D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944 by Rick Atkinson. Holt, 2014. 202 pages.
On the 1,720th day of World War II (May 5, 1944), a starry host of allied commanders including a future president and a present king gathered to plan for a massive invasion of Europe and a re-conquest of land held by Nazi Germany. The greatest land operation in history is a complex, heroic, gut-wrenching tale, told for young readers about as well as it can be. Adapted from the author’s book for adults (The Guns at Last Light), the vocabulary could have been simplified a little more, and preteens and teens will not get some of the cultural allusions. But the language is often strikingly visual: Down the ten channels [the landing vessels] plunged, two designated for each of the five forces steaming toward five beaches code-named Utah, Omah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Wakes braided and rebraided. The amber orb of a full moon rose through a thinning overcast off the port bow.
The appendices are outstanding—an expanded list of Allied and Axis countries with political and military leaders, a timeline of the entire war, detailed maps, casualty numbers, top five bombers, top five tanks, top ten battleships, weapons, army gear, contents of MRE’s, and on and on. WWII enthusiasts will devour it, and those not so enthusiastic will still find something of interest.
Cautions: Language (two instances of quoted profanity); Violence (necessary but not overly graphic)
Overall Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: n/a
- Informational value: 4
Categories: Nonfiction, History, Middle Grades, Young Adults