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Coward at the Bridge (Dick Coward 2) Hardcover – 1 Jun 2009


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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: 22 x 3.2 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 738,431 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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! This is a bawdy and semi comic romp set within the Airborne assault of Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in 1944.

Dick Coward and his trusty sergeant Price join the forces that dropped into Arnhem in what was anticipated to be an easy mission to take the bridge, Coward is keen to prove to his father that he is worthy of inheriting the family estate and Price wants to keep Coward alive while killing as many of the enemy as possible.

Told from the perspective of an elderly Coward recounting his life's adventures this blends an accurate and detailed military perspective with the light touch of very entertaining characters. The author treads a careful path between respect for the military action and the lives lost but injects circumstantial humour around his lead character. The Brits are shown with a stoic and sarcastic humour in the face of considerable adversity and the author also resists the opportunity to make light of the Americans, instead showing their enormous bravery as they tried to support the beleaguered British troops. In the middle of this we have the likeable Coward trying to do his best but ending up in all sorts of scrapes ranging from the bawdy to the circumstantial. The one liners zip around as much as the bullets.

This is the second in what I thought would be a long series, but I sense that the author has resolved things to the degree that he does not need to continue if his inclination takes him elsewhere. That would be a shame as the balancing act shown here demonstrates his ability but I also understand that this must be a hard book to market.

Worth seeking out.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Jackson on 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 By Peter Symonds on 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 Novels. Delingpole's book is fun, light weight, cliched but you always have the feeling that you've read it all before somewhere better written, Shifting the action to World War Two with some revisionist insight on weaponry doesn't disguise the fact.

Upper class amorous hero with a horrible family with asides to having fought in every campaign in the second world war on a mission to win a V.C.? -hmmm. Highly original. Still well worth a read though.
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