NORTH ANDOVER, Mass.—To commemorate the June 6, 1944, Normandy landings, North Andover author Kevin Dennehy has written a guidebook that helps tourists find monuments and other sites near the epic battle.
The D-Day Visitor’s Handbook: Your Guide to the Normandy Battlefields and WWII Paris not only provides history about the battle, but describes the best places to visit as many people use Paris as a starting point, Dennehy said.
“Organizers expect more than 2 million visitors during June’s 75th Anniversary. They will want to know what sites to see, where to stay and even shop,” he said. “To take breaks from the many cemeteries and monuments, there is local cheese to eat and Calvados and cider to drink.”
Dennehy first became interested in the Normandy invasion in 2001 when veterans visited his National Guard unit in Bosnia to tell incredible battle stories. “They were among the first waves of the landing force. Very brave men who were elderly then—and most are gone now,” he said. “This year is the 75th anniversary, so it may be the last one where Normandy veterans attend at all. If we don’t tell their tales, and commemorate where they fell, who will?”
After several trips to Normandy, and not finding detailed information on where to go and what to see, Dennehy decided to write a guidebook with Steve Powers, a retired history professor and U.S. Naval Academy graduate.
“I’ve been fascinated by the stories of valor for many years. However, my trips to Normandy were marred by driving around, getting lost and not knowing what were the most important sites to see,” he said.
The book chronicles the off-the-beaten-path sites, not just the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, which was made famous in the opening scenes of the 1990s movie, “Saving Private Ryan.”
In addition, The D-Day Visitor’s Handbook provides detailed battlefield maps, outlines tours and identifies memorials, hotels, restaurants and museums in Normandy and Paris.
Dennehy, a retired Army National Guard colonel, will be signing books at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104 in North Andover on May 21 at 6:30 p.m.
The D-Day Visitor’s Handbook: Your Guide to the Normandy Battlefields and WWII Paris, published by Skyhorse and distributed by Simon and Schuster, is available April 30.