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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
A Bridge Too Far (Hodder Great Reads)
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on 6 April 2012
The story of Operation Market Garden is one that is often overshadowed by other World War II operations like Overlord (D-Day) and The Battle of the Bulge. Yet, had its outcome been different, the whole history of World War II may have been different. What if the allies had been able to invade Germany though the Ruhr Valley and captured Berlin in 1944?

I thought Ryan presented a well rounded history that was well researched. He lays out the story from beginning to end through the perspective of all sides. He shows the story unfolding from the eyes of all the allies (American, British, and Polish), the defending Germans, as well as the civilians directly involved. The great part is that a large portion of personal interviews are used in the writing of the story and researched to document their accuracy. Ryan does an excellent job of detailing the actual Operation itself, but he doesn't stop there. He also imparts to the reader the background leading up to the planning of the Operation, the politics behind its conception, and the critical errors that allowed the mission to proceed despite the high chance of failure. You will be inspired by the heroism displayed against insurmountable odds. Anyone with any interest in World War II will love this book.

My first introduction to Operation Market Garden was the game Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far (PC CD). It is a little dated now, but if the story intrigues you, take command of the forces in Operation Market Garden and determine the outcome of the battle yourself.
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on 3 June 2015
Without a doubt, my favourite history book of the WW2 era.

Weaving a masterful tale of civilian struggle, epic battles, and fateful military decisions at high command, Ryan (who wrote most of this book on his deathbed) presents the definitive story of the doomed allied attempt to end the Second World War in a bold stroke with the launch of Operation Market Garden. Plagued by bad luck, fateful indecision, and stubborn German resistance, the descriptions of war have lost none of their potency as we chart the British, American, and Polish struggle to win a campaign that was supposed to last no more than two days (it went on for ten)

Although lacking up to date modern material, and recently discovered material from Dutch and German archives (it was written in the 1970s) A bridge too far retains all of its vibrant relevancy.

Military history books can often suffer from tedious descriptions of military organisation or fall into the trap that war isn't really that bad. This book is neither, plotting a line between both extremes.

Although a keen military historian, there was never a sense that a layman reading about Market Garden for the first time, would find much to trouble them, detail wise. As mentioned, it's the perfect blend of narrative and human drama.
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on 29 March 2013
I have never find such a detailed book about this failed operation.
Yes, for me , this has been a failed operation because it hasn't been able to achieve its final objective that was to occupy a bridge on the Rhine and so to achieve a breakthrough to the heart of the Reich; it has , instead, achieved an advance into a swamp 10 km before the Rhine, with the loss of many members of some of the best Allied units (the Airborne ones).
Through the first-hand accounts of the soldiers of both sides and of dutch civilians the author is able to tell the complete story of the operation, clarifying all the , until that moment, unknown aspects: how it was possible for allied aerial reconnassaince not to spot two Panzer divisions; who decided the location for the initial allied dropping zones; why the planes transporting the 1st Airborne Division didn't take off on the 2nd day, while the ones transporting the american paratroopers had not this problem; how the capture of the allied plans happened and what the germans thought about them; who decided where to send the Polish paratroopers; and so on.
Buy this book because it's the best one about this subject and have respect for all the dead of all the wars.
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on 20 November 2015
I read this in my teens 30years ago, I plan to read again now it's on kindle. If memory serves
I think Ryan states the Dutch staff college had run a pre war scenario "how would you attack Arnhem from Nijmegen. I would have loved to know more but it was not discussed further.
Anyone else pick up on this?
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on 1 December 1998
After reading all three of Ryan's classic accounts of World War Two there is no question that this is his best work. "A Bride Too Far" has the same gripping writing style as "The Longest Day" and "The Last Battle" but it is vastly more exciting and awe inspiring. The heroic story of the British Airborne and the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions is an account of extreme bravery and sacrifice. To read this story is to understand the horror of war and the bravery of the Allies. An over-ambitious mission traps British Airborne troops deep in enemy territory and the story of their fight against unbeleivable odds is the most exciting part of the novel. Everyone who reads this story will have a greater appreciation for those who fought and died in Europe.
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on 11 November 2015
Had he lived Cornelius Ryan would almost certainly have been acclaimed as one of the first modern historians.Although his trilogy of books, two of which were made into films, were written some fifteen to twenty years after the events he writes from the perspective and knowledge of a person who truly knew what it was like to take part in the Second World War. He flew on thirteen bombing missions with the USAF, a perilous undertaking, and was later attached to Patons Third Army.
I read these as a teenager when they were first published and with the passage of more than forty years they are equal to the works of Beevor and Hastings.

Lets hope 'The Longest Day' is added to Kindle soon.
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on 19 May 2014
It's difficult to beat this book when it comes to the battle of Arnhem, it is not the best on the whole Market Garden operation as it is weighted too much to the events around Arnhem itself and therefore quite different to the film, but make no mistake the efforts of the US airborne troops and British ground forces are covered but it's really the efforts of the British Airborne forces that take most of this books pages up. Ryan gives them great justice too, and easy to read, humbling and thought provoking book that serves as a great testament to those who fought in the battle. Full of great footnotes, anecdotes, a truly wonderful read.
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on 4 June 2013
I passed through Arnhem on holiday & saw the stunning museum. I also took time to visit the very moving war cemetery, so wanted to know more.

Ryan's research not only included the historical records, but he also interviewed UK, US, Dutch, Polish & German survivors from all ranks. He tells us what happened in a superb narrative that makes this book difficult to put down. I would have liked to have known more of what happened to the surviving participants, & possible detailed citations for VC, Medal of Honor, Iron Cross winners.

Superb historical reading
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on 28 June 2015
Gripping book that brings to the story of Operation Market-Garden the various perspectives of the groups involved, from the Dutch underground and civilians as well as the various intelligence operatives to the German, British and American forces.The only issue with the book is that the print is awful making most of the maps very hard to read. Its a shame that as a "Classic Book" Hodder could not have put more effort into the quality of the print, especially at the £9 price tag. That aside would whole heartedly recommend this book to any WWII enthusiast.
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on 25 January 1999
Few authors of military hostory can touch Cornelius Ryan and this is probably his magnum opus. It focuses on Operation Market Garden, the unsuccessful allied attempt to capture a foothold across the Rine with airborne forces. As always, he delivers a vivid account of the drama and tragedy, as well as the lighter side of combat. Ryan tends to focus on the tactical and operational aspects of war, but this book also gives an excellent account of the conception and planning that led up to the operation and the grand strategy that revolved around it.
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