The most recommended books on the Normandy landings

Who picked these books? Meet our 33 experts.

33 authors created a book list connected to the Normandy landings, and here are their favorite Normandy landings books.
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Book cover of The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana

Hilary Green Author Of Operation Lightning Bolt

From my list on the secret world of plot and counter plot in WWll.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born just before the start of World War ll. My father served throughout the war in the RAF but before that he had been a professional singer. I was interested in the idea that the war had sent people along paths that they would never have otherwise explored and I decided to write about four young performing artists and their wartime experiences. The result was the four novels in my Follies series. It meant a lot of research, in the process of which I discovered the work of the Special Operations Executive. This has provided me with material for several more novels, of which Operation Lightning Bolt is the most recent.

Hilary's book list on the secret world of plot and counter plot in WWll

Hilary Green Why did Hilary love this book?

The tagline for this book is Spying and Crown from Victoria to Diana. It is a massive book, the fruit of in-depth research, and opens up a fascinating field of enquiry. It details how the secret services grew out of attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria and reveals how the pro-Nazi sympathies of Edward Vlll and his abdication triggered a massive security alert. Most intriguing of all is the story of how King George Vl came to cooperate with SOE in a massive deception in the run-up to D-Day.

By Richard J. Aldrich, Rory Cormac,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Royals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Daily Mail Book of the Year and a The Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2021

'Monumental.. Authoritative and highly readable.' Ben Macintyre, The Times

'A fascinating history of royal espionage.' Sunday Times

'Excellent... Compelling' Guardian

For the first time, The Secret Royals uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.

In an enthralling narrative, Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac show how the British secret services grew out of persistent attempts to assassinate Victoria and then operated on a private and…


Book cover of No Woman's World: From D-Day to Berlin, A Female Correspondent Covers World War Two

Judith Mackrell Author Of The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II

From my list on WW2 – but written by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I was child growing up in London, the war was a powerful presence in my life. It was there in the films we watched, in the comics my brothers read, and in my vague understanding of what it meant to be British. It was not a subject we ever studied at school and as an adult I’ve always felt frustrated by my inadequate knowledge of this world-changing conflict. When I first had the idea of writing about the six remarkable women who pioneered the way for female war journalists, it wasn’t just their personal stories that drew me in but the chance to learn more about WW2 itself.

Judith's book list on WW2 – but written by women

Judith Mackrell Why did Judith love this book?

When Iris Carpenter was reporting on the war she, like all journalists, was subject to the rules of the military censors. But once the conflict was over she was free to publish the truth of all that she’d seen, and her 1946 memoir is an extraordinarily candid, occasionally harrowing read. As her title suggests, Carpenter’s principal objective was to expose the prejudice and stupidity against which she and her female colleagues had to battle, simply to get to the front—her account was one of the primary sources for my book. But she was also a fearless eyewitness and her memoir provides rare insights into the conditions of war, both its camaraderie and its horror.

By Iris Carpenter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Woman's World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944

Flint Whitlock Author Of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

From my list on D-Day airborne operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.

Flint's book list on D-Day airborne operations

Flint Whitlock Why did Flint love this book?

One of my all-time favorite books; it inspired me to become a military historian. Through extensive interviews with the actual participants, Ambrose detailed how gilder-borne British commandos pulled off a nearly textbook example of how to take an enemy-held bridge. Whenever I lead tours to Normandy, I always make sure we stop at Pegasus Bridge and recount the valor of the British troops who performed what many said was impossible.

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pegasus Bridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author traces each step of the D-Day preparations and gives a minute by minute account of the conflict.


Book cover of Battle Diary: From D-Day and Normandy to the Zuider Zee and VE

Mark Zuehlke Author Of Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory -- June 6, 1944

From my list on Canadians on their World War 2 service.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the mid-1990s, I’ve written thirteen volumes in The Canadian Battles Series—more than a million words on the battles, campaigns, and experiences of my nation’s army during World War II. I started this because Canadians were usually no more than a footnote in the WWII histories written by American and British historians, despite having been the third-largest army serving alongside their armies in Italy and Northwest Europe. Realizing that the Canadian story would only be told if we wrote it ourselves, I embraced the task and continue to do so thirty years later.

Mark's book list on Canadians on their World War 2 service

Mark Zuehlke Why did Mark love this book?

