Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France

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$38.95  $36.22
US Naval Institute Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.4 X 1.4 inches | 1.6 pounds

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About the Author
After twenty years of enlisted and commissioned service in the US Army, Stephen A. Bourque obtained his PhD at Georgia State University and taught history at several military and civilian schools and universities, including the School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, where he is professor emeritus.
"The sacrifices of the D-Day Operation overlord, whose 75th anniversary will be celebrated on Thursday, saw 60,000 French perished under allied bombs. Written by a specialist in military history, this book brings back the shadows of this terrible episode." --Histoire 2018 Military Times Choice for Summer Reading Guide "Passionate from start to finish, Bourque details the merciless flattening of the ancient cities of Rouen, Caen, Le Havre, Saint-Lo, and Boulogne-Sur-Mar for the sake of a ruse to keep the Nazis guessing. He questions the rationale of orders from on high to deliberately miss military targets, a decision that cost thousands of innocent lives. Despite remarkable diligence, most of the answers remain as buried as those lost beneath the rubble... 4 out of 5 stars." --San Francisco Book Review "[W]arfare is a human activity which has an infinite number of possibilities and which tends to follow unpredictable models at least as often as it does predictable ones. Beyond the Beach provides a classic example of the importance of human agency on the conduct of warfare and how those of us who wish to achieve certain effects are often blind to the actual results of our operations.... [It] is a very informative work which raises many questions that are relevant today. This book is recommended for air enthusiasts and joint force commanders alike." --Australian Naval Institute "Beyond the Beach is very well written, expertly researched and, while written with passion, is well balanced. It challenges histories of D-Day that ignore the bombing campaigns - campaigns which contributed directly to the success of the landings and subsequent breakout of forces into France; and it confronts the reader, documenting the terrible casualties and immense damage wrought upon the French population by the bombing. The book is well-suited for students of the application of air power." --United Service "Beyond the Beach offers a haunting yet important narrative which will greatly interest readers of military history in general and World War II in particular. A great deal of controversy remains to this day concerning the air war over France, for just as Allied air operations took the lives of many French innocents, they significantly aided the American, British, and Canadian soldiers who would later land on the beaches of Normandy in the summer of 1944. Bourque ultimately concludes that there is no easy or incontrovertible way to remember the Allied air war over France--or any chapter of World War II, for that matter. For even history's most noble and necessary war was filled with the horror of blood, brutality, and butchery that reminds audiences old and new that no war is ever anything other than a tragedy." --H-War? "Stephen Alan Bourque makes an important contribution to the growing body of scholarship giving voice to what he calls the 'missing narrative' of French civilians (and other friendly populations) as victims of Allied bombing throughout the Second World War." --French Studies "This book ... is an excellent initiative. By putting the issue of civilian casualties caused by the British and American aerial bombardments first, allows us to reopen a debate that was largely ignored since the 1950s." --Les Crises "The euphoria generated by the successful landings in Normandy, and the subsequent breakout from the beachheads, has largely glossed over the consequences and collateral damage in France. The author has provided a worthy evaluation of the costs, with the short term and long term effects - Most Highly Recommended." --FIRE Project "As a scholarly source, Beyond the Beach is highly commendable.... Organizationally, the structure of the book is clear.... This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of the aerial bombing campaign over France in the months and weeks leading up to D-Day. Also, it exposes some hard questions involving the nature and principles of war itself, many of which have no easy answer." --Strategic Studies Quarterly "With little to no knowledge or publicity of these events, with the exception of the French themselves, one gets the impression of a successful air campaign surgically destroying intended targets in support of Overlord. Yet this was obviously not the case. This is a story that needed to be told, so that the victims can be remembered long after their death." --The Journal of America's Military Past Award Winner: 2020 Literary Prize of the Aeroclub de France "This book is a major, well-written addition to the field and contains a wealth of resources for further analysis. Bourque's Beyond the Beach is a painful reminder of the human costs of war and the importance of ongoing research. It is essential reading for every airpower or World War II historian and will also appeal to the casual reader on the war, or anyone intending to visit France and explore the wide variety of memorials. Beyond the Beach adds substantially to the Overlord narrative, the history of World War II, and the history of airpower in general." --History: Reviews of New Books? "Beyond the Beach is an essential addition to our understanding of the battle for France, these deaths, generally glossed over as 'collateral damage, ' profoundly shaped the French attitudes towards and understanding of the war." --The Strategy Bridge "Readers interested in the challenges of coordinating different Allied forces, including both ground and air forces, will be intrigued by Stephen Alan Bourque's Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France, which Naval Institute