Remembering the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, June 6, 1944, Falvey Memorial Library Staff shared their recommended reading on the battle and World War II.
Geoff Scholl: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn
Dave Burke: Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor; Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Michael Foight: Manzanar by Peter Wright, photography by Ansel Adams
Sarah Wingo: City of Thieves by David Benioff
Linda Hauck: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marianne Watson: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Darren Poley: The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by David Dalin
The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, Day by Elie Wiesel
On Trial at Nuremberg by Airey Neave
Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific by Robert Leckie
Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward Beach
The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM by Gereon Goldmann
The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted W. Lawson and Robert Considine
Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange, Donald Goldstein, and Katherine Dillon
Miracle at Midway by Gordon Prange, Donald Goldstein, and Katherine Dillon
Mister Roberts: Play in Two Acts by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: A Drama In Two Acts by Herman Wouk
Joanne Quinn: Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin by Leon Uris
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
Shawn Proctor: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Marc Gallicchio, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of History, who was named a winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for his book Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945, recommended American films that deal with aspects of war not normally captured on film. Below he shares his D-Day film recommendations:
The Longest Day (1962) “Offers the most comprehensive multi-national look at the different operations and services involved in bringing off the invasion. The Germans receive even-handed treatment and the scene of thousands of GIs moving ahead on Omaha beach outdoes in power similar scenes from Saving Private Ryan.
“Five directors worked on the film and they employed a star-studded international cast. The movie follows the story presented in Cornelius Ryan’s book of the same name. (Ryan also wrote A Bridge Too Far, which became a very good movie but which gave us one of the most vapid and overused clichés in the English language.)”
Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) “Best remembered for its first thirty minutes in which viewers find themselves suddenly thrust into the terrifying experience of the GIs on Omaha Beach.
“The remainder of the movie unfolds like an extended episode of the 1960s television show Combat, except that the guest stars aren’t the only ones who get killed.”
Sam Fuller’s memoir/movie, The Big Red One (1980) “Has a brief segment on D-Day. The film shows how Fuller’s unit got to Normandy by way of North Africa and Italy and follows it through the campaign in France and into Germany to the end of the war.
“Although the violence does not come close to reaching the Tarantino levels of Saving Private Ryan, The Big Red One is more disturbing and thought provoking than Spielberg’s blockbuster.”
The dark comedy/farce The Americanization of Emily (1964) “Hollywood’s most subversive movie, takes place in England during the build-up for the invasion but concludes with a memorable scene on Omaha Beach.”
Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.