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A Bridge Too Far (Wordsworth Military Library) [Paperback]

Cornelius Ryan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Aug 1999 Wordsworth Military Library
On 17th September 1944, the people of southern England gaped as the mightiest airborne force in history thundered overhead "en route" for Arnhem. Arnhem was 64 miles behind the German lines in Holland, and Field-Marshal Montgomery's plan was to sieze the Rhine bridges at Arnhem and Nijmegen to allow an Allied thrust into the industrial heart of Nazi Germany. The Allied armies south of the Rhine were due to reinforce the airborne troops once the bridges had been captured. When Lt-General "Boy" Browning, the Deputy Commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, asked Montgomery how long it would take for the reinforcements to reach the bridges, he was told that it would be two days. "Sir", replied Browning, "I think we may be going a bridge too far". Cornelius Ryan's account of the tragic miscalculations at Arnhem and the valour of the troops on either side is a classic. Over 17,000 British, Polish and American troops became casualties - more than on D-Day - but Arnhem remains a beacon of heroism in the annals of miltiary endeavour.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (19 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840222131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840222135
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 634,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I know of no other work of literature of World War II as moving, as awesome, and as accurate in its portrayal of human courage." -- General James A. Gavin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The true story of the greatest battle of World War II - back in print and now packaged as a Great Read.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I agree with the sentiments of the reader from Harrow wholeheartedly. Whether Operation Market Garden was a success or a failure, militarily sound or more an expression of the ambition of some of the personalities involved, it should be remembered by generations which follow as an example of supreme sacrifice and unparalleled courage. The Operation may have failed in its goals but no soldiers have fought harder and achieved so much than the airborne forces in Market Garden.
Veterans of other brutal engagements such as Anzio and Omaha Beach attested that the fighting they experienced in Arnhem, Nijmegen and elsewhere was the most ferocious and sustained they had ever seen. These personal views of the troops merely confirm Ryan's own excellent and harrowing decriptions of the desperate and relentless fighting.
The human cost of the Operation was appalling which, since this was due largely to some really dreadful oversights made by the Allies in the planning of the operation, makes the astronomic casualty rate - and the superhuman courage of the ultimately doomed servicemen - all the more distressing.
Ryan's book is very comprehensive and expertly researched, often exclusively from the very Commanders involved in the Operation (right to the very top!). The story unfolds at pace and Ryan keeps the reader completely abreast of all the events and the situations facing all the hopeless and strewn units (as they happen simultaneously throughout the region) in a masterful way. You can feel the futility and frustration of the besieged units growing with every delay of the armoured column and every German reinforcement.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most complete and accurate version of this battle 26 July 1999
By A Customer
I have read A Bridege Too far twice because of the wealth of information and because I wanted to cross check it with another reference work. Mr. Ryan's work is superb. I have also read Christopher Hibbert's account of this epic battle and his story falls far short of the mark. I have also read General Roy Urquhart's story and he errs in only one area. That being how the entire set of battle plans falls into General Student's hands at the beginning of the battle. The footnote on page 255 in Mr. Ryan's book answers this question. When going from Mr. Ryan work to Mr. Hibbert work, I get the distinct impression that Mr. Ryan's book is fair and unbiased while Mr. Hibbert's is just the opposite. He blames General Eisenhower for the failure while the real blame for the failure should be at the doorstep of the 21st Army Group. Mr. Hibbert also says that the entire set of plans were found in the coat pocket of a dead American. This myth will easily be dispelled if you read the footnote that I mentioned above. Mr. Ryan's work is true and complete and he is also a marvelous storyteller. There were so many reasons for the failure of this battle that it is difficult to decide on the main reason. However, I truly feel that the main reason for the British failure at Arnhem was because they would not accept any information from the Dutch Underground, even after a visit to General Mongomery's headquarters by Crown Prince Bernhard who pleaded with him to re-evaluate the reports of Dutch Underground.They were polite but firm in their refusal to heed their information. Now I find that rather strange, because the British and Americans both listened to and rightly evaluated all of the other underground networks. The French, Polish, Norwegian..etc. why the fallout with the Dutch? Then I remembered reading a few years back a book by another famous author who explained why the British did not trust the Dutch Underground. Does anyone else know the answer to this riddle?