Press has labeled 'an important rethinking of the Normandy war narrative.'" --Publishers Weekly "This is an important book and essential reading for those wishing to understand France today, and more specifically the actions of General de Gaulle." --The NAVY Magazine "The book is comprehensively footnoted, with a thorough bibliography. Carefully chosen photos of damaged or destroyed towns, rail centers, and bridges accompany the text. Detailed appendices of the sheer number of targets--factories, rail centers, and bridges--buttress Bourque's addition to the narrative: with all factors weighed in, the cumulative effects of Allied bombing, whether collateral damage or deliberate targeting, constituted an unprecedented war on an occupied, allied country. Bourque intends this volume to become a standard reference. It should be on the shelf of all scholars and readers who make a serious study of the impact of airpower in World War II." --Air Power History "Bourque presents a well-balanced, thorough summation on the effectiveness of aerial bombardment. His emphasis on the neglected subject of French civilian casualties and collateral damage is thought-provoking and worthy of further study. As such, Beyond the Beach is a welcome addition to the study of the use of air power in support of ground operations." --On Point: The Journal of Army History? "Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France fills a vital space in the military planner's intellectual kit. This book is highly recommended for scholars of the Second World War, and even more strongly for all who plan and integrate large-scale aerial bombing campaigns." --Canadian Military History? "Beyond the Beach is an excellent book and will expand the reader's knowledge of World War II. Bourque proves his case with research and analysis that challenges previous views and offers many avenues for additional research. For these reasons, [we] highly recommend this book to all readers, especially those interested in World War II, D-Day, and air warfare." --Military Review "In Beyond the Beach, Bourque has given Anglophone readers a superb corrective account of the vastly different perceptions of their French counterparts, who have erected many memorials to the forgotten suffering inflicted by Allied bombers." --Michigan War Studies Review "The throngs of French citizens attending the festivities in Normandy today and in decades past were no doubt genuinely grateful to their liberators, yet that gratitude must surely be tempered with the knowledge of the great cost that came with that liberation. After three-quarters of a century, it is high time that those outside France become just as acquainted with those unpalatable details. Bourque has done a masterful job of laying out that cost in great detail, and I doubt that after reading Beyond the Beach anyone could ever look upon Eisenhower's 'crusade' with the same eyes again." --Hampton Roads Naval Museum "[A] well-conceived and well-researched book.... A book rife with lessons for our generation, Beyond the Beach is one of the most important texts to appear about the war in France in years." --New Books Network? "Beyond The Beach is a courageous and important book, well-written, well-considered, and rightly argues that the events chronicled in the book are an essential part of any true account of the D-Day landings. A genuinely important book, one that deserves the widest possible audience and one that truly deserves a documentary television series to go with it." "With Beyond The Beach, Stephen Bourque drives us beyond the myth of a victory only based on justice and heroism. Through a brilliant and accurate global analysis the author reminds us that under the Allied bombs were not only German targets but real people, real villages, real cities. And the heavy price French civilians have paid to Freedom!"--Paul Le Trevier, French historian, expert in Allied bombing over Normandy "This book contains a sobering revelation: over 60,000 French civilians died as collateral victims of Allied bombing during the liberation of France in 1944. Stephen Bourque's careful, thorough and moving account gives a voice to all involved in this forgotten tragedy: the Allied planners, the airmen, and the unfortunate civilians."--Robert O. Paxton, professor emeritus of history, Columbia University "For decades after World War II the grim story of Allied bombing of friendly populations in Europe has been missing from the narrative of the 'Good War'. Stephen Bourque has rescued from obscurity one of the most damaging of those campaigns, against French towns, railways and ports in support of D-Day. It should make us all rethink the Allies' uncritical claim to hold the moral high ground in the war. This is a disturbing and important book. Operation Overlord will never seem the same after reading it."--Richard Overy, author of The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 "Stephen Bourque's 'Beyond the Beach' is a well-conceived, well-argued, and well-written exploration of the last major neglected corner of the aerial conflict over western Europe. An indispensable book for anyone interested in the air war, it manages at the same time to earn that precious moniker few other works attain: an important book about World War II."--Thomas Alexander Hughes, author of Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II and Admiral Bill Halsey: A Naval Life "Stephen Bourque's exciting new book, Beyond the Beach, fills gaps in the story about the Allied bombing campaign in support of the Normandy invasion and subsequent offensive. Not only does he refute the existing narrative that the Allied bombing effort was wildly successful, but he also adds a new dimension to the story by exploring the bombing's impact on the local civilian populations. In addition to chronicling the destruction to the physical landscape, Bourque also includes personal stories of people whose loved ones and neighbors did not survive the Allies' 'liberation' operation."--Mary Kathryn Barbier, author of D-Day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion, Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University