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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worthy of the people whose story it tells.
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...
Published on 14 Jun 2000

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but out of date
Whilst remaining an excellent starting book for the study of Operation Market-Garden. This book is quite confusing in places, notably the way you can get "lost" and not understand what really is happening in the battle at times. It remains the best book available over here about the American aspect of Market-Garden, however it has been surpassed by other...
Published on 2 Oct 1999


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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worthy of the people whose story it tells., 14 Jun 2000
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. Whilst maintaining this strategic overview of the implications of what was happening on the ground - and what wasn't happening back on the airfields of England and back with XXX Corps - there is room in Ryan's book for every bit of detail.
The passages describing individual skirmishes and assaults are minutely detailed and expertly described, including not only the action but also the bizarre snapshots of images and thoughts, the quirky behaviour and especially the grim humour. If you want to read about Market Garden then 'A Bridge Too Far' is a must. If you're interested in military history or accounts of the courage, resolve and success of fighting men then read this and remember them.
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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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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
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Paperback)
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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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
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Paperback)
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
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written, 20 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Hodder Great Reads) (Paperback)
By taking the journalistic approach, whilst ensuring the facts are as accurate as he could get them, Ryan's account of operation market garden is fascinating, compelling and at the same time personal.

Shifting between allied and German combatants, and the civilians caught in between, we follow events by the accounts of various groups of people.

Lives are pushed to the limit. Both good and evil, honour and dishonour are done in the extremes of battle.

Reading this reminds us that real people, not so different from you and I, experienced tension, fear and stress so far beyond our own lives that I at several points wondered if I would ever have been that brave or lucid, or would i have fallen apart like some did. I suspect many readers had similar thoughts.

Particularly fascinating is the experience of war at an indivual level, and the often surprisngly matter of fact relationship between enemies. Both Germans and allies could cooperate on matters of tending to injured or making arrangements for surrender and at times each showed the other mercy and kindess in the midst of all the violence.

By 'zooming' the focus of the book in and out of various individuals and groups of people we get the bigger picture at the same time as appreciating the smaller picture. A Superbly written book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book................., 1 July 2011
By 
This book, amongst all of the others that I own has, for many years been my favourite read. No idea how many times I've read it but, on each reading, such is the way that Ryan has written it, I am convinced that the Allies are going to do it, that Frost will hold out, that XXX corps will reach him in time and that it will bring to fruition the idea that the war would end sooner than it did.

The words hero and heroes is bandied about too much these days, so much so that society has lost sight of what real heroism is all about, get your eyes tested, focused and get this book to bring those words back into perspective.

It is a wonderful, wonderful piece of writing and if you were to read one book alone that depicts what tenacity, determination, courage and heroism really is, then this is the book for you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius.Period, 21 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Paperback)
This is Cornelius Ryan's masterpiece dealing with the ill-fated Allied invasion of Holland in 1944.Unlike most other works on the subject,which tend to focus primarily on the Battle of Arnhem and the role of the 1st Airborne Division,this gem of a book goes into tremendous detail about the whole affair,basically encompassing a three-week period in September 1944,from the inception of Operation "Market-Garden" to its bitter conclusion. All points of view are covered,from the Allied commanders who devised the attack and those who fought in the subsequent battle,their German counterparts,the ordinary front-line soldiers(who at times are bemused and then cynical regarding the decisions made by the "brass hats") and of course not forgetting the populace of Arnhem and Oostersbeek,who welcomed the paratroopers as liberators,only to be swiftly disillusioned and who would then bear the brunt of the Nazi reprisals in the bleak winter of 1944-45. Mr.Ryan skilfully blends narrative with first person accounts in order to keep the story flowing.His superb way of describing the scenarios encountered,in particular the arrival of the airborne armadas over Holland,will stick in the mind long afterwards.(My personal favourite is in the fourth part of the book,when in one awesome paragraph,beginning with 'From the smoking ruins of Arnhem...',he captures the moment when the second lift of the airborne forces materialises over the battlefront AND the psychological effect of this upon the combatants.Magnificent!). Naturally the book is not without its flaws.Mr.Ryan is somewhat overfond of the term 'bolstered' and sprinkles it around liberally.He also seems to lose count of the number of airborne troops involved,thus the total number of paratroopers mentioned seems well in excess of the 35000 who were actually dropped in over the nine days of the operation.Then there is the query over the odd fact or two(for instance,one of the recipients of the Victoria Cross,whom he describes as being killed in action,was actually captured and died later in a POW camp). However these are all minor quibbles and in no way detract from the storyline.To me though,the most staggering accomplishment about this book is that it was written while Mr.Ryan was terminally ill with cancer and towards the end,he was struggling to stay alive just to finish it.(He died shortly after its completion in 1974). By itself the book is excellent.Add to this that it was penned by a dying man(and was in fact his whole raison d'etre)and only one description will suffice:Pure Genius.Period
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The worst allied disaster of the war ?, 29 Oct 2003
By 
Mr. M. L. Evans (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read many books on the many battles of World War II but this one is by far the most superior.
Forget any notions you may have that Montgomery was a great military leader and tactician. This book exposes the truth about the greatest prima donna serving on the allied command, forget Patton.
Monty's push for this operation claimed that an Airborne 'carpert' of men and supplies dropped over German held Holland would open up a corridor for the Tanks of XXX corps to roll through and thus spill into Germanys industrial heartland, the Rhur, was a fantastic plan with fantastic failures.
The book describes in detail the courage of the allies to overcome an army they thought was in diseray and retreat and found they could not have been more wrong.
The British Airborne drop around Arnhem is the main crutch of the book, it tells the reader in absolute detail how 8000 troops were dropped in and around the town and how less than 2000 made they're way out after finding Bittrich's Panzer battalion stationed there. The grim reality of the Allied commands, and in particular, Monty and his staffs knowledge of the situation prior to the drop makes the book absoloutley riveting.
My great uncle is a veteran of the Arnhem drop and when asked for his opinion on this book he simply said 'it's all here'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Bridge Too Far (Hodder Great Reads) (Paperback)
Good read.
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A Bridge Too Far (Hodder Great Reads)
A Bridge Too Far (Hodder Great Reads) by Cornelius Ryan (Paperback - 28 Jun 2007)
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