"It is the young men born into the false prosperity of the 1920s and brought up in the bitter realities of the Depression of the 1930s that this book is about. The literature they read as youngsters was anti-war and cynical, portraying patriots as suckers, slackers and heroes. None of them wanted to be part of another war. They wanted to be throwing baseballs, not handgrenades; shooting .22s at rabbits, not M-1s at other young men. But when the test came, when freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they fought" (from the Prologue). On the basis of 1400 oral histories from the men who were there, this account reveals how the intricate plan for the invasion of France in June 1944 had to be abandoned before the first shot was fired. The true story of D-Day, as Stephen Ambrose relates it, is about the citizen soldiers - junior officers and enlisted men - taking the initiative to act on their own to break through Hitler's Atlantic Wall when they realized that nothing was as they had been told it would be.
Stephen E. Ambrose is the author of numerous books on history including BAND OF BROTHERS and CITIZEN SOLDIERS and definitive biographies on EISENHOWER and NIXON. He is founder of the Eisenhower Centre and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.