As someone who has spent a considerable time walking battlefields around the UK and much further afield, I know only too well the value of good guide books. In the main, the Pen and Sword Battleground series is very good, and this latest publication, Walking D-Day, maintains that high standard.
Walking D-Day is a little larger than most of the books in the series and it covers a lot of ground, both figuratively and geographically. Unlike others which deal exclusively with specific locations relating to the Normandy invasion, such as Pegasus Bridge, Merville Battery and the individual invasion beaches, Paul Reed’s book attempts to guide us across the entire Normandy battlefield. So, as well as detailing walks along the sites mentioned above, including Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches, the book also takes us round locations such as Arromanches and the Mulberry harbour, Pointe du Hoc and Ste-Mère-Eglise.
As is to be expected of a book in this series, it is packed with illustrations and has plenty of maps. Each of the twelve walks is preceded by an historical outline which includes eye-witness accounts from participants of the fighting in that particular area.
The walks explain all that is to be seen relating to D-Day along the route and where refreshments can be obtained on the journey. The directions appear to be comprehensive and clear, allowing each walk to be followed with ease. What is particularly useful is that every change of direction is mark in bold type. When walking along with a guide book in hand it is very helpful to be able to keep on track with just a quick glance at the guide, rather than having to stop to find the relevant place in the text.
The book is completed with an appendix relating to military cemeteries in Normandy.
Walking D-Day certainly appears to be very comprehensive, though I have yet to ‘road test’ it. Be assured that I soon will!
Review courtesy of Britain At War Magazine.