We all know that I love history. If you do not know that, well you do now. One of my favorite time periods is the World War II era. I think my love of this era comes from the stories my grandfather told me about his time in the war. He was a sailor on the USS Cogswell DD-651 in the Pacific theater.
Over the years I have read a lot of books about World War II, and I wanted to share with you two of the best about D-Day.
The first one is Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day. It was written in 1959 and turned into a movie in 1962 starring John Wayne. In this book, Cornelius Ryan takes us from the moments before the launch of the Normandy Invasion, through the invasion and to the moments afterwards. It is not a boring date and time slog through history. Ryan tells us of the real people, both soldiers and village people, and not just of the commanders that led the battles. I was 12 years old when I read this book, and the part the sticks out to me is the Allied paratrooper that was hung up on a steeple in Normandy, watching German soldiers below him, praying he would not be seen. Cornelius Ryan has two other books in his World War II trilogy that should be mentioned; A Bridge Too Far and The Last Battle. All three books are must reads for history buffs, and World War II aficionados.
The next book to mention is Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day, June 6, 1944; The Climactic Battle of World War II. The book begins on midnight, June 5, 1944, when the British and American airborne troops jumped into France, and ends on midnight, June 7, 1944. That twenty four hour period is the main focus of this book, and he goes into incredible detail, having done 1400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans. This is a must read!
Both of these books will give you insight into what went into the preparations of that day, the planning and execution of this momentous day.