As veterans gather to relive one of the turning points of the Second World War, historian James Holland moves beyond the D-Day beaches to reassess the brutal 77-day Battle for Normandy that followed the invasion.
Challenging some of the many myths that have grown up around this vital campaign, Holland argues that we have become too comfortable in our understanding of events, developing shorthand to tell this famous story that does great injustice to those that saw action in France across the summer of 1944.
Including perspectives from those who fought on both sides, Holland examines not only the nature of the fighting and the higher aims of the campaign, but also the operational level - the nuts and bolts - and in so doing reveals the true complexity of this bitter and bloody battle.
This story is about the challenge for both sides to adapt to conditions in a campaign of carnage that has rarely been acknowledged.
More than just well trodden tales of heroic struggle, it is also the story of two competing military doctrines: one ill-prepared for the organisational demands of a long battle, the other in the process of building the greatest military machine ever seen.