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Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris June 6th-August 5th, 1944

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  2,400 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
On D-Day, 1944, the armies of six nations converged on the beaches of France and began the final dramatic chapter of WW II.

The Americans, British, Canadians, Poles, Free French and Germans each had specific goals. Politics shaped many military considerations; where one began and the other ended was often unclear.

"The analysis of this historic action is carried out on many

Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 6th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1982)
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Nov 23, 2015 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-ww-ii
Read several years ago, he knew the bit he wanted to relate, the only thing really remembered, vividly. After a few minutes it was found.

memories of a nightmare

“At 0500”, wrote a [British] Grenadier waiting across the Orne, “a distant thunder in the air brought all the sleepy-eyed tank crews out of their blankets. A thousand Lancasters were flying in from the sea in groups of three or four at 3000 feet”.

times 300?

“The Germans’ anti-aircraft batteries were under devastating attack from the co
Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6 - Aug. 5, 1944; Revised ranks between 3 and 4 Stars, an interesting collection of vignettes highlighting the experiences of the British, American, Canadian, Polish, German and French forces in and around Normandy from Jun 6, 1944 to the liberation of Paris at the end of August. This book, written for the 40th and revised for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, isn’t a chronological recap of the battle. Rather, it jumps from the Ame ...more
Sherwood Smith
Oct 18, 2008 Sherwood Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the dawn of time in western civilization, at least, the media best sellers have been sex, violence, and religion. In ancient times our Anglo-Saxon ancestors mixed their genealogical recounts with battle-bragging; at Agincourt and Crecy heralds of both sides stood with one another at the best vantage-point in order to watch the battle, with the mutual desire of get the details right for posterity. The earliest prints mass produced depicted Biblical scenes, wars, and and porn.

While I've been
Apr 06, 2013 Dj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In general I am not a big fan of Keegan. It isn't that his stuff is bad, just that it doesn't usually lie in the direction of what it is that I want to read, or that when I do read his books they don't leap out with information that hasn't been presented elsewhere equally well. There are exceptions of course such as the Mask of Command. This book falls into the exception category.

It doesn't follow the Landings on the Normandy beaches in the normal fashion and moves off the beaches still followi
Jul 03, 2013 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know John Keegan by reputation, and I had high hopes for this book. It certainly isn’t a bad read, but I wouldn’t say it is a good one either. Keegan follows the six countries with armies in France at D-Day: The Americans, British, Canadian, German, Polish and French. He shows a part of the invasion of Normandy in relation to each, the landing of the Americans, or the liberation of Paris by the French, and essentially provides small vignettes of dozens of small encounters, troop movements and ...more
Sep 15, 2009 Coldsoup753 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I was preparing to go on a trip to visit the D-Day beaches and my knowledge of the invasion was embarrassingly scant. I had only what I remembered from high school history (next to nothing) and what I gathered from watching Band of Brothers all the way through at least seven times (more than I realized). What drew me to this book was its length, I was going to be backpacking and couldn't afford the weight of most surveys of the subject, and its perspective. I wanted ...more
John Nevola
Sep 10, 2012 John Nevola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Keegan's reputation needs no embellishment from me. He is a first-rate military historian of the highest order. Six Armies in Normandy simply pads his resume.

Keegan takes a somewhat different slant on telling the story of Normandy. He takes the battle beyond the D-Day invasion right through the breakout and the Liberation of Paris. He also does not deal with the events chronologically but rather from the differing viewpoints of the six nationalities represented in the fighting. For this rea
May 27, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the approach that spread the story around the six armies (American, Canadian, British, German, Polish, and French), allowing the chronology to jump a bit. That was fine, and I also liked how it went beyond Normandy & Overlord, bringing in Goodwood, Cobra, and even more-than-an-epilogue-but-not-too-much about the end of the war from the westwall to the very end. Likewise the appropriate sprinkling in of eastern front information.

I didn't realize (but should've) that tanks required rai
Jan 19, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interested in the geopolitical history of the 20th-century
Gives an enlightening view of the many experiences and contributions of the several nations involved in the effort to re-take Western Europe from the Germans.

