Book Review: D-Day: Minute by Minute


by Jonathan Mayo

New York: Simon & Schuster Marble Arch, 2014. Pp. 304. Illus., map, index. $25.00. ISBN: 1476772940

Eyewitness Accounts of D-Day as It Unfolded

British author and film documentarian Mayo tells the story of D-Day though hundreds of short items, mostly excerpts from personal recollections and quotes from memoirs, letters, official documents, news reports, and the like, including such events as recollections of Rommel’s wife’s birthday party, FDR's D-Day radio message and prayer, reports about wargames, observations by glider pilots, many snippets of combat, and so forth. These are linked by Mayo's asides and observations about the military situation. 

Mayo has arranged these in chronological order into four “chapters” or sections.  The first two are short, covering preliminary events in the weeks before the invasion and then the events of June 5th . The third section covers the events of D-Day in nearly 200 pages, and is followed by a shorter concluding section titled “After D-Day.” 

At times the accounts are almost literally minute-by-minute, cutting back-and-forth from place to place, landing craft to fighter bomber overhead to German observation post to troops huddled under cover against withering fire to Resistance workers conducting sabotage, and even back to the Home Front, whether in Britain or Germany or the U.S. Surprisingly, this approach works, giving the reader a rather vivid, and often grim, picture of how many different people – British, French, German, American, Canadian, Russian, and others, whether soldiers, sailors, airmen, or civilians – experienced the events of the day. 

While not a history of the landings, D-Day - Minute by Minute,  which has an excellent, detailed index, makes it worthwhile  reading for anyone interested in the war in Europe or in the nature of war.

Note:  D-Day: Minute by Minute is also available in paperback, ISBN 978-1-7807, and as an e-Book, ISBN 978-1-4767-7295-0
Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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