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Starkville Reads presents D-Day lecture and discussion

November 15, 2010

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Starkville Public Library, Starkville Reads will present a lecture and discussion on D-Day and Jeff Shaara’s novel about it entitled “The Steel Wave” given by Dr. Mary Kathryn Barbier.
Barbier is an associate professor in the MSU History Department specializing in military history.
Dr. Barbier received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of New Orleans, an master’s degree in history from Louisiana State University, an M.S. degree in Secondary Education from Loyola University in New Orleans, and a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Her 2007 book, “D-Day Reception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion,” was released in 2009 in paperback.
In 2010 she co-edited, “America and the Vietnam War: Re-examining the Culture and History of a Generation.”
Earlier publications include “America’s Armed Forces: The U.S. Army; Kursk: The Greatest Tank Battle Ever Fought 1943;” and “Strategy and Tactics: Infantry Warfare: The Theory and Practice of Infantry Combat in the 20th Century” with Andrew Wiest.
Her current research is on Lily Sergueiew, a female double agent during World War II.
At Tuesday evening’s program, Dr. Barbier will first discuss D-Day itself and will then focus on Shaara’s novel, which presents the D-Day Invasion from numerous points of view, including those of Eisenhower, Rommel, and a variety of soldiers who represent different groups in the military, including the paratroopers who landed behind enemy lines.
Nancy Hargrove, president of Starkville Reads, notes that the community is fortunate to have a specialist in World War II and particularly D-Day to make this presentation and encourages all those interested to attend.
Hargrove said, beginning in January 1944 and concluding in July 1944, the novel is well-researched and includes many realistic and historically accurate details.
A question and answer period will follow Dr. Barbier’s presentation.
Hargrove said that while it would be helpful to have read all or part of the novel prior to the program, those who have not read it will learn a great deal about D-Day itself and may choose to read the novel as a result.
“The Steel Wave” is the second part of a trilogy focusing on World War II in Europe.
Starkville Reads donated copies of the book to the Starkville Public Library, where they may be checked out.
The program is open to all free of charge.
For more information about Starkville Reads, go to

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