiencing the Normandy landings firsthand. It is a fitting tribute to the veterans and an indispensable history of one of America's-and, indeed, the world's-most important days.Voted a top 5 book on D-Day in The Wall Street Journal, and a top 10 book on D-Day in USA Today.
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