Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign” as Want to Read:
Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  407 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Field Marshal Montgomery's battleplan for Normandy, following the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, resulted in one of the most controversial campaigns of the Second World War. Carlo D'Este's acclaimed book gives the fullest possible account of the conception and execution of Montgomery's plan, with all its problems and complexities. It brings to light information from diarie ...more
Paperback, 558 pages
Published April 29th 2004 by Penguin (first published 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Decision in Normandy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Decision in Normandy

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 856)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 16, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book seems to be focused on untangling the myths concerning Normandy, and he does spend a great deal of time discussing whether Cobra really was something Montgomery had envisaged from the very beginning, or not. He chooses not, and he makes good use of Nigel Hamilton in that case, among many other good sources. It's nice to see something which was able to integrate Ultra in to the narrative, and review all of the important autobiographies and campaign narratives. I found this book well wort ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
D'Este tackles the ongoing historical battles over the Battle of Normandy, carefully dissecting the claims and counterclaims in a balanced, highly-readable account. While Montgomery forever claimed that operations in Normandy followed his preconceived plan in all respects, D'Este shows that unexpectedly strong German resistance around Caen, the shortage of British infantry replacements, and the difficult bocage country almost derailed the Allied buildup. Rather than sticking to the plan, Montgom ...more
Mark Barnes
Feb 17, 2015 Mark Barnes rated it really liked it
Gives a birds-eye perspective on the Normandy campaign, with an emphasis on Montgomery's leadership. One of the fairest assessments by an American, I think, concluding that Montgomery's strengths were not best suited to a campaign which required rapid readjustment and a high-degree of risk-taking. Readers who like to know what war was like for individual soliders may find the book disappointing, but those more interested in strategy and politics will enjoy it immensely.
Good story solidly told: This book definitely looks at Normandy at the strategic level. From the initial planning through to operation Cobra. And he definitely points out Monty's faults, both what he did/did not do as well as Monty's attempts to rewrite history which makes it much better.

Because it concentrates mostly on the strategic level, it can't be as compelling as one that gets down on the ground. We know what pappened strategicly.

He also concentrates almost wholy on the British sphere o
Buck Ward
Decision in Normandy is an in-depth look at the planning of the D-Day invasion and the battle for Normandy. It concerns itself with the battle planning and execution much more than the battles themselves, and focuses primarily on the role of British General Montgomery, who devised the plan for the ground war. It is a tale of blunders, ego, and infighting.

I heard the audiobook version of Decision in Normandy. It suffered from not having appropriate visuals, maps especially, which presumably are
This really should be called Decision About Montgomery. It is a very detailed look at the decision-making and command process during the entire Normandy campaign with a heavy focus on the British sectors, with Montgomery at the center. Interesting at times, but the focus tends to relegate what actually happened to the back seat, particularly in the western areas.
Feb 22, 2016 Nathan rated it liked it
A narrative of the Normandy campaign from planning through D-Day and then the bocage fighting, with an emphasis on the travails around Caen and a focus on whether Monty was a genius, a fraud or hopeless.

Turns out, according to this, is a little of all three. His plan was good (genius), he refused to admit that it changed midstream, though it obviously did (fraud) and the troops he was most involved in failed in several key operations (hopeless!)

A pretty good book, if you're into this sort of th
Ben Vos
Jan 20, 2014 Ben Vos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In-depth strategic record keeping. Not huge amounts on the process of decision making or tactics at division level even. Few maps:a real let down. However, the immense plethora of first hand sources who have contributed and been mined for information on the changes in Monty's plans for breakout, make this a perennial classic. Out can't be done again.
Ian Divertie
Mar 17, 2015 Ian Divertie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read so many books on Normandy. Read this one its excellent!
Bob Haferl
Mr. D'Este is a very good writer. This topic has been covered by a myriad of other authors, none the less this is worth your time
Andy Bennett
Dec 11, 2013 Andy Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that gives a big picture perspective of the Normandy campaign, particularly the relationships between Montgomery and all the other allied commanders. It particularly reviews how the battle developed, as compared to the plan Montgomery had in place, and Montgomery's unfortunate habit of trying to indicate he planned it that way all along rather than acknowledge he did an excellent job adapting to the situation as it developed, particularly given the constraints the British Army in ...more
Michael Romo
May 30, 2015 Michael Romo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding work by an outstanding historian!
Oct 30, 2012 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So why was this book written? To demonstrate that the original plan for the Battle of Normandy did hold up in all details? That Montgomery was vain? That the Allied generals spent nearly as much time fighting each other as the Germans? That the battle was an enormous blood bath?

-- maybe all of the above. Nonetheless it seems that the author could have benefitted from more clearly stating the objectives from the outset and then used his solid grasp of the sources available to make his point.
Nov 13, 2007 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good account of the planning for Normandy and much of the action afterwards, particularly in the British secotrs. d'Este does spend quite a lot of time hammering Montgomery for not taking Caen and changing his goals after the fact to excuse himself. This thesis (the raison d'etre of the book) can be a bit distracting at times. Still worth a read, though, by all means.
Charlie Newfell
Nov 28, 2014 Charlie Newfell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed and objective view of the aftermath of D-Day. The battle for Normandy was significantly tougher and bloodier than the Longest Day. Detailed troop movements and numerous battles that would have been easier to follow with some good maps or detailed drawings. Most interesting was the lost opportunities and inter-command battles of egos.
Jun 01, 2013 Trent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The low rating has mostly to do with my lesser interest in the military history genre. If you're into military history, you'll probably like this a lot more. And if you're interested in this book, please look for it at your local independent bookseller.
Dec 10, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, non-fiction
Thouroughly researched book focused on the interpersonal disagreements between the leadership elements of the Supreme Alled Command during the Normandy invasion of WWII. An excellent description of the complexities of war in this battle.
Mar 13, 2014 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
Originally read in 1991 or 1992, liked it very much then.

Re-reading it in March 2014, in preparation for a wargame. I had forgotten that it was tightly focused on Montgomery and the British First Army.
Aug 18, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
Great book on the Battle of Normandy. Great details and covered all the main facts. Was very neutral on subjects such as the Falaise pocket. Gave all point of views and let the reader decide.
Linda Jacobs
May 23, 2011 Linda Jacobs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Very well researched and even-handed work on the Allied Plan and Action (and how they differed, despite Montgomery's assertions) during the battle of Normandy, from the pre landing to the aftermath.
Bob Alexander
Pretty good. Don't know I would have bought it if I'd known that its predominately about the Brits' involvement on D-Day and beyond.
Dec 09, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dry, somewhat academic but generally balanced analysis of political and military personalities and the decisions they made in Normandy.
Rich Post
Apr 09, 2016 Rich Post rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I preferred this book to Antony Beevor's D-Day.
David Alger
David Alger rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Jon added it
Jul 24, 2016
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2016
Neil rated it really liked it
Jul 20, 2016
elizabeth eber
elizabeth eber rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2016
Anastasia Antony
Anastasia Antony marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • The Longest Night: The Bombing of London on May 10, 1941
  • The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940
  • Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944
  • The Battle of Kursk
  • Target Tirpitz: X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship
  • A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
  • Panzer Battles: A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War
  • Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible
  • The Struggle for Europe
  • Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk
  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • Why the Allies Won
  • Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6 - Aug. 5, 1944
  • No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945
  • The Fall of Berlin
  • Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle
  • A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War
Carlo D'Este retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1978, having served overseas in Germany, Vietnam, and England. Born in Oakland, California, he received his B.A. from Norwich University and his M.A. from the University of Richmond and an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Norwich in 1992.
More about Carlo D'Este...

Share This Book