February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: The Americans on D-Day (DVD)

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DVD cover of WWII American soliderThe Americans on D-Day. DVD. 56 min. with tchr’s. guide on CD. Prod. by Labyrinth Media & Pub. Dist. by Livingbattlefield.org. 2012. ISBN 978-0-615-67814-6. $25.
Gr 7 Up–The June 1944 assault on Hitler’s Fortress Europe by Allied military forces is remembered as a pivotal point in 20th-century history. This well-crafted documentary takes an unusual approach to explaining the planning and execution phases of the invasion. In addition to the usual assemblage of vintage still images and film footage, the producers attempt to bring viewers to the front lines as a contemporary battlefield guide leads us into the foray as he assumes the roles of various soldiers—American as well as German— taking part in combat. Supplemented by a well-formulated mix of credible re-creations, interviews with actual participants on both sides, and crisp graphics, the audience is on the Normandy battlefields as well as in airborne gliders and naval landing craft as were the combatants on this horrifying day. While the content focuses on American forces, the larger picture clearly emerges and concludes with a moving visit to the vast American cemetery in Normandy. In covering World War II, only select highlights of the offensive are presented so that the film can be used within classroom periods. This film is also available as part of a trilogy—The American Road to Victory—which includes coverage of the Battle of the Bulge as well as the Allied push into Germany. Options include chapter selection, closed-captioning, and descriptive video as well as two extra segments on weapons, training, and the uniforms of this campaign. The accompanying CD includes basic lesson/activity suggestions. Even though the tour guide can be a bit overly intense at times, this is a solid purchase for all media collections.–Dwain Thomas, formerly Lake Park High School, Roselle, IL



  1. Here is an example of The Americans on D-Day being used in and out of the classroom.