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Pegasus Bridge: D-Day - the Daring British Airborne Raid
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2005
This is the story of the Ox and Bucks regiment who captured Pegasus bridge on D-Day. This book is superb and gives an excellent account of the importance of the mission and the training of the men leading up to the actual assault and capture of the bridge. It then goes on to explain how the bridge was held and includes good detail of when the re-enforcements arrived. This book is written very well and it has lots of eye witness accounts in it by people who were actually there. I visited the bridge during the 60th anniversary of D-Day and I would certainly reccommend reading this book prior to visiting the bridge. This will ensure that you know the full facts and will increase your interest when you see the bridge and its surrounding areas. This book has inspired me to purchase another book titled "The devils own luck" which is about the Ox and Bucks regiment after Pegasus bridge up to the end of the war.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2003
I couldn't put this book down, very well written and moves along at a nice pace. Covering everything from the 2 year period before the landings to the 'where are they now' summary. The only fault I can bring is that it is too short, missing out on other vital story lines from the event - but I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere, and the author does explain that this book was written as a lighter experience for him after his Eisenhower epic he had just finished.
Ambrose has a problem with criticizing other sections/high command without elaborating - but again there were other stories to tell from that day.
Altogether a good read and a nice prelude to more investigation of the event.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2004
Much like the other reviewers here, I could not put this book down. Ambrose has captured the personalities well in this account and builds a solid background to the key characters and the events leading upto the attack itself as well as focusing on the day itself.
Also of note is the respect paid to all parties at the bridge that day: you feel as much respect and admiration for the German commander and the French Gondreé family (whose cafe was key terrain in the attack) as you do for the British glider pilots and soldiers.
I was left feeling disappointed that the unit that had been assembled and had trained so hard for one day was then allowed to drift from battle to battle when they could have been put to so much more use. You also feel a tinge of sadness as the numbers dwindle at each annual reunion at the bridge as time marches on after the war ended.
I read this in the weeks running up to the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and was fortunate enough to see an interview with Jim Wallwork, the pilot who earnt the honour of "the best flying of the entire Second World War". Having read the book, my only regret was that I couldn't reach into the TV and shake his hand.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2002
This is a reprint of one of Ambrose's earlier books, and it's come to light because of the popularity of Band of Brothers. It's very much in the same style as B-o-B, easy to read, interesting, lucid, and not at all like the dire Wild Blue.
It tells the story of one of the British Army's most dashing actions in a very personal way - concentrating on the characters involved in the glider landing on Pegasus Bridge. The timeline is well maintained, and it makes it a real page-turner.
To be picky, I would have liked to have read more about the reasons the paras stayed in the field so long after D-Day, rather than just criticising High Command; and the book doesn't say much about the battle the relief troops had to keep out German counter-attacks, even though it was serious enough to call for support from the glider troops they had relieved. Better maps would have been nice, but as Ambrose includes copies of the actual orders given to the unit, and the intelligence briefing they used, you always know roughly where you are.
In short - read 'Pegasus Bridge', especially if you enjoyed Band of Brothers or Blackhawk Down. And it's much better than Wild Blue. Honest.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 January 2006
...except this one happens to be true. Of all the stories of 6 June 1944, few are as extraordinary - or as important - as this one. The description of the taking and holding of Pegasus Bridge by British airborne troops under the command of the late Maj. John Howard just after midnight on 6 June, including the training leading up to it and the aftermath, is an amazing one. The glider landing, in a tiny space through barbed wire and within yards of the bridge itself, was described as the best bit of flying of the whole of the war. It all went perfectly to plan, one of the few things on D-Day that did. One can only wonder what would have happened had it not - and be thankful that it did (not to mention that Hitler had gone to bed and could not be disturbed to release the Panzer Divisions under his personal command).

One of the old soldiers interviewed by Ambrose stopped a German tank by holding his fire until the thing was almost on top of him. "Now don't you be making me out to be some sort of hero!" he said. To which Ambrose delightfully retorted that he didn't make heroes, he merely wrote about them. And he does very well. The story is well-written and gripping.

A nice touch. One of the reinforcing paratroopers dropped in after the initial glider assault was a Captain Richard Todd. Todd was later to play Maj. Howard in the Darryl Zanuck fim "The Longest Day".
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2002
A well written and pacey account of the build up and action surrounding the taking of Pegasus Bridge in 1944. Concise detail added to the excitement of the tale. Even in the short time it took to read the book, I felt I got to know some of the brave men who took part in this action.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2004
This is a boys own story that I first heard about in comics and the film Longest Day when a lad. The book put flesh on the bones and told of the brave efforts of those who took part, some of of whom had never fired a shot in anger. But as with all things in life I learnt so much more from the personal recollections of those brave men. The story of the Victory that day was dulled some what with the realisation that some of those who survived the Longest Day were wasted after by the Commanders after the bridges had been taken in the ensuing battles that followed in the fields of France.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2004
Before I read this book I had little knowledge of the allied D-Day airborne assault carried out on the location known since as 'Pegasus Bridge'. Overall the author does a good job of explaining the planning preperations involved over many months before hand and then about what happened on the day and then in the weeks, months and years since. He makes it clear what a crucial and brilliantly executed task this was in very difficult circumstances indeed by the British Army personell involved. What I found a bit disappointing was that though the author said his own intention was to 'get down to the level of a company commander and his men,where the action is' to use his own words from the preface, I found that while he did do so to some extent, there seemed to be some quite protracted areas of fighting on the day concerned which were just referred to in the space of a line or two. Rather than a 'blow by blow' account I'd say this is more of a summary with important details picked out and other aspects just touched upon. It may well be that at the time of writing, with all the passing of time not enough of the people who were there were alive to be able to talk to and or that the authors own time to track people down was limited. It maybe that I have been spoilt by other accounts (such as for example that of H. MOORE & J.L. Galloways 'We were soldiers once ...and young' which contains an astonshingly thorough man by man account of a different battle in Vietnam all be it written much closer to the event than Ambrose had the chance top do here). Ambrose focuses mainly on a few of the characters involved.
In summary still pretty good and easy to read but more of a strategic approach than trully soldier by soldier blow by blow log of events.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2006
Over the last few years’ popular history has been re-written by films such as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers (both excellent by the way) into believing that the D-Day landings were a US only operation.
Not so, and this superb account by Stephen E Ambrose details the daring glider raid to capture the Pegasus Bridge spanning the Orne Canal by the British 6th Airborne Division in the first few minutes of D-Day.
Major John Howard and his troops seized and held the bridge (of great strategic importance to the landings) taking its German defenders by complete surprise. The book also details the death of Lt. Den Brotheridge - the first allied soldier to lose his life on D-Day.
A thoroughly engrossing and moving read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2004
This is a boys own story that I first heard about in comics and the film Longest Day. The book put flesh on the bones and told of the brave efforts who took part some of of whom had never fired a shot in anger. But as with all things in life I learnt so much more from the personal recollections of those brave men. The story was dulled some what with the realisation that some of those who survived the Longest Day were wasted after by the Commanders after the bridges had been taken in the ensuing battles that followed in the fields of France.
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