Review - 'Normandy, the Real Story' by D&S Whitaker

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Larso
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Review - 'Normandy, the Real Story' by D&S Whitaker

Post by Larso » 12 Jan 2007 03:03

Full title 'Normandy, the Real Story: How ordinary Allied soldiers defeated Hitler' by Brig. Gen. Denis Whitaker & Shelagh Whitaker with Terry Copp.

This was a sound book. Denis Whitaker was a veteran of Normandy, fighting (and being wounded) with the Canadian army. Not surprisingly, this book gives a lot more attention to what the Canadians and also the Poles achieved, particularly regarding Falaise. It covers the basic Normandy campaign too but it's strength is a greater emphasis on the battles of Mortain and the closing of the Falaise gap than is normally the case. I read a lot of things I hadn't come across before, for example some unit strength stats for Mortain and some interesting stats regarding Typhoon casualties. There was also a lot of new veterans accounts, many obtained by the authors themselves but also some fresh stuff regarding the German perspective from New Orleans University's oral history unit. Indeed, overall, this book has something new to offer regarding a campaign that has been covered a lot, often using the same tired quotes.

The authors get a little breathless at times, especially when 'recounting' general's conversations and thoughts and there's the occasional passage that needed clarification - like the quote from an airforce unit claiming 100 Tiger tanks destroyed. But overall, the book has a lot to offer. I particuarly enjoyed the final chapter where the practise of praising the German defence is challenged and a (well argued) call made to give the Allied troops more credit for the victory.

John

JonS
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Post by JonS » 12 Jan 2007 04:02

Huh. I was more than a little disappointed with it. The best bit - I thought - was Copp's summary chapter at the end, wherein he pretty much ripped to shreds Whittaker's thesis.

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