D-day Through French Eyes: Normandy 1944

Hardcover | May 21, 2014

byMary Louise Roberts

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“Like big black umbrellas, they rain down on the fields across the way, and then disappear behind the black line of the hedges.” Silent parachutes dotting the night sky—that’s how one woman in Normandy in June of 1944 learned that the D-Day invasion was under way. Though they yearned for liberation, the French in Normandy nonetheless had to steel themselves for war, knowing that their homes and land and fellow citizens would have to bear the brunt of the attack. Already battered by years of Nazi occupation, they knew they had one more trial to undergo even as freedom beckoned.

With D-Day through French Eyes, Mary Louise Roberts turns the usual stories of D-Day around, taking readers across the Channel to view the invasion anew. Roberts builds her history from an impressive range of gripping first-person accounts of the invasion as seen by French citizens throughout the region. A farm family notices that cabbage is missing from their garden—then discovers that the guilty culprits are American paratroopers hiding in the cowshed.    Fishermen rescue pilots from the wreck of their B-17, only to struggle to find clothes big enough to disguise them as civilians. A young man learns how to estimate the altitude of bombers and to determine whether a bomb was whistling overhead or silently headed straight for them.  In small towns across Normandy, civilians hid wounded paratroopers,  often at the risk of their own lives.   When the allied infantry arrived, they guided soldiers to hidden paths and little-known bridges, giving them crucial advantages over the German occupiers. Through story after story, Roberts builds up an unprecedented picture of the face of battle as seen by grateful, if worried, civilians.
 
As she did in her acclaimed account of GIs in postwar France, What Soldiers Do, Roberts here reinvigorates and reinvents a story we thought we knew. The result is a fresh perspective on the heroism, sacrifice, and achievement of D-Day.

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From the Publisher

“Like big black umbrellas, they rain down on the fields across the way, and then disappear behind the black line of the hedges.” Silent parachutes dotting the night sky—that’s how one woman in Normandy in June of 1944 learned that the D-Day invasion was under way. Though they yearned for liberation, the French in Normandy nonetheless h...

Mary Louise Roberts is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in WWII France.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:May 21, 2014Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022613699X

ISBN - 13:9780226136998

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Customer Reviews of D-day Through French Eyes: Normandy 1944

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A valuable perspective A collection of diary entries and memories of the French inhabitants of the villages in the path of the Normandy landings. A rare perpective,showing the high price paid by French civllians and American and German soldiers.
Date published: 2015-01-23

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
 
1: The Night of All Nights
2: The Paras
3: Devastation
4: The First Glimpse
5: Sharing a Battlefield
6: Making Friends
 
Conclusion
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"The author shows great skill in allowing these eyewitnesses to 'speak for themselves,'  vividly evoking their experiences of the tragedy, the brutality, the destruction, the joy, and the fear that the invasion brought. . . . In its treatment of an often neglected aspect of military history, this will be an attractive acquisition for all libraries."