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Coward at the Bridge Audio Download – Unabridged

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An odd mix of mostly hey-wot characters and ribald humour on the one hand, and truly awful historical fact on the other. Not sure what my late father (a Glider Pilot who went into Arnhem) would have made of it.... Not sure what I made of it. There were a few things in it I hadn't heard about before, and I found that aspect of the book interesting. Curiously, I was left thinking that Arnhem had been even worse than I already knew it had been, and once again reminded of how old soldiers generally kept shtum (at least where their wives and children were concerned) about the terrible things they experienced . Hm, overall, I think I found it a little irreverent, actually.
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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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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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Format: Paperback
I had both books bought for me, and on balance this one is less bad than the first, in the way that tuberculous is less bad than HIV. Still a disgrace to the Flashman memory though, which is so obviously aims to emulate.
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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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By Manly Reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2010
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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