Out of the skies...wading through the wavelets they came. . . to (of all places) the French Riviera where, on August 15, 1944, thousands of Allied troops landed at such choice invasion spots as St. Raphael and St. Tropez, as part of Operation Dragoon, the second half of the two-pronged assault on Nazi-occupied France. Their arrival is chronicled here in hard-breathing journalese which overinflates every available ounce of personal drama. Flip-flopping back and forth from staff briefings to attack beaches to the hearths and minds of villagers, one shares the inner thoughts of American GIs, French resistants, Wehrmacht coastal defenders, housewives, old ladies, country doctors, priests, baronesses, and even children (literally, there are hundreds of cameo roles here) as they do their bit toward the victory. But there is no overall picture of the battle strategy, or any sense of why the invasion was really important. Once the beaches are won, one is left dangling. There is also a shortage of technical details which might intrigue the military-minded: little on the German fortifications, troop dispositions, or on the Allied hardware. Strange, considering that the author, a much-decorated French veteran, should have had the necessary expertise. A confused and rather sentimental narrative.