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Good Reads: From Normandy, to a Biden profile, to McDonald’s ‘Subway buster’

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(Read caption) US soldiers waded ashore on June 6,1944, at the Normandy landing.

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New light on Normandy

“For more than any other human enterprise, war revealed the mettle of men’s souls,” writes Rick Atkinson in his latest book on World War II, which Foreign Affairs excerpts in its July/August issue.

What is most revealing in this 13-page essay, “The Road to D-Day,” is the amazing level of detail that Mr. Atkinson musters to illuminate the oft-told tale of the preparations behind the historic crossing of the English Channel on June 6, 1944. For example, the men on whom so much depended were not large by today’s standards: The typical soldier stood 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighed 144 pounds. The troops were told they were the best paid in the world: A private earned $50 a month. A Medal of Honor winner would get $2 extra a month.

The essay is drawn from “The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945,” the final installment of Atkinson’s trilogy on the war, the first part of which won a Pulitzer Prize for history.


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