Many good and some not so good books have been written about the Battle for Normandy, but Antony Beevor’s D-Day: The Battle for Normandy must rank as one of the best.
The book is well written and easy to read; which is always a good start with a history book. The main thing to note is that this really is a book about the battle for Normandy, it is not a book about D-Day. The opening section deals with the lead up to the invasion of Normandy and does so very well, but the book then takes you on to the liberation of Paris months later.
Though this is a meaty book,it isn’t long enough to cover all of the incidents raised in any great detail. If you want a good study of any of the individual battles then this probably isn’t the book for you. However, if you are looking for a good overall introduction, this is definitely the place to start. It is much more thorough than The Longest Day: The D-Day Story, June 6th, 1944 by Cornelius Ryan which is probably the best known popular book on the subject.
Beevor does not hesitate to point out the strengths and failings of the armies and commanders involved. In particularly, Montgomery and the troops under his command come in for a fair degree of criticism. However, unlike, say, Stephen Ambrose, Beevor does put the conduct of the British forces into a social and historical context.
Of the books I’ve read by Antony Beevor, this is certainly the most gripping and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in modern or military history.