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Arnhem: The Battle for Survival [Paperback]

John Nichol , Tony Rennell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012

Arnhem by John Nichol and Tony Rennell is an absolutely gripping narrative packed with action and heroic tales of courage.

'Riveting ... reveals the ice-cool courage of British troops trapped in the bloody shambles of Arnhem' Daily Mail

In September 1944, a mighty shock force of battle-hardened Allied troops dropped from the skies into enemy-occupied Holland in what was hoped would be the decisive final battle of World War II. Landing miles behind the German lines, their daring mission was to secure bridges across the Rhine so that ground forces could make a rapid dash into Nazi Germany. If all went well, the war could be over by Christmas. The plan went terribly wrong ...

Seen through the dramatic first-hand accounts of those who were there, Arnhem is the gripping story of a bitter military defeat that became a triumph of the human spirit. It paints a vivid portrait of those in the cauldron of war, fighting for their lives, fighting for their comrades, fighting for their honour, a battle they won hands down.

For fans of A Bridge Too Far, Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, and for readers of Antony Beevor's Stalingrad and Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Dunkirk.

John Nichol is a former RAF flight lieutenant whose Tornado bomber was shot down on a mission over Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991. He was captured and became a prisoner of war. He is the bestselling co-author of Tornado Down and, with Tony Rennell, The Last Escape, Tail-End Charlies, Home Run and Medic, and author of five novels. He is also a journalist and widely quoted military commentator. His website is

Tony Rennell is the author of Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria and co-author of When Daddy Came Home, a highly praised study of demobilization in 1945, and with John nichol, The Last Escape, Tail-End Charlies, Home Run and Medic. He is a former deputy editor of the Sunday Times and writes regularly on historical subjects for the Daily Mail.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141048352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141048352
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Flight Lieutenant John Nichol - Biography

During 15 years service in the Royal Air Force John Nichol served as a technician and, after being commissioned from the ranks, as a Tornado Navigator in both the Air Defence and Ground Attack roles. On active duty in the Gulf he was shot down on the first low-level, daylight raid of the first Gulf War. Captured and tortured, he was paraded on television provoking worldwide condemnation and leaving one of the enduring images of the conflict. He returned to active duty and was involved in policing the exclusion zone as part of the UN force maintaining the fragile peace in Bosnia. He has served around the world from the Nevada Desert to the Middle East and Norway to the Falkland Islands.

John is the best-selling author of Tornado Down, five novels, and the highly acclaimed WWII history books, The Last Escape, Tail-End Charlies and Home Run. He is in demand to give motivational lectures and after-dinner speeches and has worked with wide variety of businesses including BT, Shell, Lloyds Bank and The Stockholm School of Economics.

He has written for The Times, The Mail on Sunday and The Observer and is a widely quoted commentator on military affairs. He has also been a consultant and presenter for Newsnight, BBC, Sky & ITV News, World in Action, CNN and Cutting Edge. He devised and presented 2 series of Survivors, interviewing newsmakers who have been through life changing experiences. He recently wrote two major series for the Sunday Express, Heroes and Survivors. John's latest book, Medic!, charts the astonishing and deeply moving story of military medics from the WW2 beaches of Dunkirk to the desert towns of Afghanistan today.

John is a member of The Royal British Legion's Gulf War Group helping veterans with Gulf War Syndrome and a patron of the British Ex-service Wheelchair Sports Association. He is also a very poor golfer.

Find out more at

Product Description


The brutal hand-to-hand fighting in Arnhem itself is vividly described, as is the remarkable evacuation ... This is history from the ordinary soldier's point of view and is all the better for it (Daily Express)

Riveting ... reveals the ice-cool courage of British troops trapped in the bloody shambles of Arnhem (Daily Mail)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arnhem - John Nichol 1 Nov 2011
By Dave
A fantastic account. I thought this book was passionately written and a delight to read from cover to cover. The first hand accounts and personal stories kept me fascinated. It would appeal to many more people than those just interested in Military History as the human stories are incredible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthem: the battle for survival 23 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have just read the true story of what happened from a soldier's perspective,which was a shock to hear that it wasn't the great victory I had been led to believe it was.
A great book for anybody who seeks the truth about ww 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John and Tony Nail Arnhem 17 Dec 2013
By Perry
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Best book I read of 2012 for me. Vivid insight with the use of eye witness passages from veteran's; written with passion and sympathetic understanding. Does not "big up" war, but shows the human spirit in abundance. You can tell that John Nichol has been in combat.

