there is plenty of great writing on the campaign in NWE, but it's spread across multiple authors. Which is fine - you should always be a bit side-eye about any single source that's supposedly definitive.
The OHs are flat out great for answering the Who, What, Where, and When questions, and to some degree the Why questions. They're generally pretty terrible at the How question. They were also written in the 1950s and 1960s, which tends to colour the writing, as well as masking some interesting stuff that has come later (obvious example: Enigma). None of them are very good at analysis though.
Hastings and D'Este aren't really bad, or at least not completely terrible, and they both give a workmanlike of NEPTUNE and the campaign in Normandy including analysis of what they think the underlying factors were. Read together and in conjunction with other readings they're ok. Just, do not ever look at them as definitive. Atkinson ... eh. He's pretty readable, but also pretty glib. I'd stay way the feck away from anything by either Ambrose or Beevor.
Books on NEPTUNE, the campaign in Normandy, and NWE that I recommend:
* Ben Kite, Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944
* Joachim Ludewig, Rückzug: The German Retreat from France, 1944
* Douglas E. Delaney, Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939-45
* Terry Copp, Cinderella Army: The Canadians in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945
* Chester Wilmot, The Struggle for Europe
* Russell F. Weigley, Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944-45 (I haven't read this, but it is recommended by a friend whose judgement I trust)
* William F. Buckingham, D-Day: The First 72 Hours
* Kenneth Macksey, Battle (thinly fictionalised account of the planning and conduct of a battle in Normandy, from soup to nuts)
* Ian Gooderson, Air Power at the Battlefront: Allied Close Air Support in Europe 1943-45 (move beyond 'oh, Typhoons just killed everything' to a deeper understanding of how airpower was employed and what it was capable of)
* Brian A. Reid, No Holding Back: Operation Totalize, Normandy, August 1944 (exemplar for writing about a particular battle)
* Stephen Ashley Hart, Montgomery and 'Colossal Cracks': The 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe, 1944-45
* Michael D. Doubler, Closing With the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945
* Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (covers a lot more ground than NWE)
* John Buckley, Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe (not really operational history, but looks at the mechanics of the various arms within 21AG, and how they worked together)
* John Buckley, British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944 (part of the revisionist wave that came after the wrecking ball that was Hastings and D'Este)
* John Buckley, The Normandy Campaign 1944: Sixty Years On (I have a soft spot for Buckley ...)
* Terry Copp, Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy (... and Copp)
< Message edited by JonS -- 6/23/2019 3:21:10 AM >