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Bonus Chapter - Citizen Soldiers

My dad in WWII.

Here is another blast from the past. This blog is from June 3, 2019. Having seen many of the places mentioned in these books recently and still being away, I thought this refresh of Operation Overlord made be a good blog for this week.

June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the World War II operation that has been deemed the turning point of the war. While there are very few "citizen soldiers" alive left to tell us about their part in this campaign, thankfully there are many good books out there to give us the historical facts and personal accounts of the event.

I use the term "citizen soldiers" because most Americans involved in World War II were just that, men and women who had no prior military training but were either drafted (about 10 million men) or enlisted (approximately 6 million) after Pearl Harbor.

Here are some really good books which tell us their stories and, in some cases, the facts of the campaign.

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose - Ambrose is a terrific historian and this book is one of his best. It follows the Army Airborne's E Company from it's training days through Normandy to capturing Hitler's Eagle Nest. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in World War II history.

Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose - This is a closer look at the soldiers' stories as they moved from Normandy to the end of the war. Ambrose interviewed hundreds of veterans for this book and tells the history in their own words as well as gives the historic facts before individual vignettes. Ambrose also wrote D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches, a 600+ page missive just dedicated to that battle.

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose - This new nonfiction book by Rose is about the women who were recruited by Britain's Special Operations Executive to served as spies, couriers, and saboteurs. Their efforts helped to bring about a successful D-Day operation.

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan - I have mentioned this book before but I think it is worth another as it is a novelized account of a French woman's activities prior to D-Day.

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara - If you are looking for a novelized account with historical accuracy, this is the author to connect with. Shaara's books are well researched, his characters real, and his writing flawless. You'll get all the facts with none of the dryness you experienced in History class.

The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II by Alex Kershaw - This book tells all about the planning and execution of Operation Overlord and the brave men who made their way into Normandy.

Can you recommend any books about D-Day? Please share them.


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