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Overlord

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  3,652 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
On June 6, 1944, the American and British armies staged the greatest amphibious landing history to being Operation Overlord, the battle for the liberation of Europe. Despite the Allies' absolute command of sea and air and vast firepower, it took ten weeks of fierce fighting for them to overpower the tenacious, superbly skilled German army. Now, forty years later, British w ...more
Paperback, 396 pages
Published May 23rd 1985 by Touchstone (first published June 6th 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 Sean Chick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far this is my favorite book on the subject because Hastings does not favor any side in his analysis. Instead, he points out mistakes made by all sides. The reader comes away with the idea that the Germans were masters of the tactical battlefield, but strategically incompetent.
Rod
Sep 18, 2008 Rod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another outstanding work by Hastings on a WWII campaign, which in this case includes the Normandy invasion through the Breakout, approx. Jan-Aug 1944.

As always the author is extremely detailed. This is particularly valuable when he compares and contrasts opposing weapons (more below). It does become a little wearisome to follow as, it seems, every battalion-level or below action during the campaign is described. But this is only a minor complaint.

Hastings maintains that the German "Army" was sig
...more
Charlie Newfell
Apr 18, 2017 Charlie Newfell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

Short, but detailed history of the famous battle and the aftermath. Hastings goes through the planning succinctly and gets to the landings pretty quickly. Most of the book, and most of the fighting was in the hedgerows in the Battle for Normandy, and this is really the focus of the book.

Highly recommended, with a couple of nits:

Hastings mentions other classics that cover areas more comprehensively, so he spends little time on most difficult landing at Omaha Beach. Pont du Hoc, where the
...more
Professor
Jan 22, 2013 Professor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
Read a lot of this on my January trip, then got bogged down with the second half until the last few weeks or so. I was far more familiar with the initial landings so I found that section to be initially easier to digest. Hastings is a fine writer who makes thinks understandable even for a layman like myself, someone interested but not terribly knowledgable about WWII. I found Hastings perspective to be unique and quite different from the version of the events I grew up with (i.e. Heroic, brillia ...more
R.M.F Brown
Jan 19, 2014 R.M.F Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent overview.

Much has been said about D-Day - miles of column inches, and forests of trees have died to give us a wealth of information on a crucial campaign of WW2.

Subsequently, any new article or work on the subject, will always struggle to offer any new insights. Overlord falls into this category, but as an introductory text for the layman, I can think of none better.

With his usual verve, Hastings presents a well written, concise account. Unlike some of his peers, and the prevalen
...more
David Lowther
Dec 15, 2016 David Lowther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hastings' book complements excellently Antony Beevor's more recent history of the Normandy campaign.
Hastings spends a good deal of time on the hardware of war and there are a number of pen and ink drawings of the large and small weapons used by both sides. Like Beevor he covers the D Day campaign from inception to the Allied break out but, unlike the more recent publication, dwells only fleetingly on the terrible effect of the battles of the Norman non-combatants and the deaths of Allied troops
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Lou
Feb 08, 2014 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max Hasting's account of the first months of the Allies invasion of France is outstanding. At first, I thought the book would be a bashing of the Allies - that's what the liner notes suggested. Wht Hastings does, however, is to dissect the invasion, and the decisions of command in the field during the subsequent months. He examined both the Allied and the Nazi side, and found both to be wanting.
The detail is thorough, and some of the information was corroborated by my 93-year old neighbor, who
...more
S.
Aug 22, 2013 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well written military historian's account of Overlord / battle for normandy. hastings draws upon his personal experience as a military officer to offer a cogent, tightly-written account of one of the most famous attacks in Western history.
Declan
Oct 05, 2014 Declan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
War is a mess, people make mistakes, horrible things happen, the side with the most stuff wins, no matter who has the best weapons, strategy, or soldiers.
Allen Martin
Mar 01, 2017 Allen Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent overview which starts with the preparations leading up to the D Day invasion, and ending the escape of the shattered remnants of the Axis Army 2 months later. The book mixes in details on the various campaigns with chapters about intelligence, weaponry, and so on.
Jim
Jun 01, 2017 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Covering a period of around 3 months after the D-Day landings in brings out in fine detail what the allies (and the Germans) went through during that time. A lot of this isn't pretty but it sure is mind opening and telling. Max Hastings is a gifted writer.
Duncan
Mar 16, 2017 Duncan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heavy going but I suspect that was just me !!
Abhishek
Feb 23, 2015 Abhishek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, wwii
There are few dates in history that resonate as deeply as the 6th of June 1944. Operation Overlord, perhaps more commonly remembered as the Invasion of Normandy, was one of the largest military operations in the history of human conflict; staggering in its complexity and sheer magnitude. And for these reasons it has passed on into legend. Yet stories that become legends have a tendency, over time, to stray from the truth.

