D-Day, By Antony Beevor

Switching between grand strategy and local slaughter, and always with a careful eye for the suffering of bombed, shelled and terrorised civilians, Beevor stretches his history between the jittery first days of June 1944 and the end of August – when De Gaulle walked under fire into Notre Dame.

Our foremost historian of battle again proves that even the most close-focus account of wartime chaos and carnage benefits from deep context. For all its blunders (not a few provoked by Montgomery's "puerile pride"), the invasion of Normandy did achieve its aim, and delivered a mortal blow to Nazi Europe.

Beevor counts the full cost of bloody events unrolling through the summer woods and meadows with all his narrative skill, judgement and humanity.