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Today it is almost forgotten that the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 did not bring a single, isolate victory. As this masterly book reminds us, that first foothold on enemy shores was won at enormous cost, and for two months afterwards a fierce battle raged for the control of Caen. Using the personal accounts of those who took part in the fighting, both Allied and German, and of the French civilians caught up in the conflict, McKee brilliantly reconstructs the bitter struggle that ravaged Normandy throughout the summer of 1944 before the Allied position in Europe was finally secured. With fearful losses on both sides, and unspeakable suffering for the French who had to endure constant massive bombardments from the air, the Battle of Caen ranks as one of the most terrible and heroic episodes of the war.

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