The Army that Never Was: George S. Patton and the Deception of Operation Fortitude (Hardcover)

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The full, dramatic story behind Operation Fortitude—the biggest subterfuge of World War II—and the plan to mislead the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would come at Pas-de-Calais.

On May 29th, 1944, General George S. Patton gave a speech in the southeast of England to the men of the U.S. Army where he spoke of the American desire to win and of how losing was hateful to Americans. As he rose to his crescendo, he said how much he "pitied those sons of bitches we are going up against—by God, I do.” On that same day, General Omar Bradley gave a calmer speech in Somerset, England, to the men under his command about how much rested on the upcoming invasion of northern France and how vital their role was in achieving victory.

Apart from the very different tones of the speeches reflecting the opposite character of the two army commanders, there was another big difference. Bradley was speaking to men who in a little over a week would be splashing ashore on the beaches of Normandy. Patton was addressing an army that didn't exist.

The Army That Never Was tells the story of the biggest deception operation of World War II: the plan to mislead the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would come at Pas-de-Calais instead of Normandy—by inventing an entirely fake army unit during Operation Fortitude.

Full of fascinating characters from the American, British, and German forces, this compelling and propulsive narrative explores one of the most remarkable stories of World War II.

About the Author

Taylor Downing read history at Cambridge University. His most recent books include 1942: Winston Churchill and Britain's Darkest Hour; Spies in the Sky; 1983: The World at the Brink; Churchill's War Lab; Breakdown; Cold War; and Night Raid. He lives in England.

Praise For…

Praise for Taylor Downing:

“Downing documents in this revealing study of WWII-era England how ‘military disasters led to political crises and the near collapse of public morale.’ Downing sheds intriguing light on just how close Churchill was to losing his grip on power. The result is a persuasive reminder things are often darkest before the dawn.”
Publishers Weekly

"A vivid and fast-paced retelling of Churchill's remarkable career.”
Financial Times

“A meticulously detailed, welcome addition to the literature of World War I.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An ingenious history. Completely engrossing. For better or worse, these military developments remain with us, and Downing delivers a riveting account of how they happened.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Engaging, providing an in-depth look at a subject that doesn’t get its fair share of discussion within the military history genre. Downing’s voice is clear and highly readable. This volume should be of interest to most readers, especially those interested in military history.”
Library Journal 

"An impressive, balanced and often deeply moving book. Anyone who wishes to understand it and its terrible consequences should buy it.”
The Times (London)

“Downing manages to offer a useful perspective by unpacking the pivotal role the cataclysm in the Somme played in the birth not just of military psychiatry, but a new era in our understanding of mental health. Downing’s book is a necessary remind that trauma is an injury, and not a sign of weakness."
New Statesman

"This vivid, compassionate account draws on harrowing first-person testimony to chronicle the sometimes humane, but more often cruel and uncaring, treatment of damaged men, both in wartime and its aftermath.”
The Daily Mail

"This is a thoughtful, intelligent book. Thoroughly researched, highly readable and highly recommended."
Military History

"A vivid and fast paced retelling of Churchill’s remarkable career.”
The Financial Times
Product Details
ISBN: 9781639367542
ISBN-10: 1639367543
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English