For narrative battle histories there are not many better than Rick Atkinson. The mixture here of top level planning and strategizing with a masterful usage of personal histories of everyday soldiers is nothing short of brilliant. Another thing Rick does incredibly well is the mini portrait- the ability to highlight a soldier, midlevel commander, or general etc and be able in a few paragraphs to give the reader a quick gloss of that person's character, foibles, strengths and weaknesses. Couple all of the above with staggering research and some of the best prose around and he maybe the european theater's Bruce Catton. Just amazing.