The best books on the Normandy landings

4 authors have picked their favorite books about the Normandy landings and why they recommend each book. Soon, you will be able to filter this list by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books.

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Book cover of Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

By Ben Macintyre,

Why this book?

I could have picked any of Ben Macintyre’s books. He writes history as yarn, which is what I tried to do in Agent Jack. That definitely doesn’t mean making things up, but it means trying to tell the tale in a way that will keep the reader on board. British intelligence’s Double Cross operation – playing German spies back against their masters – was huge, but Macintyre keeps it at a manageable size by focusing on a few key agents. There’s a real skill too, in writing a book where everyone knows the ending but that still keeps the reader…

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Book cover of No Right To Win: A Continuing Dialogue with Veterans of the Battle of Midway

No Right To Win: A Continuing Dialogue with Veterans of the Battle of Midway

By Ronald Russell,

Why this book?

Russell, moderator of the Battle of Midway Internet Round Table, goes further than Moore in that his interviews with the participants of the battle delve deeper into the Midway narrative and decision matrix. Up there alongside Parshall and Tully as the top experts on Midway, Russell through his first-hand accounts of Midway survivors – and their human perceptions - explores the controversies of Midway, such as the “Flight to Nowhere” and “eyewitness” testimony proved false by realities of geography and photographic evidence. No Right to Win is highly recommended for advanced students of the battle and is recommended for those…

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Book cover of Call of Duty: My Life Before, During, and After the Band of Brothers

Call of Duty: My Life Before, During, and After the Band of Brothers

By Marcus Brotherton, Lynn Compton,

Why this book?

Buck Compton led an extraordinary life. Not only was he one of the heroes of the storied "Band of Brothers,” in which he fought in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, and the frozen hell of Bastogne, but he had been a remarkable athlete before the war (baseball and football at UCLA). After the war he went into law and became a prosecutor in California and helped convict Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. An excellent, fully realized autobiography.

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Book cover of History of the 745th Tank Battalion

History of the 745th Tank Battalion

By Philip Sherman Mygatt, Olin Garner Johnston,

Why this book?

This is a reprint of the personal diary of Olin Johnston and is a complete history of the battalion from its formation in Texas, through its landing on D-Day and almost every subsequent battle in Europe after it landed supporting the 1st Cavalry Division. It contains many photographs of the battalion including photographs taken during their many battles across Europe. Since I reprinted this book with the author’s son’s permission, I have spoken to several surviving members of the battalion and their personal stories would make another captivating book. 

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Book cover of The Girls from the Beach

The Girls from the Beach

By Andie Newton,

Why this book?

Andie Newton writes historical fiction with strong female leads, set during World War II. In The Girls from the Beach, Kit, an American nurse, is sent behind enemy lines to infiltrate the Reich and steal something critical to the outcome of the war. It’s a gripping, edge-of-your-seat story that’s guaranteed to have you bawling by the end.  

Obviously, I’d need a time machine to have dinner with Kit as a young woman, but she could still be around today, recounting heroic tales from that awful time. Kit is super brave and she’s persevered through unimaginable circumstances. Even if she…

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Book cover of Lee Miller's War: Beyond D-Day

Lee Miller's War: Beyond D-Day

By Antony Penrose (editor),

Why this book?

In an alternate universe, I am a fearless combat photographer like Margaret Bourke-White, Dickey Chapelle, or Lee Miller. This book of Miller’s work in particular I find so interesting because it covers so many aspects of life during wartime and its immediate aftermath—ordinary civilians, soldiers on the front lines, prisoners of war, and, most powerfully, victims of concentration camps. Before the war, Miller was a model and apprentice of Man Ray and shot for Vogue magazine. Her photos convey a strong artistic eye even in their vivid realness. Miller herself was of course always pushing boundaries. She was living in…

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

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

By Charles Cromwell Martin,

Why 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…

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Book cover of Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

By Gerald M. Devlin, William P. Yarborough,

Why this book?

This large (718 pages) book covers the entire history of U.S. military parachute and glider operations—from the early evolution of the concept through landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, Leyte, Manila, and Corregidor. Anyone wanting to appreciate the myriad American parachute and glider operations will find a wealth of information in Devlin’s book.

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Book cover of Crosses in the Wind: Graves Registration Service in the Second World War

Crosses in the Wind: Graves Registration Service in the Second World War

By Joseph James Shomon,

Why this book?

An important piece of history, especially since I have a young uncle, buried at an American cemetery in France, whose remains went through a very detailed Graves Registration process from southern Austria to a temporary cemetery in eastern France, before being permanently buried there.

I was interested in the technical training the unit underwent in Colorado before deploying to England. And the great care they took to make sure that identifications were certain and that personal items were protected to send home to loved ones.

This book was published before most of the overseas American cemeteries were officially open. It…

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Book cover of The Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand

By Munro Leaf, Robert Lawson (illustrator),

Why this book?

With today’s societal divisions in science, politics, and economics, this beautiful book about the passive resistance by a bull, Ferdinand, is a must for everyone to read, not just kids. Although it was written in 1936 and begins with an outdated introduction, “Once upon a time…”, it’s basically perfect. The reader instantly grows to love Ferdinand as a young bull as he sits quietly and smells the flowers under a cork tree with absolutely no interest in the aggressive activity of the other little bulls who are butting heads. With the help of lines like, “and you know who…

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