Renowned military historian, Max Hastings, set out to separate fact from fi
...more
Kurt
Jun 06, 2013 Kurt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, Max Hastings recounts the events leading up to D-Day, the D-Day invasion, as well as the ensuing battle for Normandy. Hastings evaluates the decisions made by the High Command of both the Allies and the Germans. He provides statistics of engagements in detail. He also personalizes the events that took place in Normandy during the summer of 1944 by including primary sources. Hasting acknowledges the superior numbers of the Allied forces and weapons, ...more
Ryan
Jun 01, 2015 Ryan rated it it was ok
In regards to the information contained in Overlord, this is an excellent source for anyone looking for a concise understanding of the actions that took place leading up to, and during, Operation Overlord. Max Hastings does a great job of combining historical records and first hand accounts to create a flowing read. However, Hasting's use of personal accounts was not enough to overlook just how disorganized the book was. Routinely throughout Hasting's will introduce obscure individuals in order ...more
Steve
Feb 22, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history, war
A good battle book. What distinguishes Hastings’ book from some earlier efforts is his unwavering insistence that the German army was the best army on the field. He doesn’t dismiss the American, British, and Canadian forces, but simply sees them for what they were: conscript armies from western democracies with huge advantages in supplies and air power. This emphasis blunts some of the criticism of Montgomery, and implicitly suggests, pomposity aside, that for the most part Montgomery made the m ...more
Walt
Nov 19, 2013 Walt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In Overlord, Max Hasting gives provides a very good overview of the Normandy campaign from the landings to the closing of the Falaise Gap. He focuses very little of the book on the preparation for D-Day and relatively appropriate treatment to the landings themselves which I appreciated since hey are covered in great detail in other books dedicated solely to those topics. While I know this book is a classic and provides a great history of the campaign I found Hasting's opinions and views (analysi ...more
Accca
Sep 15, 2016 Accca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve
Aug 12, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are alot of books on D Day out there. A LOT!

I should know, I've read quite a few of them. Frankly, there's alot of good books on D Day and the Normandy battles out there as well. And this is one of them. Hastings has clearly risen above the "short" analysis of the Normandy campaign and what went right and wrong for the Allies and the Germans.

In brief. He's not afraid to face some uncomfortable truths, such as the simple fact that the German army was clearly the most well trained, most prof
...more
Greatredwarrior
Aug 14, 2012 Greatredwarrior rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Great overview of the Overlord Campaign. Max Hastings' has such a good style. Realistic, and honest perspectives on characters that are so prone to being stereo-typed. His perspective on Monty is excellent, bringing out his flaws as well as his strengths very accurately. My only complaint with the book isn't really the writing, but rather with the relative lack of maps and the topic.

The maps are good and abundant, but sometimes he would refer to a location and I wouldn't know where it was so I'
...more
Joe
Jun 25, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Max Hastings describes the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.

