Friday, June 3, 2011

Historical ebooks: D-Day: The Battle For Normandy by Antony Beevor

For those keeping track, the anniversary of D-Day is right around the corner (June 6th). Coinciding with said anniversary, Penguin is releasing an enhanced ebook of Beevor's D-Day that features:

- Rarely seen video from the NBC News Archive, including original NBC and Universal newsreels
- Original NBC Radio broadcasts announcing the D-Day invasion
- Rare color footage shot by journalist Jack Lieb, who worked for the newsreel company
- News of the Day and shot footage from D-Day to the liberation of Paris. 25 years later, he recorded this narration, giving a uniquely personal view of the war.
- All the maps included in the original book
- Unique videos of the Allied commanders, paratroopers suiting up and jumping, Allied troops landing on the Normandy beaches, firefights in the deadly bocage hedgerows and through bombed-out towns, Allied bombing runs, the liberation of Paris and much more.
- Embedded video within the text gives readers a seamless reading and viewing experience

Those interested, can find a trailer here:

Personally, I never gave much thought to some of the advantages ebooks have to offer over that of hardcover/softcover books I usually buy and/or review. Granted, you can get an ebook reader and stash tons of ebooks on them, as well as access search functions that can lead you to finding keywords/phrases in a fraction of the time it would take you to look up said word in the index and then rummage through all listed pages. But, in retrospect, for fans of history, historical ebooks can offer something that's been limited or wholly missing previously. In talking to authors and translators, it's become clear that publishers look to avoid publishing copious amounts of images/pictures, as it usually costs more money and at times the authors themselves have to foot the bill! But, with an ebook, it seems such problems are less of a burden for publishers. More so, they can intersperse videos, as they've done with Beevor's work, into the books as well. Not only will the reader be able to visualize what they're reading about, but also hear and see historic events unfold in between pages of text! For fans of Beevor and/or the Western Front of the Second World War, this might be a worthwhile investment (at the moment available for iphone/ipad on ibooks).


Keir said...

I was just reading the review for Beevor's book in 'History Today' which disputes the cover's claims that it is the "most...well-researched account yet" and he didn't do a proper job evaluating his sources; had he done so "he might have found that some of them were little more than fiction. The book is also characterised by a disconcerting number of factual errors, both in the text and the supporting maps." Hopefully these have been remedied in time for this e-book edition.

T. Kunikov said...

Well, Beevor isn't exactly the greatest historian, which is why I aimed this post at those who are his fans. But more so, I think this is a good step for future history oriented texts. There's a lot more they can do in publishing their works as ebooks than as hardcover/softcover editions, something both publishers and readers should keep in mind.