The Human Face of D-Day
Walking the Battlefields of Normandy: Essays, Reflections, and Conversations with Veterans of the Longest Day
288 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 40 photographs plus 3 maps
- April 2023
- In Stock
Ever since Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, the men who survived have sought to return, to honor their dead, and to teach others of what they went through to liberate Europe.
Soldier Keith Nightingale has conducted terrain walks in Normandy for over forty years with veterans, active-duty military, and local French civilians. Over the decades Nightingale conducted dozens of formal interviews and informal conversations with many of the principals of the day, including Generals Bradley, Collins, Gavin, Ridgway and Hill. Added to this rare, new primary material from the top brass are numerous conversations with lower-ranking vets who did the heavy lifting, many of which took place as they actually walked the battlefield with Nightingale—Major Howard of Pegasus Bridge; LTC Otway of Merville Battery; Captain Piper of La Fière Bridge; LTC Vandervoort, CO of the 2-505/82d; Cpt Raeen of the 5th Rangers; Lt Dick Winters of Brécourt Manor; PFC Marcucci of Omaha Beach; and SSG Lem Lomell of Pointe Du Hoc.
This unique approach to D-Day combines the author’s discussions with veteran and civilian participants in D-Day, his personal reflections on Operation Overlord, and the insights that occur—often at the very site of a battle. Interspersed with veterans’ remarks, Nightingale’s personal essays are inspired by specific discussions or multiple interviews. Taken together, the succinct, human observations of these participants illuminate the hard facts to create a unique work of long-lasting interest that will attract specialists, military history buffs, armchair generals, and general readers alike.
Chapter 1: Why Normandy?
Chapter 2: The Airborne Controversy
Chapter 3: The Final Organization
Chapter 4: The Tactical Plan
II. PRE-INVASION PLANNING AND TRAINING
Chapter 5: Eisenhower as Leader
Chapter 6: Pre-assault Training
Chapter 7: The Normandy Landings
Chapter 8. Key Sites, Key Fights
Chapter 9. The Civilian Experience
IV: THE AFTERMATH
Chapter 10. Post-War Reflections
"Keith’s personal essays are inspired by specific discussions or multiple interviews. Taken together, the cogent human observations of these participants who assisted him further expand and illuminate our depth of understanding of what it must have been like to be pinned down under intense fire and must do something heroic to get out of it." ~ARGunners.com
“A stirring, inspirational read! An extraordinary account of the heroics on D-Day, captured by a great writer (and great soldier) who walked the beaches and drop zones of Normandy with the men of that day over more than four decades. Keith Nightingale captures brilliantly—and uniquely—the human face of D-Day, the essence of why those men fought and how they ultimately prevailed in this wonderfully illuminating book.” ~General David Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and NATO/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA
“A truly unique perspective on the Normandy Invasion by a battle-hardened, Army Ranger Leader, Colonel (Retired) Keith Nightingale. Informed by over 40 years of annual visits to Normandy to walk and talk with literally hundreds of veterans of the ‘longest day’—Colonel Nightingale masterfully weaves the personal remembrances of Generals Ridgeway and Gavin and the Captains, Sergeants and Privates who fought on the beaches, roads, and villages of Normandy. The human dimension of this conflict shines through the veterans’ words and emotions and underscores the eternal importance of Normandy.” ~General Curtis Scaparotti, U.S. Army (Ret.), SACEUR and former CG, 82nd Airborne Division