I find Hastings opinions to be both honest and illuminating. For example that the allied campaign was somewhat deficient both in leadership and the allied manpower and equipment. The German army was the best fighting force of the war. That the allies war in western Europe involved merely a fraction of that deployed in the east. That the allies lacked a suitable tank to match the Germans or a suitable portable anti
...more
Miguel
Aug 26, 2013 Miguel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O livro é uma optima descrição da batalha da Normandia, no estilo habitual de Max Hastings, conseguindo um optimo equilibrio entre a descrição das batalhas ao nível do soldado, com numeras historias de soldados tanto do lado aliado como alemão, com a descrição global das batalhas. O que faz falta sao mapas para ajudar o leitor a orientar-se.
Infelizmente, e uma vez mais, a tradução portuguesa é má! Digo uma vez mais pois já estou habituado a péssimas traduçoes portuguesas de livros de história mi
...more
Robert Hepple
Nov 29, 2015 Robert Hepple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely readable account of the events on and after D-Day. Hastings resists the approach followed by other historians on this topic and avoids getting sucked into long sections on well-known emotive events that had little bearing on the outcome of the battle. This means that the airborne forces get barely a mention, Wittman's demise gets a paragraph, and the Americans hardly get mentioned at all between Omaha beach and Operation Cobra. This means that most of the space in between is devoted ...more
Andy Bennett
May 22, 2010 Andy Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in WWII history
Another excellent book from Max Hastings. He spares no punches in detailing the weaknesses of the allied armies, and how they still succeeded in spite of them. Issues he addresses include command, the willingness to take casualties to achieve objectives, and training and preparation of the individual soldier. In particular, he details the inability to of the allied armies to "go for the kill", even when they had the advantage. However, he also details how we succeeded and the strengths of the al ...more
Nathan
Apr 06, 2010 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All the raw material is in place for an illuminating study of D-Day. Hastings has assembled an interesting and impressive body of knowledge, much of which I was not privy to. For instance, he includes an analysis of the aerial situation prior to and during D-Day, and goes over specific weapon types used by both sides.
This detail feels oddly misplaced, however, because the broader narrative is so vague and confusing. Told in a stiff, starchy style, the story of D-Day itself is nearly lost among
...more
John
Jan 25, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW2 enthusiasts
A very well researched book that is full of detail and opinion. Max Hastings, as usual, tries to be thorough, and succeeds.

He does, however, have the tendency to be very dry and could lose those with only a passing interest to the subject.
It is an excellent reference book, but many of the veteran comments come second hand. Indeed, I shall be taking this with me on my Remeberance Weekend visit in November.

It's a story we all know, so I suppose it's difficult for Hastings to do much with the mate
...more
Pierre Lauzon
Jun 01, 2016 Pierre Lauzon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overlord is the third Max Hastings book I have read and they all have been uniformly excellent.

While most history has focused on the D-Day landings in France, Hastings’ book looks at the three months following the landings (June, July, and August) – the battle for Normandy and the countryside. The German defense was superb, and they had advantages because they knew the countryside and had superior weapons qualitatively.

The author discusses the superiority of the allies in quantities of weapons a
...more
David
Oct 08, 2009 David rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic account of the invasion of Normandy that, unlike some other accounts, does not skimp on the contributions of the Allied forces and includes first-person commentary from the German side.

I find a lot of high-level WWII books to be heavy on the strategy, filled with lots of bewildering maps of infantry and tank movements. Hastings' account made me consider angles of the battle (hedges, tank technology, high level strategy and politics) that I hadn't quite grasped before. He leav
...more
Dimitri
Hastings has a unique talent for testimonials with the battle history. Literally. Whereas LynnMacDonald & Peter Hart merely insert eyewitness accounts into the battle history (which tends to frame the eyewitness accounts rather than the other way around), Hastings gives a technical fact about Panzers followed by two sentences from a contemporary, without interrupting the flow. As a result, his OVERLORD can hold his own as a study of strategy & tactis in the Normandy campaign, enlivened b ...more
Holly
Sep 29, 2016 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, history
This book is so dense--there's so much information and so much attention to chronicling the complicated events of the first ten to twelve weeks after D-Day. At some point in a paragraph detailing as faithfully as possible what had happened, my eyes would glaze over, but I always perked up with there was analysis or more of an overview. Admittedly, that might be a problem more with me than Hastings' work--it's certainly not enough of a flaw in the book that I would fail to recommend it to anyone ...more
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Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, FRSL, FRHistS is a British journalist, editor, historian and author. His parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent, and Anne Scott-James, sometime editor of Harper's Bazaar.

Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year.After leaving Oxford University, Max Hastings became a foreign c
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