American Experience at Normandy featured in UMR historian’s new book

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On October 16, 2004

University of Missouri-Rolla military historian Dr. John C. McManus has published the second volume in a two-book series that examines the Normandy invasion from the American perspective.

The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944 — The American War from the Normandy Beaches to Falaise" was published in October by Forge. It is the second in a two-volume set about the American experience at Normandy. The book begins on the evening of D-Day and concludes in mid- to late August 1944, at the end of the battle of Normandy.

McManus, who is a military historian specializing in the American war effort during World War II, found in his research of the invasion of Normandy that there was a surprising lack of books that examined the entire U.S. perspective in the war. He also found that many of the books that do examine Americans in the war focus on D-Day.

"People have been too fixated on D-Day, as if once you get ashore, the war is won," McManus says. "But that is really only the very beginning. I would compare it to opening day in baseball. Opening day is big, there is a lot of hoopla and it’s great to win, but there are 161 other games. D-Day was just the very beginning of a long campaign in northwest Europe that was necessary to bring Nazi Germany to its knees, and the real story of that campaign is the emergence of the United States as the leading power in the world. That had a major impact on Europe’s history and it all began at Normandy."

McManus believes the battle of Normandy is the pivotal battle of the war in Europe. "It’s what sealed Germany’s fate and it’s what began really a new era in American history with the U.S. as a world power," he explains.

Last spring, McManus worked as a tour guide and historian with Stephen Ambrose Tours, leading groups to various beaches in Normandy for the 60-year commemoration ceremony, then throughout Europe touring other battle sites. He is a member of the editorial advisory board of World War II magazine.

McManus began his career at UMR as a history instructor in 2000 and was named assistant professor in 2003. He teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, U.S. military history and the American combat experience in the 20th century. He received the department’s first Faculty Excellence Award.

In addition to his Normandy series, McManus has published two other books — The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II and Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II. McManus plans to publish American Courage, American Carnage: The 7th Regiment and the Story of America’s Combat Experience in 2005. "The Americans at D-Day: The American Experience at the Normandy Invasion" is available from and other online booksellers.

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On October 16, 2004. Posted in News