Some ex-military members make excellent historians and some don’t. Carlo D’Este is of the former he is an ex-Lieutenant colonel. His two books that I read are presented well and are insightful evaluating the personalities objectively while analyzing the campaigns, personalities and actions involved. Carlo D’Este was influenced strongly by Martin Blumenson as indicated in this Armchair General article written by D’Este.
In these two books Decision in Normandy and Bitter Victory I found his style a little less of the story telling that Rick Atkinson brings to his narrative. Unlike Atkinson's trilogy, whose first book Army at Dawn that won multiple awards and gripping in its narrative capturing the “human drama of men at war” and ending in the third book – The Guns at Last Light a more dry overwhelming aspect of war, I found in contrast D’Este’s Decision in Normandy published in 1983 does not reflect as much of that human drama but brings out more in his later book Bitter Victory published in 1988.
Decision in Normandy is as the title suggests the invasion of mainland Europe by the allied forces from D-Day through the breakout with all the color of all the personalities involved. A general history unlike Steel Inferno by Reynolds that is more detailed from a day to day aspect.
Bitter Victory the Battle for Sicily, 1943. As the title suggests here bitter victory - as D’Este points out all the ways that lives could have been saved and the campaign won in half the time with all the good and bad decisions by both Patten and Montgomery. In the background we are aware that these were the growing pains of the allies and D’Este brings out how future endeavors were impacted by this campaign – good and bad.
Bitter Victory also has excellent appendices and overall I found Bitter Victory more enjoyable but both books were good reads for me.
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