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Summary

Almost 75 years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could be driven back into the sea, the invasion would be stalled for years, perhaps forever.

An epic battle that involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles, the desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics - of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defences were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. Their authentic human story - Allied, German, French - has never fully been told.

Giles Milton's bold new history narrates the day's events through the tales of survivors from all sides: the teenage Allied conscript, the crack German defender, the French resistance fighter. From the military architects at Supreme Headquarters to the young schoolboy in the Wehrmacht's bunkers, D-Day: The Soldiers' Story lays bare the absolute terror of those trapped in the frontline of Operation Overlord. It also gives voice to those hitherto unheard - the French butcher's daughter, the Panzer Commander's wife, the chauffeur to the General Staff.

This vast canvas of human bravado reveals 'the longest day' as never before - less as a masterpiece of strategic planning than a day on which thousands of scared young men found themselves staring death in the face. It is drawn in its entirety from the raw, unvarnished experiences of those who were there.

©2018 Giles Milton (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"Compellingly authentic, revelatory and beautifully written. A gripping tour de force." (Damien Lewis) 

What listeners say about D-Day

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Classic Story-Troublesome narration

I am a great fan of Giles Miltons popular histories from Nathaniels Nutmeg (my personal favourite) on to the last (Churchills Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare) . His take on the historic events is good and offers some new personal perspectives along with the more well known features of this immense operation and maintains a good narrative pace following the timeline (Not difficult for this subject!). Unfortunately I have to say the audiobook (shock and horror) is let down by the authors personal narration. With a cast of familiar characters from Ike downwards (Lord "Lov-it", Erwin Rommel, Teddy Roosevelt Jr, Douglas Reeman) my late friend Bill Gray of the Ox and Bucks LI.

Mr Milton stumbles distractingly in reading his own prose and uses two accents for all the characters (Allied and Axis), his own... and the slightly different "Astonished gor blimey geezer" for anyone, of any nationality- not of the officer class, which quickly becomes irritating and which, I am afraid, does the subject a disservice. A more considered, neutral or nuanced intonation; and better produced narration would have vastly improved this presentation.

6 people found this helpful

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Spoiled a bit by the narrator

Didn't think much to the narrator, he tried to be dramatic but ended up just being annoying, would have done better with a proper actor. Apart from that really enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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History it isn’t

Sadly the worst book I have listened too for a very long time. Some of the individual accounts are clearly made up( if not all ).
Rings found in fields... Radio stations naming people on ships.. ( which means German spies actually transmitted details of crew from England.. complete fantasy)
Sadly if you knew nothing of D Day or the Second World War , you might thing it was a Rip roaring tale..
I think Giles needs to maybe just needs to write fiction.. but call it that , and not try and pass it off as fact.
If I could give it less I would.. also narrating a book is an art.. which he sadly lacks.

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shockingly bad

couldn't finish this book it was so bad the authors attempt to put words and thoughts of the soldiers involved was so irritating to listen to not recommended

1 person found this helpful

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A thrilling depiction of D-Day

At times poignant, at times exciting, always engrossing. I’ve enjoyed a number of Giles Milton books but this is probably my favourite. I felt I was part of the action and was able to empathise with many of the characters both allied and German. The whole book was well paced and the exciting narrative did not detract from the many fascinating historical facts. Thoroughly recommended.

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well done

good morning read International background research just like the film. good narrative easily accessible 😀

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Mr Milton needs to realise that less is more.

Mr Milton cannot be faulted for his research, which has unearthed a wealth of material from the personal stories of men and women from all sides, and which brings to life the appalling human cost of D-Day to both victors and vanquished. His writing up of the material doesn't always match up to its quality, however, being inclined to reach too readily for the hackneyed and shopworn phrase, and, occasionally lapsing into the cliches of the novelette. When your story is itself almost beyond belief, dealing in human behaviour in the extreme tensions and fear of close combat, the tone of your writing cannot possibly match these hyperbolic demands, nor should it try to, but Mr Milton does try; and sometimes misses by a mile. That is why the best D-Day histories - Ryan, Hastings, d'Este - are told in a level, cool, even slightly detached tone of voice. which, paradoxically, adds to the horror of the facts. Any teacher will tell you that to get the best attention from a class you need to speak as quietly as possible: shouting at them is asking to be ignored. Mr Milton will write better histories of battle when he learns this.

His reading of the book is dreadful, for similar reasons. It's not Mr Milton's fault that he sounds like Paul Merton, but his over-wrought and shouty delivery is, as are his ludicrous attempts at working class accents. Ironically, his delivery highlights the faults of his book outlined above very accurately, which is a pity. I see that he has written several other war histories, read in Audible by professional actors who are used to making the best of uneven material. I hope someone will persuade Mr Milton to leave any subsequent recordings to these professionals. And it is a horrendously elementary error to read RundstAt for RundstEdt

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Excellent Book

so refreshing to read a WW2 book that includes what the British & Canadians did and realise it wasn't all the American Hollywood mob! excellently written with plenty of detail of British & Canadian operations, with personal accounts and stories. well narrated if a little over emphasis that all Brits speak with a cockney accent. would highly recommend this listen/book

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graphic and informative

it was a very informative and ultimately brutally graphic telling of an oft glamourised event.

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Incredible

I have listened to many WWII books, including ones told by the soldiers however this is the pinnacle of them all. This isn't a book that is simply filled with small stories but one that flows throughout making each chapter relevant to the previous. Highly reccomend this book.