On June 6, 1944, Charles (Charlie) Martin was twenty-four and one of the youngest Company Sergeant Majors in the Queen’s Own Rifles. He was also one of the first Canadian soldiers to pile out of a landing craft onto Juno Beach in the face of heavy German machine-gun fire. From that day on the beach to when he was finally wounded for the first time on April 16, 1945, Martin was always at the forefront of the battle. While an excellent account of his combat experience, Martin also deeply examines the role of a Company Sergeant Major in leading and running an infantry company during the war. And he provides detailed descriptions of how such a company conducted itself during specific types of combat from patrols, to set-piece assaults, to setting up defensive positions. For anyone wanting to understand the experience of soldiers in World War II, Battle Diary is…

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Battle Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced account by a soldier who was twice decorated. Charlie Martin, company sergeant-major in the Queen's Own, was with his beloved A Company in all of the significant Normandy actions.


Book cover of Agincourt: Great Battles

Amy Lidster Author Of Publishing the History Play in the Time of Shakespeare: Stationers Shaping a Genre

From my list on Shakespeare and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, where I specialize in early modern drama (including Shakespeare) and book history. Since my undergraduate degree, I have been fascinated by historical drama, poetry, prose, and the often-porous boundary between ’truth’ and fiction during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most of my research–including a major project on ‘Wartime Shakespeare’ that produced two books and a public exhibition at The National Army Museum in London–explores the profound impact of the stories we tell about the past and what they reveal about concerns and interests in the present. 

Amy's book list on Shakespeare and history

Amy Lidster Why did Amy love this book?

This book astonished me through its careful, compelling account of how art and literature–broadly conceived–have an enormous impact on how we understand and access history.

By concentrating on the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and how it has been represented across the centuries, Curry reveals how much Shakespeare’s Henry V has shaped our historical awareness and cultural imagining of this event.

I am no less fascinated by the conflicting accounts and interpretations of this battle, by the difficulties and different agendas that inform acts of writing about the past, than when I first read this book, cover to cover in one sitting, as a student.

By Anne Curry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Agincourt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agincourt (1415) is an exceptionally famous battle, one that has generated a huge and enduring cultural legacy in the six hundred years since it was fought. Everybody thinks they know what the battle was about. Even John Lennon, aged 12, wrote a poem and drew a picture headed 'Agincourt'.

But why and how has Agincourt come to mean so much, to so many? Why do so many people claim their ancestors served at the battle? Is the Agincourt of popular image the real Agincourt, or is our idea of the battle simply taken from Shakespeare's famous depiction of it? Written…


Book cover of War Diaries 1939-1945

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From my list on making history live and breathe.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

James B. Conroy Why did James love this book?

I have read many military diaries in my research on World War II, and none are more enthralling than this. Lieutenant General Alan Brooke (Colonel Shrapnel, a subordinate called him) was Britain’s complicated Chief of the Imperial General Staff from November 1941 through the final victory.

From cover to cover, the diary he kept in the form of a chat with his wife “My evening talk with you on paper” – enlightened and often moved me with Brooke’s unique insights about the perilous course of the war and his intimate, unfiltered observations and typically caustic opinions about his legendary British, French, and American colleagues, Winston Churchill memorably among them.

I know of no more candid, heartfelt exposure of the burdens, rewards, and personal challenges of high command in wartime.

By Alanbrooke (editor), Alex Danchev (editor), Daniel Todman (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War Diaries 1939-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For most of the Second World War, General Sir Alan Brooke (1883-1963), later Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, was Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and Winston Churchill's principal military adviser, and antagonist, in the inner councils of war. He is commonly considered the greatest CIGS in the history of the British Army. His diaries--published here for the first time in complete and unexpurgated form--are one of the most important and the most controversial military diaries of the modern era. The last great chronicle of the Second World War, they provide a riveting blow-by-blow account of how the war…


Book cover of The Words of War: British Forces' Personal Letters and Diaries During the Second World War

Clément Horvath Author Of Till Victory: The Second World War By Those Who Were There

From my list on World War II letters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Frenchman with a great interest in the history of the Second World War, specializing in the correspondence of Allied soldiers. Almost 20 years of collecting WWII letters led to the publication of my first book Till Victory which was an award-winning bestseller in France, before it was released in English worldwide in 2021. I also host a podcast (Till Victory: a podcast about WWII and Peace), where I interview British and American veterans, and have made documentaries such as Red Beret & Dark Chocolate or The Missing Highlander. It's all about trying to understand what the young men who fought and died to liberate my country went through when they were my age.

