Invasion On

D-Day, the Press, and the Making of an American Narrative

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In Invasion On Stephen M. Rusiecki describes the process of how and why Americans developed a standing narrative of the World War II operation known as D-Day based upon a common, press-enabled, thematically framed narrative. This story of June 6, 1944 is the one which has endured for more than seven decades. How did this early, single narrative of the D-Day landings, hastily though deliberately constructed in real time by America's radio networks and newspapers, come together on 6 June 1944 to become the story of that event in the years and decades after World War II? This version is what has dominated the imaginations and consciousness of Americans ever since.

Ultimately, Invasion On explains how America's collective understanding of D-Day—essentially the American D-Day story—was born. The book explores in detail the mechanics of precisely how radio broadcasts and newspapers in the 24-hour period surrounding 6 June 1944 gathered and then communicated facts, images, impressions, attitudes, and meaning that formed for all Americans nearly simultaneously a common narrative organized around four thematic themes. These four themes—the significance and grand scale of the operation, the sacralization of the event, the gifted and talented nature of the Allied senior leaders, and the purity and valor of the average American soldier—would remain fixed in the American consciousness for decades to come in any discussion of June 6, 1944.

By addressing the news-making process during D-Day, Invasion On further explores what information was available to the press; how the press assigned meaning to, or perceived, that information; and what information remained unavailable to the press on 6 June 1944 due to censorship or procedural breakdowns caused by the friction of war. In the end, this book is about the process by which the print and broadcast media constructed a very specific storyline of D-Day in the moment, a narrative that granted D-Day a unique and war-defining status in the minds of the American public or the sort enjoyed by few events in American military history.

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Editorial Reviews

“Stephen M. Rusiecki’s Invasion On: D-Day, the Press, and the Making of an American Narrative is a well-researched and brilliantly conceived reckoning with the enduring power of D-Day as a pivot point in American history. Rusiecki is a superb storyteller. This is one of the truly essential books on D-Day we have. A triumph!” —Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities, Professor of History at Rice University, and author of The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion
"Few people  in our media-saturated world would question the power of the press. Like it or not, our take on world events is in large measure determined by what we read, see or hear from media barons. What's new—and fascinating —is Rusiecki’s in-depth analysis of how D-Day in Europe was designed and developed into an ongoing narrative that is—and likely will forever be—the universally accepted story of June 6, 1944. It's a top-down, inside and out look at how great events become accepted history.”—Capt. Dale A. Dye, USMC (Ret.), award-winning author, military advisor and media consultant
Invasion On! makes a significant contribution to the broad understanding of the execution of Overlord and specifically the ways in which press coverage shaped the public’s understanding of the event or campaign. It is an area, concerning Overlord, that has not, to my knowledge, been well examined up to this point.” —Stephen C. Kepher, author of COSSAC: Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan and the Genesis of Operation OVERLORD 
"This is a superb work that clarifies and explains the source of the American fetish with the standard D-Day narrative. Rusiecki has set me straight; the real creators of the D-Day myth were the print and radio newsmen and organizations that were intimately involved in its creation and had a stake in its success.”— Stephen Alan Bourque, author of Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France