This book covers the entire Normandy campaign, from the pre-invasion planning to the final battles around the Falaise Pocket and the liberation of Paris. The introduction goes all the way back to 1940 to look at why the invasion was needed and the political arguments of the invasion, before moving onto the more detailed planning from 1943.
The main text covers all of the normal topics - the airborne assault, the beach landings, Omaha Beach, the fighting around Caen and in the bocage, the eventual American breakout and the Falaise Pocket. In addition there are a number of chapters on special topics, including Tanks vs 88mm looking at the mismatch between Allied armour and the powerful German anti tank guns, Hobart's Funnies, two comparing commanders and one on Allied air power. These don't disrupt the flow too much, and add plenty of useful information.
I don't agree with the choice of commanders in the two comparative chapters. The first compares Eisenhower and Rommel, but Rommel's direct opponent in Normandy was actually Montgomery, who commanded all Allied ground troops throughout the battle (until 1 September, when Eisenhower took over as Ground Forces Commander, with Montgomery continuing on as commander of 21st Army Group), Eisenhower's direct opponent was von Rundstedt, the German commander in chief in the west, although the two command structures weren't really comparable. The second compares Montgomery and Patton, but again they commanded at different levels during this campaign, with Patton commanding an army and Montgomery an army group - Patton was even under Montgomery's overall command for his first month in Normandy.
The text is covered by a good selection of photographs, but lacks maps. Despite that this is a good overview of the D-Day and Normandy battles, and good value for money.
1 - The Build-up to Battle
2 - The Long-term Planning
3 - Overlord
4 - The Commanders: Eisenhower & Rommel
5 - Pegasus
6 - The Battle Begins
7 - Omaha
8 - The Long Day Closes
9 - Tanks versus 88mm
10 - Villers-Bocage and the Cotentin Peninsula
11 - The Battle for Caen
12 - 'Hobart's Funnies'
13 - Breakout and Counterattack
14 - Patton & Montgomery
15 - The Falaise Gap
16 - Allied Air Power
17 - The Liberation of Paris
18 - The Aftermath of the Battle
Author: Adam Powley
Publisher: Park Lane Books