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We Fought at Arnhem Paperback – 26 Apr 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552162337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552162333
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Three soldiers tell the true story of the mission that became known as 'a bridge too far'.

From the Inside Flap

The battle for the rail and road bridges over the Rhine at Arnhem lasted for nine days, and almost twelve thousand men took part. We Fought at Arnhem tells the remarkable stories of three of those men.

Ron Jordan, Pat Gorman and Tom Carpenter had all seen combat in other theatres of the war and each had volunteered for one of the toughest jobs in the military, that of airborne troops. But the battle for Arnhem would be the greatest challenge any of them were to face during the war. For all three, it would end in capture and incarceration in a prisoner of war camp.

Operation Market Garden started to go wrong in the first hours after the landings. Fighting was spread over a large area. Poor communication and tough resistance from German forces meant that even the most senior commanders were ignorant of what was happening to their men just a few miles away. Individually, Ron, Pat and Tom saw action in all the main parts of the battle - at the bridge itself, in the town of Arnhem and in the village of Oosterbeek. Their experiences give us an insight into the whole battle.

The battle for Arnhem has gone down in history as a glorious defeat, a combination of hubris and bad planning leading to disaster. But it also revealed the best of the fighting British soldier and stands as a testament to the courage, determination and valiant sacrifice of the men who fought for their country. The stories of Ron, Pat and Tom reveal the true drama of those days from the soldiers' point of view in honest, searing and inspiring detail.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have studied and read about Operation Market Garden for many years now (possibly too many years) and so I bought this book on the understanding that it was a retelling of the story from the perspective of three men who were actually there. However, although the three veterans in question all have nicely written introductions as to how they ended up fighting in one of the most famous British battles of recent history but then their roles in the story almost fizzle out as the author takes it upon himself to tell us the history of the operation, yet again, as this has been told many times before and by writers with more military understanding than this one. Several mistakes are made, admittedly small ones; '4th Airborne Division' rather than '4th Parachute Brigade' as an example but still these are unnecessary mistakes when there is so much reference available today. As someone who has read many books about the battle I found myself 'flipping' through large sections of text and trying to piece together the three veterans stories as that's the reason I bought the book in the first place.

Eventually the book does return to the veterans and we're able to pick up their stories, albeit with a wary eye on the factual details :)

Admittedly with so many other books available regarding Market Garden and the battle for Arnhem, this one has a tough job to keep its head above water but it manages to do so with the minimum of effort.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you are only going to read one book about the battle of Arnhem then why not make it this one?

It admirably combines the personal stories of three soldiers who were there, with a very good overview of the battle in Arnhem itself and the wider Market Garden operation. I can't agree with another UK reviewer's opinion that this is both unnecessary or indeed not well done. On the contrary I think the author has given a very informative summary of the key elements in the operation. At the time the three characters featured in the book knew nothing of what was happening outside their immediate experience, and their accounts are refreshingly new. Indeed, one of the failures repeated over and over again in many books on Arnhem is to rely on the same eye witness material, often given by officers and not enough by the lower ranks. This is particularly important in the case of Arnhem as many officers were regular army, new to Airborne operations and lacking the tough training of the men they were commanding. The ordinary soldier often has a very different perspective and is often in a better position to see the immediate consequences of actions taken.

The author has tried to show the chaotic nature of unfolding events as remembered, and how that tallies with the bigger picture. Hence the need to give an overview of the operation's history. The bravery of those on the ground isn't in question, much of the responsibility for the failure lies with bad planning and execution at very senior level in both British and American commands. But it is also true to say that once on the ground many fundamental mistakes were made by field commanders, not least at Arnhem. Crucial opportunities were lost from the very outset.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was much taken with this book. I read if from the position of a former Para who wanted a more personal view of the operation to capture the bridge at Arnhem in which my former regiment played such a large part. I've read the official histories, of course, but this book added an extra dimension to the story; that of three individual soldiers who took part in the various stages of the battle and survived to tell their respective tales.
These are very personal accounts interwoven with an overview of the operation which pulled few punches. The matter-of-fact telling of actions underscored the supreme bravery of those taking part. I would not hesitate to recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Have to disagree with these reviews, as the book is riddled with mistakes.

For example, p85 the Author mentions 6 Para Brigade - no such formation ever existed, it was the 6th Airlanding Brigade.

P185 - Colonel Dobie of the 3rd Battalion - Dobie was in command of the 1st Battalion.

P358 - mention of a General Kissin - should be Kussin.

It does make you wonder if this Authors other books are also riddled with such mistakes.... was this not proof-read for facts? Or checked by an expert?

I could go on, but I don't really want to waste my time.

The idea of the book seemed good - to get a better look at Arnhem, but unfortunately, this has not really worked.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A book that tells a story like the battle of Arnhem through the eyes of 3 different veterans is a good idea. The story of how soldiers operated tactically on the ground, and the problems they faced in achieving their objectives, should make for a compelling read. This is especially true when an operation doesn't go according to plan, both because of the improvisation required by the soldiers and also the human drama that normally accompanies the chaos of unexpected battles.

However, while We Fought At Arnhem focuses to a certain extent on the groups that included the 3 veterans, it mainly details the problems that were faced by the Allied forces in general and how the problems of individual units combined to cause the ultimate failure of the operation. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but the book claims a different proposition, one which it does not deliver. There is much too little heard from the men themselves - interviews interspersed with some background when necessary would have been far more effective at telling their story - and the book assumes a good knowledge of the geography of the area and a decent understanding of military structure. I kept looking back to the maps included to find that places that were mentioned repeatedly weren't shown on any maps, and the various troop movements didn't seem to correspond to the map images. Also, the myriad divisions/brigades/regiments that are mentioned left me constantly querying Wikipedia to try to understand how the structure fitted together. Is it too much to ask to include a page, as some other books do, that gives a brief outline of the number of men in a unit and how the formation is built (e.g. x platoons in a company, y companies in a battalion, z battalions in a regiment, etc)?

Ultimately, We Fought At Arnhem was a good idea, but not one that was delivered very well, which ironically mirrors the situation at the battle of Arnhem that the author was trying to describe.
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