Normandy and the D-Day beaches are one of the most popular destinations for battlefield tourism, with large numbers of visitors going to pay respect to the men who fought there. This walking guide provides twelve walks that cover this area, filling a somewhat surprising gap in the D-Day literature.
The basic format is good. The D-Day battleground is split into twelve areas covering the five beaches, the main commando and ranger raids and the airborne operations. In each case a good historical account of the fighting is first, followed by the walk. This means that the two elements don't interrupt each other. The historical accounts are allowed to stand on their own, without any need to shoehorn them into the shape of the walk, while the walk descriptions can focus on the physical route and what the walkers will see during the walk, without the need to digress off into long background discussions.
This is a slightly difficult book for me to review in that I'm unfamiliar with the area and can't test out the guided walks. I can say that the walks read convincingly, and the sketch maps match other maps I've checked them against, so I can't see any problems with the walks themselves. The historical sections are good, and the walks look to be well designed, covering most significant areas of the battlefield. There are sizable eyewitness quotes and contemporary and modern photographs to support the text, producing a readable and useful guide to the D-Day battlefields.
Area One: Pegasus Bridge Walk: 6th Airborne Division at Bénouville
Area Two: Eastern Flank Walk: The Merville Battery and Amfreville-Bréville
Area Three: Commando Walk: The 1st Special Service Brigade on D-Day
Area Four: SWORD Beach Walk: 3rd Division on D-Day
Area Five: JUNO Beach Walk: Nan Beach - Inland to Tailleville
Area Six: JUNO Beach Walk: Mike Beach - The Fight for Courseulles
Area Seven: GOLD Beach Walk: 50th Division on D-Day
Area Eight: Arromanches Walk: D-Day Liberation and the Mulberry Harbour
Area Nine: OMAHA Beach Walk: 'Bloody Omaha'
Area Ten: Pointe du Hoc Walk: The 2nd Rangers, 6-8 June 1944
Area Eleven: UTAH Beach Walk: The 4th Infantry Division and 101st (Airborne) Divisions on D-Day
Area Twelve: Airborne Walk: Ste-Mère-Eglise-Le Fière 82nd Airborne Actions on D-Day
Appendix: D-Day Cemeteries in Normandy
Author: Paul Reed
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military