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Once again unbeatable reading
on 6 March 2008
The story of the 1944 military blunder at Arnhem has been given the authoritative After the Battle treatment. Dutch author Karel Margry's masterly work blasts away the Hollywood gloss of the 1970's big name showcase film version of the story, this time rightly focusing on the thousands of individuals who fought, died or survived and corrects the many myths that have arisen since the war.
The story starts with remarkable photos of General Eisenhower taking the salute of the U.S. 82nd Airborne at Stoughton airfield, British paratroop inspection on Oakham school's playing field and anxious American paratroops waiting for the off. Margry then follows the story through to the battle's brutal climax.
A sign of the power of this work is the strong emotion that every photo invokes. From pride and pity, to thanksgiving that we did not have to experience the war, this enveloping work is the next thing up from actually experiencing the battle. But there is also amusement, from a snarling captured British paratrooper giving the German photographer a reverse V for victory two-fingered salute as he marches past, to the pathos of one of his less fortunate dead comrades slumped, head down as if in prayer, suspended only by his webbing caught on a garden fence.
The secret of After the Battle's success is in the sheer detail and plethora of previously unseen photographs that each work contains. With over 2500 photographs over 750 pages, this lavish two-volume slipcased set will provide hours of interest and is truly the last word on the subject. It is exceptionally difficult to write a critical review of their flawless publications and once again they have managed an eleven out of ten.