The Longest Day: The D-Day Story, June 6th, 1944 Paperback – 8 Sep 2010
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'Fifty years from now, the history of D-Day will, I'm sure, lean heavily on this book.' --New York Times Book Review
'If you have read all the accounts of D-Day or none of them, if you were in the fighting or on the sidelines, you will be spellbound, as I was, by this magnificent retelling of a glorious and tragic story.' --Lt. General James Gavin
'Ryan's classic military study.' --Publishers Weekly
From the Author
It is an excellent book for college students.
We are suggesting the book for all students to read because it gives such an excellent view of that part of history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the most amazing things for me was how ordinary guys, placed in extraordinary situations, can do extraordinary things. Like the young, inexperienced Americans, caught in the bloody shambles of Omaha Beach, who nevertheless fought their way off that beach and gained a beachhead. Or the British paratroopers, dropped to take a heavily-defended German artillery strongpoint of over 250 men, and having lost all but 150 of their 700 men and all their heavy equipment, nevertheless did it. Or the US Army Rangers who scaled the nine-story cliffs of Pointe du Hoc in the face of intense small arms and grenade bombardment to take out big German guns (which turned out not to be there yet!).
To emphasise this, Ryan presents in the end a list of his interviewees and what they were doing then (when the book was published). "Bricklayer", "shop assistant", "chemical worker", "male nurse". These extraordinary heroes of the greatest amphibious operation ever undertaken against the foulest tyranny ever seen had simply disappeared back into ordinary life.
Ryan also tells the story from the German side, dispassionately and with sensitivity, reflecting the fact that these other ordinary guys were also only doing their job.
In the end, what shines through is the human qualities of all the participants, on both sides. If only our various governments would use these properly, and not misuse them, as Adolf Hitler did, we could have a much better world
Later writers (such as Steven Ambrose) rely very heavily on Ryan and fail to capture the sheer scale of the exercise, the range of experiences and the extraordinary circumstances individuals found themselves in while still conveying the sheer tatical and strategic sweep of the operation. (Interestingly enough a few modern authors claim to be 'definitive' and yet do not credit Ryan in their sources, draw your own conclusions)
Also pleasing is Ryan's inclusion of the different nationalities involved on all sides. One gets a true picture of the fantastic common effort of troops (ordinary people before and after the war) from many countries allied against the Axis. Later writers tend to write for one audience / marjet and by concentrating on one nation / army overlook perhaps the most important factor of the day - the fantastic and selfless co-operation and courage fielded against tyranny.
Higly recommended for all - especially those squandering money on recent and less accomplished histories.
Having interviewed over 1,000 individuals who took part in the action on that day, he weaves their personal experiences together seamlessly leaving the reader thoroughly engrossed.
Numerous tales of heroism, which those that took part simply considered normal, can seem somewhat unrealistic to the younger generations. That is what makes this book so rivetting.
Unlike some authors more recently, Ryan does not become enmeshed in regurgitation of numbers. To him the most important objective was to get this story across in the words of those people who really understood what happened that day.
Of great interest is how the book is finished. What jobs those who were interviewed had in 1959 when the book was published for the first time. So many extraordinary people with ordinary jobs. But their exploits will never be forgotten as long as people read books such as this.
Capt. SLL Staff Officer, Tactics Branch, Danish Army Combat school.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another warped US account of history, and really utter garbage. A simple example illustrates how ludicrous Ryan is. Read morePublished 10 months ago by truth be told
The definitive account, of D Day based on extensive interviews. While reading one does see the subsequent film in one's mind, but the power of the writing shines through.Published 11 months ago by David James
Well written, some of today's writers should read this if only to learn there tradePublished 14 months ago by Mr. M. J. Cornell