Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944
By Ben Kite (Helion & Company 2014, ISBN 978 1 909982 55 0, 467pp, illustrations, colour maps, £29.95)
The story of British and Commonwealth troops in the Normandy campaign is often overshadowed by the American contribution; often due to the way the conflict was written about post-war and in recent years very much influenced by the way Hollywood has portrayed events on the screen. Recent work by revisionist historians such as Terry Copp and John Buckley has helped to move our knowledge forward, and now a new work by Ben Kite takes this further.
This is a very detailed and finely researched piece of work. Rather than just present the same old story, Kite has delved deep into War Diaries, operational reports and memoirs and presented, perhaps for the very first time, a highly detailed and original work on the British and Canadian experience of battle during the Normandy Campaign. It does not follow a chronological approach, instead the book focuses on the different parts of the army from the infantry to armour to medical services with heavy emphasis on the important role of artillery – ‘The Queen of the Battlefield’. The appendices are packed with information, including technical information on tanks and mortars for example. The maps are very clear and in colour, and the supporting illustrations are well thought out and chosen.
This is one of the best books on Normandy I have read in a long while and it is a significant addition to our knowledge of the British and Canadian contribution to victory in 1944. Highly recommended and essential reading for any battlefield guides who visit Normandy on a regular basis.
The book is available from the Helion & Company website.