The Essential Reference Guide
by Spencer C. Tucker, Editor
November 2017, 280pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4974-9
$108, £84, 94€, A148
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4975-6
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The Normandy landings on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, involved 160,000 troops, 13,000 aircraft, and 5,000 ships along a 50-mile-long stretch of beach front in the largest amphibious invasion in history.

This outstanding overview of D-Day makes clear its great importance in military and world history, identifies mistakes committed on both sides, and explains all aspects of the 1944 Allied invasion of France and the Normandy Campaign that followed.

The beach landings at Normandy, France, in June of 1944 were of critical importance in the outcome of World War II, and as a consequence, served to determine the economic and political state of the modern world as we know it. This latest reference book edited by esteemed historian Spencer C. Tucker supplies easy-to-understand overview entries on the Normandy Invasion (“Operation OVERLORD”) and the European Theater in World War II as well as entries treating specific topics such as key individuals, technical innovations, weapons systems, command structures, terrain and logistical difficulties, and the role played by weather.

Readers will come to understand why the eventual success of the Allied forces in the D-Day operations was so hard-fought and came at a tremendous cost of life. The book addresses the immense difficulty of supplying tens of thousands of soldiers—many of them inexperienced in combat—and countless tons of equipment and vehicles to the invasion force from over the beaches, after most of the teams landed in the wrong locations, and when many command structures were wiped out almost immediately upon landing; and it explains how these factors impacted the combat on the ground and resulted in the Allied forces’ careful planning going awry. The book also describes the elaborate deception carried out by the Allies regarding the invasion landing site and how these efforts impacted battle developments, and it presents nine primary documents that treat various aspects of the battle, including the lengthy Allied plan for the invasion and primary sources of directives regarding the battle and technical innovations.


  • Emphasizes the monumental significance of D-Day but also stresses the extent of the operation, the mistakes committed on both sides, and why it and the Normandy Campaign that followed were ultimately successful
  • Provides information that is accessible to high school and undergraduate students and will interest general readers interested in World War II history
  • Includes 9 key primary source documents, four appendices, a bibliography of books on the subject, and a timeline of critical events
Spencer C. Tucker retired in 2003 after 36 years of university teaching, the last six as holder of the John Biggs Chair in Military History at the Virginia Military Institute. He is currently Senior Fellow in Military History for ABC-CLIO Publishing. He has written or edited 62 books or encyclopedias treating military and naval history, a number of which have won important awards. Among his work is the five-volume set World War II: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection.


"Dr. Tucker, the master encyclopedist, has provided the reader with a simple, but useful reference guide to all things D-Day. A list of signed entries that covers over two hundred pages along with numerous primary and secondary documents, a bibliography, maps, a chronology, and several pieces that place this event into context with events prior to and after D-Day make this a useful guide to the novice and to the scholar alike."—ARBA, January 24, 2018

"Articles are written in an easily understandable manner and include sources for further reading. Students who are interested in D-Day for personal interest or for research assignments will want to turn to this resource. High school librarians will definitely want to consider adding this book to their collections. Highly Recommended."—School Library Connection, May 1, 2018
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