D-Day: Minute by Minute
By Jonathon Mayo
Published by Short Books, UK; Dist. By Allen & Unwin
RRP $29.99 in hardcover
I survived D-Day – I did really. I know that’s an odd thing to write, but can you imagine my surprise when I opened D-Day: Minute by Minute and saw these words on the dust jacket – “… or Commando Peter Masters, walking all alone towards a German machine gun shouting, ‘You are totally surrounded! Give yourselves up! – Copying something he’d seen in a war film.” – It’s likely I would have used these words in a childhood game, but never, I hasten to add, on the battlefield.
So what does anybody in their right mind do next? Turn to the back of the book, of course, to find out the fate of their alter ego – I’m pleased to report that Corporal Peter Masters survived the war, became an art student in London and had a highly successful career as a graphic designer in American television and for the federal government. He died, aged 83, of a heart attack while playing tennis. That, in my opinion, is a much better way to go than dying in a war in your 20s.
As you might expect this book concerns itself mostly with the events of Monday 5th June 1944 and Tuesday 6th June 1944 and their aftermath. D-Day is a purely chronological narrative concerned with what people were thinking and doing as D-Day unfolded, rather than the overarching military strategy of the landings.
You find out some interesting titbits is books such as this. For example, the Admiralty, keen for information on potential invasion beaches in Europe, appealed over the BBC for the public to send them pre-war postcards or holiday snaps of France and the Low Countries to allow them to put together a ‘photographic map’ of the coast of Europe. How useful would Google Earth have been!!
The paperback appears to be due in Australia at the end of May – here is link to Angus and Robertson’s listing