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history of a monumental battle. 3 Dec 1999
By A Customer
The battle for the Rhine bridges around Arnhem gets forgotten about because (from an allied perspective) it was a disaster and no-one likes to talk about their disasters. I found it very difficult to read this book because of the terrible things it described, but I couldn't put it down anyway. If you've seen the film and put the whole battle down as a relatively minor incident during WW2 you ought to read this book and learn just what went on. In it's way it's every bit as important as Normandy or Stalingrad and the people who were there, civilian and military, from whichever side, deserve to be remembered by us. Read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is truely an outstanding book. 1 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Ihave now read all of Cornelius Ryan's books and I can say that they are all works of art. With out doubt A Bridge Too Far is my personal favorite but every book that he has written has encapsulated the subject perfectly. It took Ryan seven years to research and write this book during which time he was suffering from cancer from which he later died. I think this book is testament to the fact that he was one of the greatest historical writers on WWII in the 20th century.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account Of Lesser-Known Battle 4 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Operation Market-Garden was the largest airborne offensive of WWII. However, it's not particularily well known for two reasons: One, it was a major defeat that likely prolonged the war for several months. Two, the American forces, while engaged in a major way, did not suffer the brunt of the losses.
Ryan does an excellent job of setting the stage and goes into great detail as to why Eisenhower and Monty pushed for this particular attack over other options (most notably Patton's thrust at the Saar). He also brings the story alive through his use of 1st person accounts by the people who actually fought the battle. This was a hugely complex military operation, and Ryan presents the story in a very clear way.
I ticked the rating down just a bit for a few reasons. The maps that Ryan provides, while excellent, are too few. For instance, maps that detailed the postions around the Arnhem and Nijemgen bidges are not presented; they would have been a huge help in understanding two of the key battles. Also, maps detailing the drop zones and relative positions of the British and German forces each day would have been most useful. It became a bit difficult to understand what was happening around Arnhem in the final two days of the battle, and maps would have helped.
My other gripe is that Ryan occasionally looses people in the story. For instance, I was a bit unsure what General Browning (The British commander) was up to for most of the battle. Pictures of some of the equipment (like gliders and such) would have also been fun. However, perhaps this would be a bit too Tom Clancyish...
Those minor points aside, the book is excellent. I thought it better presented than "The Longest Day"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read
Published 5 days ago by nigel garbutt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read.
Published 1 month ago by Headly
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving of the 'Classic' reputation
It's difficult to beat this book when it comes to the battle of Arnhem, it is not the best on the whole Market Garden operation as it is weighted too much to the events around... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nglaws
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Classic
"A Bridge Too Far" is the classic text on the history of Operation Market Garden. It is more detailed and less of a narrative history than Cornelius Ryan's other famous... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Neil Lennon
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly rated for Good Story
Good story well written, bought for personal reasons as my dad was in this war. Shame the book it self was poor quality paper and print. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chrissie Hudd
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written account of Arnhem.
I've watched the movie 'A Bridge too far' on a number of occasions and noticed it was based on Cornelius Ryans book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Commander Bod
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous, but very readable
I passed through Arnhem on holiday & saw the stunning museum. I also took time to visit the very moving war cemetery, so wanted to know more. Read more
Published 14 months ago by EJN
2.0 out of 5 stars Other books are better.
To me, this book was an interesting read spoilt by anti British, and specificaly, anti Field Marshall Montgomery tone. Read more
Published 15 months ago by bd cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best book about the Market-Garden operation.
I have never find such a detailed book about this failed operation.
Yes, for me , this has been a failed operation because it hasn't been able to achieve its final objective... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Carrosio Roberto
5.0 out of 5 stars Paras' Hinterland
I read this when it came out. My first intimation of the Market Garden operation was a fictionalised account of the action at Arnhem written by an anonymous veteran entitled "The... Read more
Published 17 months ago by gtanner
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