Recenly we received an email from Major Tonie Holt complimenting our site and noting that due to our interest in Normandy, France and the World War II Invasion Beaches, we might might benefit from reading his works on the topic. Well, we ordered a copy of Major and Mrs. Holt’s Normandy Landing Beaches (2006, 5th edition. rerpinted by LEO COOPER, a division of Pen & Sword Books Ltd).
The book is a soft cover and ships with a companion folding map (Major and Mrs. Holt’s Battle Map of the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches) that is highly detailed and an excellent reference to the area’s extensive invasion and battlefield sites.
Major and Mrs. Holt have clearly spent a great deal of time investigating the Normandy Invasion and touring this complex area. Their book is not a description of the strategy behind each and every battle, although the book does provide an excellent historical background to the invasion. Instead, the work is a detailed, comprehensive guide to the battlefields, monuments, markers, cemetaries, and just about any notable person, unit, action or object that was part of the the Normady Invasion.
Although we had toured Normandy previously, we found new places to visit and a renewed interest in touring the area again as a result of reading this guide. The Holt’s book is a masterful, though sometimes dry, accounting of what there is to see, where the sites are located, how to get there and why you might be interested in visiting a particular destination. The book is lavisly illustrated with photographs and detailed maps showing the locations of battles, the units involved and additional information that will help you understand the complexity and boldness of the Allied Invasion.
If you plan on touring the Normandy Beaches, you should consider reading this book to plan your trip. Be sure to take it with you when you travel, as it will be your most useful field resource. In addition, you will find the included map to be of great value in understanding the Normandy Invasion. It shows the locations of battlefields, the position of the forces at the end of June 6, where they had planned to be at the end of the first day of the invasion, the memorials, monuments, bunkers/blockhouses, cemeteries and more, all overlaid on a detailed road map of the area.
At first, you might find the book a bit slow, but as you continue to read, you will come to appreciate the detail and the mix of contributions from soldiers who were on the ground at these epic battlefields. We plan on carrying our Holt’s Guide to Normandy on our next trip to the area.
The current edition of the book can be ordered from its distributor in the UK, although the shipping expense can be significant, depending on your location. However, you can request a signed copy for free and you will receive your choice of a free, second battlefield map from the Holt’s collection of Battlefield Maps.
The Holt’s book on the Normandy Invasion (as well as other battlefield studies) is available from Amazon, although the edition they are currently advertising does not appear to be the most current. Note, Amazon also indicates that there will be a new Holt’s Pocket Battlefield Guide to Normandy published later this year and you might choose to wait for that if you prefer to tote smaller books. Click on Maj and Mrs. Holt’s /Normandy to order from Amazon or to see other reviewers’ thoughts on this book.
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