D-Day Destinations 

Two books to celebrate the 60th anniversary of D-Day

Two books to celebrate the 60th anniversary of D-Day

The D-Day landings of June 6, 1944, are generally considered to be the turning point in World War II, the moment at which Allied success in Europe became more certain. They were also the culmination of years of planning, multinational cooperation, gritty determination and a fair amount of luck.

The D-Day Atlas: Anatomy of the Normandy Campaign (Thames & Hudson, 176 pp., $34.95) begins four years before D-Day with the German invasion of Dunkirk on June 4, 1940, when the planning for an Allied invasion got under way. Author Charles Messenger discusses the opposing American and British strategies (and those of the Axis), as well as the development of the necessary amphibious vehicles and other factors related to the landings. He then presents an hour-by-hour account of the landings. The standout feature of the book, however, is the inclusion of colorful maps that show both Allied and Axis troop positions and movements. These and the numerous black-and-white photographs make The D-Day Atlas as accessible to the casual reader as it is detailed enough for dedicated buffs.

Former Travelocity executive editor Chuck Thompson's The 25 Best World War II Sites: European Theater (Greenline Publications, 256 pp., $19.95) covers the D-Day sites and other places of interest to the history-loving traveler. The commentary is brief yet insightful, and the book includes a chronology of the war. Each chapter starts with a wartime profile of a city or other destination, followed by descriptions of museums and other sights, each rated according to a star system. If there was a major figure associated with the site—Roosevelt in Washington, D.C., or Churchill in London, for example—that person is discussed as well.

Reading either of these books is an excellent way to learn more about the events that happened 60 years ago—or to plan a trip.

—MiChelle Jones

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