[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]
Next Week is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day the Allied invasion of Europe. I would guess that most people don’t think about it and if they do the picture that comes to their mind is a scene from Saving Private Ryan. The movie gives a good idea but the words of those who were there are priceless gems in my opinion.
D-Day: Minute by Minute is a description of the events of D-day in the order in which they occurred taken from transcripts and interviews of those that were there.
It gives the reader a sense of the disordered perspective the average participant has in combat. All is chaos and confusion and it take courage and determination just to keep going, much less fight effectively. It says much for the soldiers, sailors, and airman of the allied armies that they persevered despite the chaos of the landings.
The book itself is separated into three chapters that cover the period leading up to D-Day, the 5th of June, and D-Day itself. By far the greatest portion of the book is dedicated to D-Day, 198 pages. There is brief introduction and a postscript that details what happened to the people whose stories are told in the main narrative. It also includes a 16 page, very tightly packed bibliography.
The minute-by-minute format is very appealing for an event as momentous as D-Day. It gives the reader a sense of how the day played out and what I thought was more important, that the issue of whether the Allies would succeed or fail was in doubt until late in the afternoon. One of the best things about this book is that although it focuses on retelling events from the Allied perspective it does not ignore the Germans fighting them and the recollections of several of the Normandy beach defenders are included as well.
This is an outstanding book and should be required reading in High School history classes. I doubt that will happen though. Everybody, whether history buff or not, should read this book. I highly recommend it. That it has been released near the 70th anniversary of the landings is appropriate as it gives voice to the generation that fought there and is rapidly passing away.