‘Vivid, graphic and moving’ Mail on Sunday Book of the Year
‘It has a wonderful immediacy and vitality – living history in every sense’ Anthony Horowitz
‘Fantastic’ Dan Snow
‘Compellingly authentic, revelatory and beautifully written. A gripping tour de
force’ Damien Lewis
‘Stirring and unsettling in equal measure, this is history writing at its most powerful’ Evening Standard
Almost seventy-five years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could be driven back into the sea, the invasion would be stalled for years, perhaps forever.
An epic battle that involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles, the desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics – of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defences were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. Their authentic human story – Allied, German, French – has never fully been told.
Giles Milton’s bold new history narrates the day’s events through the tales of survivors from all sides: the teenage Allied conscript, the crack German defender, the French resistance fighter. From the military architects at Supreme Headquarters to the young schoolboy in the Wehrmacht’s bunkers, D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story lays bare the absolute terror of those trapped in the frontline of Operation Overlord. It also gives voice to those hitherto unheard – the French butcher’s daughter, the Panzer Commander’s wife, the chauffeur to the General Staff.
This vast canvas of human bravado reveals ‘the longest day’ as never before – less as a masterpiece of strategic planning than a day on which thousands of scared young men found themselves staring death in the face. It is drawn in its entirety from the raw, unvarnished experiences of those who were there.