A misconception-cleansing read for those of us who've been taught the oversimplified story that the Americans single-handedly liberated Europe.
David Roberts
Apr 22, 2014 David Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I read to research this post was Six Armies In Normandy by John Keegan which is an excellent book which I bought on kindle. This book is about the D-day landings in Normandy in World War 2 which ultimately were a key factor in ending it. The six armies refers to the Canadian, American & British forces who landed their and comprised 6 divisions and of course were complemented by various groups like the Free French & the Poles who had their countries invaded but fought on regardle ...more
Alan Mills
May 30, 2014 Alan Mills rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I need to start with this book's limitations. It is not a history of World War II. It is not a political or social history. It I s purely a military history, tightly focused on the few weeks between D Day and the arrival of the Allied troops in Paris a couple of months later. Even given this tight focus, it was very strange reading a book about the war, with no mention at all of why we were fighting. Not one word about the Jews. Not one word about concentration camps. Rather, this is military hi ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Roaldeuller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am rereading this in conjunction with the 70th (!) anniversary of the Normandy invasion. A few observations:

The late John Keegan has been criticized for romanticizing war and being too much the eager fan of military conflict. This characterization is probably a fair one, although personally, I would rather read a book by someone enthused by his subject than the alternative. An awful lot of military history - especially operational accounts - can be dry and tedious in the extreme. Keegan, with
Skuli Saeland
Dec 27, 2012 Skuli Saeland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
John Keegan er orðinn einn af uppáhalds höfundum mínum hvað varðar sögu síðari heimsstyrjaldarinnar. Texti hans er grípandi og lýsandi auk þess sem afburða þekking hans á hernaðarsögu skilar sér vel til skila.
Í "Six Armies in Normandy" segir Keegan frá undirbúningi innrásarinnar í Frakkland þegar Bandamenn réðust gegn þrautreyndum her Þjóðverja. Titill bókarinnar vísar til þess að hann beinir athyglinni að herjum frá sex mismunandi þjóðum sem börðust í þessum átökum: Bandaríkjamönnum, Bretum, Þj
Dec 19, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, a very good read. Before reading this book however, I would highly advise that you already have a basic understanding of the Normandy region and some of the key leaders of the operation. This book was clearly written with the notion in mind that the reader already has some background knowledge of the event. It fails to give really any building blocks, which may make the read a bit difficult to follow along. That being said this book was very enlightening. It provides a glimpse into a va ...more
Oct 14, 2016 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A bizaarely laid out book. There's some good writing in there and some interesting personal anecdotes but as a whole the work is disapointing. Keegan describes the Battle of Normandy from the perspective of 6 different armies in each chapter. The problem is that he looks at only one action for each. For example, the first chapter follows the Airbourne American Divisions and their actions in almost minute detail but with little explanation of the wider conflict and their British Brothers in Arms ...more
R.M.F Brown
Jan 19, 2014 R.M.F Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a stand alone book, Six armies in Normandy is an adequate account of the Normandy campaign. As a complementary piece, to say, Hasting's Overlord, Six Armies becomes an excellent collection of vignettes.

With a verve and a long history of military writing, Keegan has long been a powerhouse of military history. Like a good historian, Keegan presents a view, offers facts to support it, and has this thread running through the entire work. Keegan, acknowledges the strengths of the German army in N
Stan Bebbington
John Keegan has his reputation and lives up to it in this rather unusual look at the early stages of the Normandy landings. Unusual because it is selective in choosing the breakout as the main theme and grafts on to this the liberation of Paris! The latter enables him to include the Free French as one of the participants and to write a deserved thank you to the German commander who disobeyed Hitler's orders to destroy the city. He covers the usual debates over Montgomery and the Americans and in ...more
Cliff Hare
John Keegan's study of Normandy ’44 focuses too much on narrative and anecdotal accounts at the expense of the bigger picture (i.e., what happened and why). While this leaves the reader with an interesting collection of stories, Keegan needed to do more to weave these stories together in a cohesive fashion. To make matters worse, some stories are left out entirely (Omaha Beach is an example) and I can only wonder at the author's reasons for doing so.
I'd recommend this book to anyone already fami
Nov 28, 2007 Edward rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As good of a writer as Keegan is, much of the book consists of mere re-hashings of the work of other historians. The chapter on the US Airborne troops, for example, qoutes so liberally from Stephen Ambrose that one might as well just bite the bullet and read Ambrose's Band of Brothers or D-Day, instead of passages from them, sporadically interrupted by Keegan's commentary. The section on the British troops before Caen, likewise, is unfortunately brief and has little new to add to the body of wor ...more
Mar 20, 2009 William rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-two
"Six Armies in Normandy" tries to highlight the experiences of particular units from the armed forces of the nations which sent large numbers of men into battle in Normandy and Central France in 1944. While Mr. Keegan does not fail in this task, he merely passes a quick hand over the contributions of each of the six nations he chooses to include, leaving the reader with only an impression of the identities and struggles associated with each unit detailed. Mr. Keegan also borrows heavily from oth ...more
May 12, 2013 Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A staggeringly powerful visualization and analysis of one of the most important battles in history.

