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D-Day 80th Anniversary: Discover More

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D-Day 80th Anniversary: Discover More

dday 80th

D-Day is one of history’s greatest and most unbelievable military and human triumphs. It was the name given to the June 6, 1944, invasion of the beaches at Normandy in northern France by troops from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries during World War II. Though the full campaign lasted just over a month, the surprise landing of over 150,000 Allied troops on the morning of June 6, 1944, is understood to be the moment that turned the tide for the Allied forces and ultimately led to the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II.   Planning for this unprecedented operation began years in advance and its success relied not just on the ground-level participants, but spies, code-breakers, inventors, weathermen, and more.

To honor the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th this year and the thousands who lost their lives that day, we’ve compiled titles, both nonfiction and historical fiction, to help you learn more about this extraordinary event and how it shaped modern history.

Historical Fiction

All the Lights Above Us : A Novel Inspired By the Women of D-Day by M. B. Henry

Across Europe, on what history will call D-Day, five unforgettable women from all walks of life strive to survive the most terrifying night of their lives. Told in alternating viewpoints, this unforgettable debut is perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff. June 6, 1944. Allied forces hit the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Among the countless lives shattered are those of five spirited women with starkly different lives. As the war reaches its tipping point, each of the women fight for the survival of themselves, their countries, and their way of life during one of the most pivotal days in history. 

The Bullet Garden by Stephen Hunter

July, 1944: The lush, rolling hills of Normandy are dotted with a new feature, German snipers. From their vantage points, they pick off hundreds of Allied soldiers every day, bringing the D-Day invasion to its knees. It’s clear that someone is tipping off these snipers with the locations of American GIs, but who? And how? General Eisenhower demands his intelligence service to find the best shot in the Allied military to counter this deadly SS operation. Enter Pacific hero Earl Swagger, assigned this crucial and bloody mission. With crosshairs on his back, Swagger can’t trust anyone as he infiltrates the shadowy corners of London and France for answers.

Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea

After D-Day, two heroic Red Cross women, Irene Woodward and Dorothy Dunford join the Allied soldiers streaming into France where they are embroiled in danger, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Buchenwald, and where Irene learns to trust again through their friendship.

News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail Dewitt

A haunting and intimate examination of love and loss, beauty and the cost of survival, witnessed through two generations of one French family, whose lives are all touched by the tragic events surrounding the D-Day bombings in Normandy.  Over four long years, the Delasalle family has struggled to live in their Nazi occupied village in Normandy. Maman, Oncle Henri, Yvonne, and Françoise silently watched as their Jewish neighbors were arrested or wordlessly disappeared. Now in June 1944, when the sirens wail each day, warning of approaching bombers, the family wonders if rumors of the coming Allied invasion are true—and if they will survive to see their country liberated.

Nonfiction

Chamber Divers : The Untold Story of the D-day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever by Rachel Lance

The previously classified story of the eccentric researchers who invented cutting-edge underwater science to lead the Allies to D-Day victory.  Led by the controversial biologists J. B. S. Haldane and Dr. Helen Spurway, an ingenious team of ragtag scientists worked out of homemade labs during the London Blitz. Beneath a rain of bombs, they pioneered thrilling advances in underwater reconnaissance through tests done on themselves in painful and potentially fatal experiments. Their discoveries led to the safe use of miniature submarines and breathing apparatuses, which ultimately let the Allies take the beaches of Normandy.

D-Day : The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor

It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting.

D-Day Girls : The Untold Story of the Female Spies Who Helped Win World War Two by Sarah Rose

Documents the story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis. Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.

Double Cross : The True Story of the D-day Spies by Bill Macintyre

Traces the sophisticated D-Day operation through which extraordinary spies deceived the Nazis about the location of the Allied attack, profiling the successful Double Cross System and the remarkable individuals who used the program to save thousands of lives.

Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War by Ray Lambert

The unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.

Everything We Have : D-Day, 6.6.44 : The American Story of the Normandy Landings Told Through Personal Accounts, Images and Artifacts from the Collections of The National WWII Museum by Gordon H. Mueller

Mueller tells the personal stories of the people involved in Operation Overlord, in their own words. Using rare documents, artifacts and first-hand accounts from US The National WWII Museum’s official archives, you can gain a rare insight into the thoughts and feelings of those soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy.

The First Wave: the D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II by Alex Kershaw

Beginning in the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows the remarkable men who carried out D-Day’s most perilous missions. The charismatic, unforgettable cast includes the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the British glider pilot who braved antiaircraft fire to crash-land mere yards from the vital Pegasus Bridge; the Canadian brothers who led their troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; as well as a French commando, returning to his native land, who fought to destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach and beyond.

Forgotten : the Untold Story of D-Day’s Black heroes, At Home and At War by Linda Hervieux

Drawing on newly uncovered military records and original interviews with surviving members of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion—a unit of African-American soldiers that has been overlooked by history—and their families, the author tells the story of these heroic men charged with manning armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft on D-Day.

The Longest Day: June 6, 1944. By Cornelius Ryan

The unparalleled, classic work of history that recreates the battle that changed World War II—the Allied invasion of Normandy. Ryan painstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.

Normandy ’44 : D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France, a New History by James Holland

Drawing on widespread archives and on the testimonies of eye-witnesses, author James Holland relates the planning that made Allied victory in France possible. How hundreds of thousands of men, and mountains of materiel, were transported across the English Channel, is as dramatic a human achievement as any battlefield exploit. The brutal landings on the five beaches and subsequent battles across the plains and through the lanes and hedgerows of Normandy–a campaign that, in terms of daily casualties, was worse than any in World War I–come vividly to life in conferences where the strategic decisions of Eisenhower, Rommel, Montgomery, and other commanders were made, and through the memories of paratrooper Lieutenant Dick Winters of Easy Company, British corporal and tanker Reg Spittles, Thunderbolt pilot Archie Maltbie, German ordinance officer Hans Heinze, French resistance leader Robert Leblanc, and many others.

Sand and Steel : The D-Day Invasions and the Liberation of France by Peter Caddick-Adams

This book gives us D-Day, arguably the greatest and most consequential military operation of modern times, beginning with the years of painstaking and costly preparation, through to the pitched battles fought along France’s northern coast, from Omaha Beach to the Falaise and the push east to Strasbourg. The Allied invasion of Europe involved mind-boggling logistics, including orchestrating the largest flotilla of ships ever assembled. Its strategic and psychological demands stretched the Allies to their limits, testing the strengths of the bonds of Anglo-American leadership. Drawing on first-hand battlefield research, fresh personal testimony, and a commanding grasp of all the archives and literature, Caddick-Adams does Operation Overlord full justice. 

Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the USS Plunkett by James Sullivan

Documents the true story of a U.S. Navy destroyer that inspired the writings of John Ford and Herman Wouk, drawing on the journals and other writings of five shipmates who witnessed the Anzio attacks and D-Day invasion.

When the Sea Came Alive: An Oral History of D-Day by Garrett M. Graff

Fascinating, action-packed, and filled with impressive detail, this book explores the full impact of this world-changing event—from the secret creation of landing plans by top government and military officials and organization of troops, to the moment the boat doors opened to reveal the beach where men fought for their lives and the future.

Wings of War : the World War II Fighter Plane That Saved the Allies and the Believers Who Made it Fly by David Fairbank White

The incredible, untold story behind the rise of the P-51 Mustang, the World War II fighter plane that destroyed the Luftwaffe and made D-Day possible.

–Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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