Nothing Less Than Victory

This skillfully edited book commemorates those who were personally involved in the planning and implementation of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 1, 1994. The selections, which are drawn from diaries, interviews, official documents, and letters, combine the human insight inherent in personal accounts with details of strategic military plans to form a comprehensive view of D-Day that can be appreciated by both the specialist and the general reader.

Every vignette is prefaced by the name, age, and assignment of the speaker. Such introductions draw the reader into an intimate relationship with each subject so that the immediacy of these recollections and the emotions they stir for the subjects are transmitted to the reader, in whose imagination D-Day is reenacted with all its original glory, horror, humor, exhaustion, fear, numbness, and relief. The reader will be awed by the colossal human machine that grew in strength and purpose until it finally clawed its way onto the beaches of France and moved westward to its final triumph.

Readers interested in military strategy will learn about the Allied troops’ preparations and deployment and the unpreparedness and disbelief exhibited by the defending soldiers and their leaders who, although they expected such an invasion, were nevertheless taken by surprise. The book conveys the irony that victories are won on the basis of an extremely complicated and fragile formula that equates human lives with trucks and ships and planes and that factors weather with stamina, patriotism, and fear.

Miller goes far beyond his modest goal of trying to document what it felt like to be at Normandy. His mastery allows readers the vicarious experience of participating themselves in this awesome military achievement.