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Coward at the Bridge (Dick Coward 2) [Hardcover]

James Delingpole
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2009 Dick Coward 2
Trapped in a cupboard with a nubile blonde nymphomaniac; crossing the Waal under a hail of fire with the US paratroops of 82nd airborne; rattling in a jeep through the Dutch countryside with the men of 1st Airborne Recce Squadron; trying to take out a self-propelled gun with a ruddy useless PIAT. It's all in a day's work for Lt Dick Coward and Sgt Tom Price on their second published adventure. After the horrors of D-Day, they find themselves plunged into even greater chaos and mayhem as they land in the deceptively tranquil countryside around Arnhem, Holland, as part of Operation Market Garden. What should be a pushover - the ingenious scheme that everyone thinks will end the war by Christmas - turns into Britain's biggest military disaster of the Second World War. But if it's a cock-up, by golly is it a glorious one. Rarely if ever have Allied soldiers acquitted themselves better than the British, Americans and Poles, as they fought against the might of the SS, in their bid to capture 'The Bridge Too Far." As usual Coward and Price are in the thick of it. They have to be. If Coward doesn't get a VC this time, he'll be booted off the family estate for good, and stand no chance of winning the heart of the fickle, dangerously beguiling Gina. Will he get the medal? Will he get the girl? Will Price be driven so mad by his master's Bertie Wooster-like stupidity that he ends up throttling him first?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847373585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847373588
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

James Delingpole is a journalist, broadcaster and author of six books including How To Be Right, Thinly Disguised Autobiography, and the Dick Coward series. He writes for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Mail On Sunday, the Sunday Times, The Times, the Independent On Sunday on everything from rock to culture to politics and gardening. He is married with children and lives in South London.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Fantastic Read Imaginable 12 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover
"Coward at the Bridge" is the second novel in James Delingpole's Dick Coward Adventure Series. It's set amid the mayhem of Operation Market Garden with Dick Coward and Price, as usual, in the thick of the action. And if you're after a brilliantly authentic war novel - or just a brilliant read generally - you can't do better than buy yourself a copy. It is enthralling, pacy, pitch-perfect in its historical realism and written in the elegant, vigorous prose style of a master: fact and fiction, drama and adventure are all superbly balanced. It is also extremely funny (I laughed aloud sufficiently often over this book that it was necessary to sit in a room on my own to read it) and frequently moving.

Because the market is saturated with books about the Second World War, most indistinguishable from the next, Coward at the Bridge should come with a warning: nothing else in the genre is close to being this good. As a storyteller and craftsman, James Delingpole is in a league of his own. He keeps you glued to the very last page when, exhausted and elated, you can at last put the book down and get yourself some sleep.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun 20 July 2009
By Tweedy
Format:Hardcover
James Delingpole has really delivered here. At a time where there are a few WW2 books about (James Holland and Michael Asher etc) this one really stands out, perhaps it's only weakness being an insipid cover.
The author really tugs the emotions here, spreading wit and pathos in equal measure with some very entertaining characterisation.
This is a real romp from start to finish and highly recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than '...on the beach' 20 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Flashman and a great reader of WW2 fiction (although strangely as a genre there isn't that much of it) but picked up 'Coward on the beach' with a bit of trepidation. The idea that Dick Coward has to win a VC to inherit his fathers estate and ends up flying Spits in the Battle of Britain, fighting under cover with the Germans at Stalingrad, escaping from the Japanese in Burma etc is dangerously close to farcical. Flashman worked by being very, very plausible and I had the nasty feeling that 'Coward' would fall flat because it just wasn't plausible. However I was pleasantly suprised... it worked. Just. So I bought book two.