Clément's book list on World War II letters

Clément Horvath Why did Clément love this book?

Although it has no illustrations (and seeing the face of the soldier writing the letters is very important to feel connected), reading these archives from the Imperial War Museum, focusing on British Forces’ Personal Letters and Diaries during the Second World War, was a fantastic read. The soldiers’ names and personal stories are disclosed and there’s a historical context for the neophytes. It also deals with battles that we seldom hear about (looking at you, books about D-Day on Omaha Beach!!).

By Marcus Cowper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Words of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using the Imperial War Museum's vast archive of personal diaries, this remarkable anthology examines the stories of ordinary men and women who fought, and in some cases died, on the front line and home front during the Second World War. "The Words of War" features diverse first-hand accounts from individuals who took part in the key campaigns of the war. In the words of the young officer facing defeat and capture at Dunkirk, the pilot officer losing friends and comrades during the Battle of Britain, the Land Girl dealing with a new life in the countryside, the Royal Naval seaman…


Book cover of The Double-Cross System

Jim Carr Author Of Forget-Me-Nots

From my list on World War II you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the war years and remembered the backouts, ration cards, and the newscasts from the front and worrying about my cousins who were in the middle of it. My cousin Gerald always made sure I had a model airplane kit every Christmas, even though he was fighting in Europe. As a journalist, I was lucky to work with a few war correspondents that covered Dieppe and D-Day and heard what they went through. One of those people was Bill Anderson who died two years ago. I recorded a video interview of him when he was still 97 about his experiences in Canada and Europe

Jim's book list on World War II you can't put down

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

Operation Mincemeat and The Man Who Never Was were just the tip of an elaborate double-cross system by the British during the Second World War. It consisted of an elaborate group of English spies operating at German agents in England and beyond, feeding false information to the Germans and gaining access to the codes and cypher work of the German Secret Service. Their work was responsible for deceiving Hitler and the German army into believing that the D-Day landings would take place at the Pas de Calais. I love just about every book I read about World War II and this was one of the best. You’ll be surprised as I was about how important their activities were.

By J C Masterman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Double-Cross System as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We sell Rare, out-of-print, uncommon, & used BOOKS, PRINTS, MAPS, DOCUMENTS, AND EPHEMERA. We do not sell ebooks, print on demand, or other reproduced materials. Each item you see here is individually described and imaged. We welcome further inquiries.


Book cover of D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

Flint Whitlock Author Of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

From my list on D-Day airborne operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.

Flint's book list on D-Day airborne operations

Flint Whitlock Why did Flint love this book?

Published in time for the 50th anniversary of D-Day (Operation Overlord) in 1994, Ambrose’s 656-page tome covers the broad scope of the massive, history-changing operation, with special attention paid to the parachute and glider operations. The author details the overall planning of the air-and-sea operation—and analyzes why the most carefully planned invasion in history nearly went terribly wrong. This is the ultimate history of the battle that changed the outcome of World War II.

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked D-Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chronicles the events, politics, and personalities of this pivotal day in World War II, shedding light on the strategies of commanders on both sides and the ramifications of the battle.


Book cover of The Sixth of June

Jim Carr Author Of Forget-Me-Nots

From my list on World War II you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up during the war years and remembered the backouts, ration cards, and the newscasts from the front and worrying about my cousins who were in the middle of it. My cousin Gerald always made sure I had a model airplane kit every Christmas, even though he was fighting in Europe. As a journalist, I was lucky to work with a few war correspondents that covered Dieppe and D-Day and heard what they went through. One of those people was Bill Anderson who died two years ago. I recorded a video interview of him when he was still 97 about his experiences in Canada and Europe

Jim's book list on World War II you can't put down

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

Shapiro, a Canadian war correspondent, landed with the troops on the beaches on D-Day and his other experiences rise to the surface in his novel about life during the blitz and the events leading up to D-Day. Shapiro always considered his a historical novel. His descriptions are those of someone who lived the tale. The hero is a U.S. soldier who found himself deeply in love with an English woman. This book came out a few years after the war when the war was fresh in our minds. It was like reliving those wonderful days all over again.

By Lionel Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sixth of June as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sixth of June tells the story of American soldier Brad Parker, who joins the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. When he arrives in London, he meets lonely Valerie Russell, and they fall in love despite their loyalties to wife and future husband. Although they are certain that their love could overcome every obstacle, everything changes after the Normandy Invasion.