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The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
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The Longest Day (1959)

by Cornelius Ryan

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MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,302246,009 (4.13)31
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  1. 50
    D-Day June 6 1944: the Climatic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose (timspalding)
  2. 30
    A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (phm)
    phm: A great follow-up to The Longest Day about Operation Market Garden -- inspiring, moving, and renews faith in your fellow man.
  3. 00
    Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing And Airborne Operations On D-Day, June 6, 1944 by Joseph Balkoski (Strangcf)
  4. 00
    Gators of Neptune: Naval Amphibious Planning for the Normandy Invasion by Christopher D. Yung (Strangcf)
  5. 01
    Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation) by Kurt W. Beyer (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Both of these books paint a picture of war through the lives of those who participated in the war effort, whether it be on the front lines like in The Longest Day or back at home like in The Invention of the Information Age.
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» See also 31 mentions

English (21)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Have you seen the movie? They make such a prominent statement in the opening credits that it is "based on the book by Cornelius Ryan" that I've always had a mind to read it.

After all, while the story is epic, the movie just "tries too hard" in parts. Isn't the breaching of fortress Europe enough of a plot? No! Movie-goers also need a schmaltzy love story too. Surely the book can't be that contrived?

The good news is that it is not. It shares the "tell a story through a mosaic of slice-of-life vignettes" approach, yet does it with compelling integrity. It is gritty and unrelenting; sometimes poignant, but always authentic. The book's most rewarding and fascinating aspect is how it shows in rich detail the diverse impact of action and inaction, decision and indecision - and often just plain luck - in the final outcome of the day. ( )
  pratalife | Feb 9, 2014 |
Have you seen the movie? They make such a prominent statement in the opening credits that it is "based on the book by Cornelius Ryan" that I've always had a mind to read it.

After all, while the story is epic, the movie just "tries too hard" in parts. Isn't the breaching of fortress Europe enough of a plot? No! Movie-goers also need a schmaltzy love story too. Surely the book can't be that contrived?

The good news is that it is not. It shares the "tell a story through a mosaic of slice-of-life vignettes" approach, yet does it with compelling integrity. It is gritty and unrelenting; sometimes poignant, but always authentic. The book's most rewarding and fascinating aspect is how it shows in rich detail the diverse impact of action and inaction, decision and indecision - and often just plain luck - in the final outcome of the day. ( )
  pratalife | Feb 9, 2014 |
This is a detailed look at D-Day, starting a couple of days beforehand, right through the entire day, June 6, 1944. Originally written in 1959, the book is based on questionnaires and interviews with many people who were there. We get to see what happened from various points of view – the Allies, the Germans, and even some of the French civilians living in Normandy at the time of the attack. This book brings you to the shores of the five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold, as well as Pointe du Hoc.

Wow! This reads like fiction and, even knowing the outcome, I found it quite suspenseful at times. I didn’t really know much detail about what went on, and for anyone with any interest in it, I think this is a must read. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jan 3, 2014 |
Cornelius Ryan has thoroughly researched his subject and brought history to vivid life.

As another reviewer said, forget the epic 3 hour movie, this book is the real deal. ( )
  Chris.Graham | Jul 30, 2013 |
The title is taken from a quote of Field Marshall Edwin Rommel, who commanded the German forces defending the Atlantic Wall against invasion, "...the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive...the fate of Germany depends on the outcome...for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day." That day came on June 6, 1944, and Ryan gives an account not just of that day, but the lead up. The book, in fact, is split into 3 parts--"The Wait," "The Night" and "The Day." It has a strong narrative akin to a novel, but is based on thousands of interviews and never drifts over the line into evident fiction. It tells the story from generals to privates, and from both the Allied and German sides. It also tells the story from the side of the French Resistance and French civilians in Normandy who had undergone a brutal occupation for the last four years. (One detail that struck me was how one resident was going to have his home pulled down simply because the Germans coveted building materials.)

One thing I appreciated about the book was both the epic sweep and the intimacy. Ryan made you appreciate the huge scale of the operation. An allied fleet of five thousand ships carried 250,000 men. The Allied causalities numbered at least ten thousand and the German casualties as many as nine thousand. At the same time, Ryan doesn't stint on the stories of individuals in ways that made the account of the battle come alive, from the American paratrooper caught on the church steeple to the British commandos going to battle to the sound of bagpipes. Ryan himself was a war correspondent who reported on D-Day, and his account here has an immediacy I doubt other books detailing the events of that day could match. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Feb 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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Cornelius Ryanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edinga, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Believe me, Lang, the first twenty four hours of the invasion will be decisive... the fate of Germany depends on the outcome... for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day."

-Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
to his aide. April 22, 1944
Dedication
FOR ALL THE MEN 0F D DAY
First words
The village was silent in the damp June morning.
Quotations
"Blessent mon coeur d'une langueur monotone."
As they approached Le Havre, Priller climbed for cover in the clouds. They flew for a few more minutes and then broke through. Below them was a fantastic fleet-hundreds of ships of every size and type, stretching endlessly, it seemed, all the way back across the Channel. There was a steady procession of landing craft carrying men toward shore, and Priller could see the white puffs of explosions on and behind the beaches. The sands were black with troops, and tanks and equipment of all sort littered the short line. Priller swept back into the clouds to consider what to do. There were so many planes, so many battleships offshore, so many men on the beaches, that he figured he’d have time for just one pass over the beaches before being shot down. There was no need for radio silence now. Almost lightheartedly, Priller spoke into his microphone. “What a show! What a show!” he said. “There’s everything out here-everywhere you look. Believe me, this is the invasion!” Then he said, “Wodarczyk, were going in! Good luck!” They hurtled down toward the British beaches at over 400 m.p.h., coming in at less than 150 feet. Priller had no time to aim. He simply pressed the button on his control stick and felt his guns pounding. Skimming along just over the tops of men’s heads, he saw upturned, startled faces. On Sword, Commander Philippe Kieffer of the French commandos saw Priller and Wodarczyk coming. He dived for cover. Six German prisoners took advantage of the confusion and tried to bolt. Kieffer’s men promptly mowed them down. On Juno Private Robert Rogge of the Canadian 8th Infantry Brigade heard the scream of the planes and saw them “coming in so low that I could clearly see the pilots’ faces.” He threw himself flat like everyone else, but he was amazed to see one man “calmly standing up, blazing away with a Sten gun.” On the eastern edge of Omaha, Lieutenant (j.g.) William J. Eisemann of the U.S. Navy gasped as the two FW-190s, guns chattering, zoomed down “at less than fifty feet and dodged through the barrage balloons.” And on H.M.S Dunbar, Leading Stoker Robert Dowie watched every antiaircraft gun in the fleet open up on Priller and Wodarczyk. The two fighters flew through it all unscathed, then turned inland and streaked up into the clouds. “Jerry or not,” said Dowie, unbelievingly, “the best of luck to you. You’ve got guts.”
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This classic bestseller--back in print to coincide with the 50th anniversary of D-Day--offers a brilliant, authentic, gripping account of the hours that preceded and followed the Allied invasion of Normandy. "Fifty years from now the history of D-Day, I am sure, will lean heavily on this book".… (more)

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