This is much, much better. Cowards character has developed nicely, the rather over-done Price plays a back seat and nothing James Delingpole could make up could be more farcical than General Brownings decisions during Market Garden (such as using 38 precious gliders to fly his HQ into Holland and having the Poles dropped South of Arnhem bridge while their vehicles and heavy weapons were dropped north of the river!). As with Flashy Coward manages to be in the thick of just about every battle of the campaign but how he moves between them is believable and the story doesn't depend on inplausible coincidences. In format 'Coward at the Bridge' is more like Flashman than the first book with some very good historical notes at the back and an extremely useful bibliography which I'm going to use to chase up some further reading. As with Flashman you'll probably appreciate this book more if you appreciate the real events, although Wikipedia and the movie 'A bridge too far' are all you'll need.

Any comedy in this book is very very black humour.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wink too far... 29 Sep 2010
By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the second volume of Delingpole's Dick Coward adventures - it opens with him trapped in a cupboard with beautiful nymphomaniac, closes with him entwined with a pair of young herefordshire ladies in a menage a trois, and in between he is having more fun being shot at while losing the Battle of Arnhem.

Volume II is a direct sequel to Coward on the Beach, and the war in Europe is nearing its end: with 10 volumes planned by the author, I don't think another 8 can be fitted 6 months. This means, I assume, that some later Coward volumes will be "flashbacks" to adventures alluded to previously - Burma, the Western Desert, flying Spits, Crete, fighting with the brave defenders of Stalingrad (well, the German ones anyway) and so on. To a degree that may also be necessary as Coward has now achieved the fame (and fortune) that he was fighting WWII to win.

There is less Price here - a mixed blessing, as we get more focus on Dick Coward, but miss Price's no-nonsense approach to war - and Coward seems more sympathetic than he did in "on the Beach". Operation Market Garden is told accurately, and if it seems improbable that one man could have so many adventures...well, that's wartime for you.
Bridge is better than Beach, but not as good as Flashman at his best. Which brings me to the quibble in the review title: its all very well to write a WWII homage to Flashy, really it is. But please, there is no need to beat us over the head with that in the endnotes. One simple reference is sufficient to refer interested readers, but three is the literary equivalent of Madonna's conical foot-long bra: unnecessary, distracting, and frankly just a bit much.

Still, if that's the worst complaint I have about the book - and it is - that means it's a pretty good read, aimed at lovers of military history who don't mind a mention of sex and benzedrine on the side.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it
Published 17 days ago by Mr Darrin D Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars It's coward, what's not too love?
I'd never read delingpole before and so this was just a stab in the dark. Glad to say that I loved it though. Kept me amused, entertained and enthralled all the way through. Read more
Published 10 months ago by pups110
3.0 out of 5 stars "Would you like some stereotype with your cliche sir?" "Very good...
I can see what Delingpole was trying to do with the Coward series. I too was pretty put out when George MacDonald Frasier died and I realized there would be no more Flashman... Read more
Published 17 months ago by MACLUSKY
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun
Very enjoyable. One got a real sense of both the horror and excitement of battle and also of the sort of extremes that take place during war.
Published 22 months ago by ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first
I won't say too much as I got carried away reviewing the first book.I liked this one even more and think the author has very quickly got into his stride. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by Dr. D. R. Purchase
3.0 out of 5 stars An Improvement
COWARD AT THE BRIDGE is the second in the series of Dick Coward adventures and sees that worthy caught up in Operation Market Garden. Read more
Published on 15 July 2011 by Hereward
5.0 out of 5 stars a rip roaring improvement on the first Coward
Oh I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

This had me grabbed from page 1 - the first couple of lines are hilarious and I'm glad to say it continues right the... Read more
Published on 11 July 2011 by An avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Bawd and Bullets
I enjoyed this, but it is a very hard book to categorise. There is a bit of Tom Sharpe in here, along with Leslie Thomas, maybe a bit of Jeeves and Wooster too! Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2010 by Nick Brett
3.0 out of 5 stars Close but no cigar
Coward at the Bridge is a romp, bawdy in parts and with some well written battlefield sequences. My concern is that Dalingpole's writing is something of a blunt instrument. Read more
Published on 4 Nov 2010 by niallandubh
4.0 out of 5 stars Delingpole's getting better!
I read the first Coward book, Coward on the Beach, when it was published and, while I enjoyed it, would not have given it 4 stars. This book is much better! Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by drifter542
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