Stout Hearts is a book which offers an entirely new perspective on the British Army in Normandy. This fresh study explores the anatomy of war through the Army's operations in the summer of 1944, informing and entertaining the general non-fiction reader as well as students of military history. There have been so many books written on Normandy that the publication of another one might appear superfluous. However most books have focused on narrating the conduct of the battle, describing the factors that influenced its outcome, or debating the relative merits of the armies and their generals. What was missing from the existing body of work on Normandy specifically and the Second World War generally is a book that explains how an army actually operates in war and what it was like for those involved, Stout Hearts fills this gap. Stout Hearts is essential reading for those who wish to understand the ‘mechanics’ of battle. How does an Army care for its wounded? How do combat engineers cross obstacles? How do tanks fight? How do Air and Naval Forces support the Army? But to understand what makes an Army ‘tick’ you must also understand its people. Therefore explanations of tactics and techniques are not only well illustrated with excellent photographs and high quality maps but also effectively combined with relevant accounts from the combatants themselves. These dramatic stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things are the strength of the book, bringing the campaign to life and entertaining the reader.
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Ben Kite is a serving British Army Officer who was born in 1970 in Berkshire and was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1990. He has served in a variety of different roles in his twenty-five year Army career including deployments to Belize, BosniReview:
“At last a book has been written that forensically examines how the British Armed Forces fought its way through Normandy. Ben Kite compellingly demonstrates that these forces were highly effective, well trained, motivated, and superbly equipped, capable of taking on and beating the Germans. Combining painstaking research with his own practical appreciation as an active soldier, the result is an important and utterly absorbing book that will be read and studied for decades to come.” (James Holland, bestselling author)
Ben Kite has clearly used his widespread experience of seeing a modern Army in action on operations to think carefully about the anatomy of a military force and how each of component elements can work together to produce victory. He has succeeded in getting beyond the narrative of events and explains clearly how and why units function as they do, using first-hand accounts of participants to bring the text to life wonderfully.” (Dr Rob Johnson, Director Changing Character of Warfare programme, University of Oxford)
“Those with an interest in studying the Normandy campaign in 1944 will certainly devour this splendid heavy-weight books..... It is a book packed with facts and details, and carries an impressive wealth of useful appendices and images. It is certainly a ‘must have’ book if one wishes to study the Normandy campaign in any depth”. (Britain At War)
“ ... Ben Kite provides the reader with an excellent insight into the details of how each separate part of the British and Canadian Armies in Normandy worked. I have read many books on this campaign, and this really does offer something new to the reader - an excellent combination of first hand accounts and operational details.” (Recollections of WWII website)
“ ... one of the best recent books which explain how a fighting army actually functions and is recommended purely on that, and for much more therein.” (Society of Friends of the National Army Museum Book Review Supplement)
“ ... Ben Kite has crafted a remarkable study of the experiences of the men and women of British and Commonwealth armed forces in their bitter fight against a dug in and determined Wehrmacht ... Ben Kite has provided a much needed corrective to the idea that the British-led armies fought poorly during the campaign ...” (Michigan War Studies Review)
“Former career British Army officer Kite takes an intimate look at British and Canadian forces in the Normandy Campaign, a subject generally neglected on this side of the pond. He does so in an interesting fashion, not only telling us what took place, but also how it took place... This is excellent stuff, well worth a read for anyone interested in World War II, or in how an army functions.” (NYMAS Review)
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