Antony Beevor is the author of Crete: The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize), Berlin: The Downfall, The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia), D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (Prix Henry Malherbe and the RUSI Westminster Medal), The Second World War, Ardennes 1944 (Prix Medicis shortlist) and Arnhem. The number one bestselling historian in Britain, Beevor's books have appeared in thirty-three languages and have sold over eight million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received a number of honorary doctorates. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Kent and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London. He was knighted in 2017.
Beevor has established a solid reputation as a chronicler of WWII's great eastern front battles: Stalingrad and Berlin. In addressing D-Day, he faces much wider competition with historians like Stephen Ambrose and Max Hastings, who also use his method of integrating personal experiences, tactical engagements, operational intentions and strategic plans. Beevor combines extensive archival research with a remarkable sense of the telling anecdote: he quotes, for example, an officer's description of the "bloody mass of arms and legs and heads, [and] cremated corpses" created by artillery fire as the Germans tried to escape the Allied breakout. He is sharply critical of senior commanders on both sides: Bernard Montgomery's conceit; Adolf Hitler's self-delusion; Dwight Eisenhower's mediocrity. His heroes are the men who took the invasion ashore and carried it forward into Normandy in the teeth of a German defense whose skill and determination deserved a better cause. The result was a battle of attrition: a "bloody slog" that tested British and American fighting power to the limit-but not beyond. Beevor says that it wasn't Allied forces' material superiority but their successful use of combined arms and their high learning curve that were decisive in a victory that shaped postwar Europe. Maps, illus. (Oct. 13) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
The story of operation Overlord and the French-coast landings on D-day, June 6, 1944, has been recounted many times both in print and on the big screen. It is certainly a story worth retelling, and Beevor (Stalingrad) does it well, combining contemporary accounts with a moving narrative, beginning on June 2, 1944, and ending with the liberation of Paris in August. He relates the operation from all points of view, from the commanders to the men on the beaches, giving equal time to all participants and including, more unusually, the experiences of the French civilians involved. Civilian casualties ran into the tens of thousands, a fact either ignored or given short shrift in most books. Beevor shifts perspectives smoothly, enabling the reader to follow along without confusion, from the U.S. landings on Omaha and Utah beaches to the British and Canadians landings on Sword and Juno beaches, to the airborne incursion and the German response. Verdict Beevor has written an in-depth campaign history, comparable to Max Hastings's Overlord and Carlo D'Este's Decision in Normandy, that should be read by beginners and experts alike. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]-David Lee Poremba, Windermere, FL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Magnificent, vivid, moving, superb . . . offers a thousand
vignettes of drama, terror, cruelty, compassion, courage and
cowardice -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times *
A knockout reassessment of one of the Second World War's great set-piece battles. Swoops from the vicious close-quarter fighting in the hedgerows to the petrified French onlookers and onwards to the political leaders wrestling with monumental decisions * Sunday Times *
Beevor has succeeded brilliantly. D-Day can sit proudly alongside his other masterworks on Stalingrad and the fall of Berlin. Superbly brings the events of that summer to life again -- Patrick Bishop * Daily Telegraph *
As near as possible to experiencing what it was like to be there. . . It is almost impossible for a reader not to get caught up in the excitement -- Giles Foden * Guardian *
A magnificent portrait. Beevor has assembled a mass of unfamiliar sources, fresh voices, and untold. As powerful and authoritative an account of the battle for Normandy as we are likely to get -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times *
D-Day is a triumph of research. . . on almost every page there's some little detail that sticks in the mind or tweaks the heart. This is a terrific, inspiring, heart-breaking book -- Sam Leith * Daily Mail *
It tells a thrilling story, with all Beevor's narrative mastery -- Chris Patten * Financial Times *
Impeccable, splendid, thoroughly researched and gripping. Beevor is master of narrative, expertly blending the grand sweep with the telling anecdote -- Dominic Sandbrook * Observer *
Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history -- David Edgar * Guardian *
His singular ability to make huge historical events accessible to a general audience recalls the golden age of British narrative history, whose giants include Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent *