Thursday, June 22, 2023

Invasion On!: D-Day, the Press, and the Making of an American Narrative by Stephen Rusiecki

 In 'Invasion On!' Stephen Rusiecki offers a look at how wartime media (specifically radio and newspapers) were able to come together to help craft a memorable and myth-laden narrative of the Allied invasion of Normandy, which became known simply as D-Day.  The basic elements the author concentrates on are the limitations under which radio and newspapers operated within, and their concentration on four specific myths (the significance of the invasion, the religions undertones of the "Great Crusade', the emphasis on the leadership of British and US commanders, and the highlighting of the heroic nature of the G.I. who made his way across the ocean to help liberate a subjugated Europe from Nazi tyranny.  One chapter is devoted to each of these myths but the author often belabors the point and often there's repetition or excessive detail.  Additionally, while the author makes frequent mention of the omission of Black Americans in the myths revolving around D-Day, there is little to no mention of any other minority group. The final chapter tackles the legacy of these myths as they have been regularly recycled in presidential addresses since Ronald Reagan's visit to Europe in 1984 (the author also discusses Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump's speeches). The larger argument is that the collective memory around D-Day was formulated in the lead up to the invasion and during its first few days because of how well the media apparatus worked in cooperation with government needs, desires, and censorship. The lasting influence of that relationship between the media and government is the continuation of the myth surrounding D-Day to the present.

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