FAA 801 (retired)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Engaging 5 Mar 2013
By Nelson
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lloyd Clark's "Arnhem" and Robert Kershaw's "It never snows in September" it is not, but the authors have created a very human story from what was an excuriatingly difficult military action for those who served in it.

Some say that books "compiled" from veterans' memories and under the guise of honouring those who were there represents lazy history on the part of the given author. Perhaps in certain instances that may be true, but not here - Nichol and Rennell have created a brilliantly vivid picture of the endeavour which is very easy to follow and, is as far I can tell, as factually accurate as its possible to be in the context of such a fluid and confused action. They also successfully place into context the travails of the XXX Corp's intended "Blitzkrieg" and credit is given where it is due, despite the fact that Market Garden must be considered a costly (but most definitely heroic) failure. Rennell and Nichol have achieved an excellent synethsis of the factual and the human, and have created a very readable and informative book as a result.

So why only four stars? Two reasons:

1) I personally like my history to be a little bit denser and so what is missing for me is more of the background of why Market Garden was undertaken in the first place.(This book really only covers the Arnhem "experience"). Was it really about Monty's ego as some attest? or was Market Garden a plausible war winning strategy? Was the failure of a (possibly) good idea simply the a result of bad planning? Or a combination of all three? Did Eisenhower simply "give in" to Monty or did he see clear vitues in the attempt?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the most gripping and readable books I've ever read. The story of Arnhem is immaculately told mostly from the viewpoint of those who took part.
However if you're after a book about Op Market Garden as a whole then this isn't it as its just about Arnhem BUT I would still recommend it to be read alongside any book covering the whole OP.
Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent...excellent...!! 10 Dec 2011
By Tash
A thoroughly fascinating read, very informative and insightful. I have read several of John Nichol's books and this is as good as any of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brave men and women one and all thank you 13 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic true story one my farther who was there never spoke of.
Wish he told me his story allI know was he swam the river to escape
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4.0 out of 5 stars Arnhem 1 Jan 2013
By Dgb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book about a story that should not be forgotten.

Was also impressive how brave the Dutch were.

Includes a lot of contemporary diary extracts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Arnhem book
This book is about personal experiences, and very little about strategy (if there was any). Military and Dutch civilians have recounted their memories of this Op; it is very... Read more
Published 7 months ago by vic897
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Just a collection of personal recollections, some of which are second or even third hand. This shouldn't detract from the import of those testimonies, just a criticism of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Spymaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty
This book has been written in a way that does not glorify war, but it does take you into the muck, grime, and desperation of the situation, while explaining the why and how of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. E. Bray
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Full stars for this easy to read account of Arnhem. with the veterans take on the events it is an easy read with out getting bogged dowm in the finite details >>.great read
Published 12 months ago by William Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Bridge to Far, but a few men short.
Real Men fight at the front, while Planners wonder what went wrong...
Yet more problems for Poland's fighting men, delivered late and then held back and
blamed for... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Thomas Heavey
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must read !
I had only the briefest knowledge of this campaign from '' A bridge too far '' But a fantastic read and gives great detail in the hopelessness of the situation and the courage of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. J. A. Halfhide
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it
A really good informative book. We don't really know what it was like and if you had relatives involved you should read it
Published 13 months ago by Mrs Gabrielle Brumby
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab!
A great account of the battle with plenty if personal accounts that are moving and sometimes funny but always touching.
Published 14 months ago by David Rhys Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars For a lost uncle
To anyone who was too young or not born but lost a relative in this battle I recommend you read this to understand what they endured for your freedom.
God bless you uncle Jeff
Published 15 months ago by mart
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great read
A very well written book that seems to put you at the heart of the action, I read it as preparation for a visit to Arnhem and I gained a lot of background
Published 16 months ago by MR J SMITH
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