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A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan
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A Bridge Too Far (original 1974; edition 1974)

by Cornelius Ryan

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1,388145,480 (4.1)25
Member:DrBrewhaha
Title:A Bridge Too Far
Authors:Cornelius Ryan
Info:Simon & Schuster (1974), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 670 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Wishlist, CEU SJC
Rating:****
Tags:ww2, military history, Operation Market Garden, history, Arnhem, WWII

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A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (1974)

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English (13)  Italian (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Like The Longest Day before it, A Bridge Too Far reads like a novel at times. It isn't a dry regurgitation of names, dates, places and statistics. Like The Longest Day the reader gets to know key players in a personal, almost intimate manner. They become more than names of historical significance. The violent battles become real with the ugly sights and sounds of war. This is largely in part due to Ryan's first hand interviews with witnesses: the veterans and townspeople alike; anyone right in the thick of the action. What sets Ryan's books apart is that he was given exclusive access to documents that others had only heard about. The confirms and clarifies the history books.
A Bridge Too Far details the failed Market-Garden Operation. Their mission was to seize five major bridges in Belgium, France and Germany. Market was the "from air" attack and Garden was the ground portion of the offensive. After many weather related delays the operation lasted from September 17th to the 24th, 1944. This imaginative battle plan was supposed to be the Allied answer to end the war. Only it didn't turn out that way.
As an aside, it's easy to see how Ryan's books all transitioned easily to the big screen. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 29, 2016 |
A taut, well written piece of military history that does spend part of its time dealing with the civilian cost of the fighting. It is justly included on many lists of war popularization.
Like many military defeats, the battle was 75% successful. ( )
  DinadansFriend | May 18, 2016 |
Well-received account of the attempt to force entry into Germany in 1944. Allied airborne forces landed Holland, making for the Rhine bridges. The British Airborne effort was shattered by counter-attacking German forces, forcing them to retreat from the bridge at Arnhem. Tragic and heroic, the battle of Arnhem has become a touchstone for the British Army.
  bowlees | Mar 9, 2016 |
Having previously read Cornelius Ryan's other books The Longest Day and The Last Battle (as well as a lot of other World War II history), I didn't expect to find this one particularly interesting. I mean, how could some operation called Market Garden I'd never even heard of possibly compare to the D-Day invasion of Normandy or the fall of Berlin and final collapse of the Nazi regime?

I was pleasantly surprised.

As always, of course, Ryan is a brilliant storyteller, and this story turned out to be no less gripping than his others. The Market portion of the operation was the largest airborne invasion in history as tens of thousands of allied troops were dropped over Holland by parachute or glider. Their mission was to seize and hold several key bridges for advancing ground forces, the Garden portion of the operation, culminating in a bridge at Arnhem whose successful capture would allow the Allies to cross the Rhine and sweep into Germany, potentially ending the war in Europe in 1944.

Since that obviously didn't happen, you know from the start that the operation did not succeed. But the story of the airborne divisions' incredibly heroic efforts (particularly at Arnhem), whose mission to hold their bridges for two or at most four days got dragged out into nine as subsequent airdrops to reinforce and resupply them kept getting delayed and cancelled as weather did not permit their takeoff and ground forces failed to make the rapid progress they were supposed to, is inspiring despite the tragedy of their ultimately useless sacrifice. Ryan does a superb job of vividly capturing both the heroism and the tragedy. Now I want to see the movie!

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3QOR4338N6KHD ( )
  AshRyan | Jan 19, 2015 |
This is one of the best history books I have ever read. It covers in extensive, interesting detail and precision Operation Market-Garden, the massive armor and paratroop attack in Holland in 1944. The operation was an ambitious attempt to bypass the German front lines and swing around the Siegfried Line in 2 days - which actually took 9 days. The book details the events before the attack, the plans for the attack, and the results. Over 400 people were interviewed for the book as well as extensive research. It is thorough, comprehensive and well written. As it was written in 1974, the author had the great advantage of being able to personally interview many of the principals who survived. It was interesting to read and did a great job of honoring the paratroopers who held on through the disaster that it eventually became. The Dutch civilians and resistance are included as well, which really makes it complete. ( )
  Karlstar | Sep 21, 2013 |
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In the thousand-year-old Dutch village of Driel, people listened intently.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684803305, Paperback)

THE CLASSIC ACCOUNT OF ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC BATTLES OF WORLD WAR II

A Bridge Too Far is Cornelius Ryan's masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshalled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day.

In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. Focusing on a vast cast of characters -- from Dutch civilians to British and American strategists to common soldiers and commanders -- Ryan brings to life one of the most daring and ill-fated operations of the war. A Bridge Too Far superbly recreates the terror and suspense, the heroism and tragedy of this epic operation, which ended in bitter defeat for the Allies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Here is Cornelius Ryan's masterly chronicle of the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled for a single battle -- culminating in the most grandiose and devastatingly tragic struggle of World War II. Now in a new edition for the 50th anniversary of VE Day, A Bridge Too Far tells the classic story of the battle of Arnhem, one of the most dramatic battles of World War II, which cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day. In this compelling work of history, Cornelius Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. Focusing on a vast cast of characters, from Dutch civilians to British and American strategists, to common soldiers and commanders, Ryan brings to life one of the most daring and ill-fated operations of the war. A Bridge Too Far superbly recreates the terror and suspense, the heroism and the tragedy of this epic operation, which marshalled some of the greatest resources of the war yet ended in bitter defeat.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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