Keegan is, of course, a total conservative imperialist as well as accomplished scholar and gifted writer. Thankfully, the politics of the invasion are about as simple a case of just war as can be found and his politics don't detract from the work as they do in his volume on the Iraq war.

Anyone who's been captivated by HBO's 'Band of Brothers' should read this book- Keegan's account of the airborne
-Más que sobre el desembarco de Normandía, de Overlord en general y del camino hacia la toma de París en particular.-

Género. Historia.

Lo que nos cuenta. Con un par de recuerdos y reflexiones muy personales del autor como prólogo y conclusión, narración desde el Día D hasta la entrada de la División Leclerc en la capital gala, con una mirada hacia atrás para conocer los antecedentes militares y políticos del difícil parto de Overlord y con la intención de relatar los acontecimientos agrupándolos
Tyler Lees
An excellent history of the Normandy campaign - not just the invasion, but the series of battles the followed, ultimately leading to the liberation of Paris in late August of 1944.

Particularly interesting to me were Keegan's detailing of Montgomery's planning (setting up not only the invasion, but the battle to get inland from the invasion beaches), the bloody fighting the British encountered (taking casualties they could not replace), and the gallant stand of the Polish 1st Armored Division cl
Ted Haussman
Jul 07, 2016 Ted Haussman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome. Not sure what snobbery possessed me not to read Keegan before but this is the best D Day book I've read so far with loads of insight. Never knew the intrigue behind opening the front in Europe but the book leads with that. And I should say it's less a D Day book than one about the achievements of six armies from June 6 to the liberation of Paris on August 25. I knew a lot before but learned a lot more by reading this. Highly recommend it and will be delving into more Keegan books in the ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had listened to this one back in September of 2011, but wasn't certain when I brought it home from the library. So, before I had checked carefully whether I'd listened/read previously, I started listening anyway. I sounded familiar, but I still wasn't sure. Then I found note of the fact that I had listened once before. But at that point I was already so wrapped up in the narrative story that there would have been no way to not finish. Keegan's work seems always scholarly, yet it is told in suc ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Bap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Keegan is one of the best military historians . He sketches two moths from June to October 1944 where armies struggled and the Germans suffered an overwhelming defeat as the Allies opened up a second front with the Normandy invasion. He is not interested solely in the leaders but also in the grunts that did the fighting and dying. He focuses in turn on the Brits, the Scots, the Canadians, the Americans, the Poles, the French and the Germans. That is seven not six but who is counting.
Mar 02, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Touched with Fire I read this book. Why did I read it ? Because Touched with Fire said it was inspired by this book. I gave Touched with Fire 5 stars, it was great. Gave lots of information, compared & contrasted different subjects, wonderful book. Was I ever disappointed with this book. The only reason I give it 3 stars instead of 2 stars is I did get a few nuggets of new info out of it. Basically, meh.....
A pretty good retelling of what happened in the two months or so following the invasion of Normandy -- it uses a kind of vignette approach to touch on the roles of various national formations (US, Britain, Canada, Poland, French, German) that fought. Keegan's style sometimes comes across as a bit overwrought, but it's a generally a good read. IMO, I think Beevor's D-Day is a better starting point, but it's still a good book.
Marc Baldwin
May 24, 2014 Marc Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Keegan is an unbelievable historian who also is gifted with the ability to write a compelling story. I was amazed by the detail about the various units, plans, leaders, individual battles, country perspectives, etc. It's a pretty amazing book and I'm thankful to my friend Tracy Falduti for passing it along to me. It took me a long time to read this book because it is so chocked full of information, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Feb 04, 2016 Oscar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: segunda-guerra
Librazo. Por mucho tiempo mi libro "favorito" Un libro lleno de claridad. Que ilumina notablemente la historia del Dia D, desde su concepcion hasta su planificacion y puesta en marcha.

Arranca desde el campo "doctrinal" cuando los ingleses preferian la opcion de ir por Italia, y los americanos defendian la idea que finalmente termino ganando, la de ir por Francia. Un segundo frente por el canal de la Mancha.
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Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan, OBE, FRSL was a British military historian, lecturer and journalist. He published many works on the nature of combat between the 14th and 21st centuries concerning land, air, maritime and intelligence warfare as well as the psychology of battle.

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