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The Longest Day: June 6th, 1944

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  12,441 ratings  ·  302 reviews
Newly in print for the first time in years, this is the classic story of the invasion of Normandy, and a book that endures as a masterpiece of living history. A compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, The Longest Daypainstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle ...more
Paperback, Wordsworth Military Library, 352 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd (first published January 1st 1959)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Pramod Nair
6 June 1944 is a day that can be seen as the pivotal point of World War II, which definitely swung the momentum of war in favor of the Allied forces. It was a day when the allied forces successfully opened the final European phase of the World War II by invading and gaining footholds on the shores of France, which was the first step, aimed at freeing the continent from Nazi occupation. The Longest Day from Cornelius Ryan is a masterpiece of military history and a true classic, which gives the re ...more
The most surprising thing about Cornelius Ryan’s D-Day classic The Longest Day is how short it is. Despite its epic subject matter – and despite the prodigious length of the epic movie that followed its publication – The Longest Day comes in at under 300 pages. This, combined with Ryan’s novelistic writing style, made for a surprisingly quick read.

Ryan was an Irish-born war correspondent who saw World War II firsthand. He flew along on bomber missions with the U.S. Air Force and was later embed
Oct 21, 2008 Silvana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all military buffs
My first comment in Goodreads about this book is: "an orgasmic experience". Haha, I know some people will be intrigued by such clause (and I did receive one comment). Anyway, I did mean it. This book is orgasmic. Seriously.

For those who’ve seen the movie, better erase it from your memory. This kind of book can not be shortened into a three-hour movie, it has to become a series. And maybe have to be directed by someone like Steven Spielberg, LOL. It is not only about D-Day, but also about the bac
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 19, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Ultimate Reading List - History
The title is taken from a quote of Field Marshall Edwin Rommel, who commanded the German forces defending the Atlantic Wall against invasion, "...the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive...the fate of Germany depends on the outcome...for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day." That day came on June 6, 1944, and Ryan gives an account not just of that day, but the lead up. The book, in fact, is split into 3 parts--"The Wait," "The Night" and "The Day." It has a stro ...more
Great stuff! Not quite the epic - in terms of length or scope - as Ryan's The Last Battle, but every bit as gratifying.

D-Day - 24 hours. Tick, tock... The agony and the ecstasy - the glory and the ignominy - inspired decisions and catastrophic mistakes - bravery and cowardice - cost and carnage - luck and fate - sacrifice, death, destruction, and liberation - steaming (and sinking), flying (and crashing), jumping, swimming, wading, running, walking, crawling, climbing, and, yes, fighting - momen

I have seen this movie six or seven times and somehow I had no idea it was a book!

This was a great telling of D-Day and any fan of military history should read this one.
Jill Hutchinson
I finished this book three days after the 71st anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landings in Hitler's Fortress Europa. I have no idea why I never read this classic history before since I am a military buff and am interested in anything about WWII (and WWI, as well). I was impressed by the author's approach to the telling of Operation Overlord, the largest invasion in history......he used the words of survivors of that bloody day to tell the story as well as some pictures that had not been seen be ...more
Cornelius Ryan, a war correspondent during WW II and afterward, published this book in 1959, and, despite there having been many subsequent memoirs and government documents relating to the events he describes, memoirs and documents providing further information, nonetheless this remains a classic account of D-Day in June, 1944, the invasion of the German-occupied European continent by the Allies in Normandy, France.

Anticipating the invasion, German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel said to his aide in
Dhiraj Sharma
The Longest Day is among the top ten books ever written about World War-II and the best book on D Day (the Allied Invasion of German occupied France)

The author had done meticulous research on the subject matter and interviewed numerous persons (soldiers and civilians alike) present on that fateful day on Normandy within (before and after) 24 hours of the invasion.

The book slwoly builds up the excitement and suspense of impending Allied invasion, the pathfinder and airborne raid and the final att
Mitchell Knapp
“Never had there been a dawn like this. In the murky, gray light, in majestic, fearful grandeur, the great Allied fleet lay off Normandy’s five invasion beaches.” (p. 177)

Growing up, I watched the movie based on Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day seemingly every weekend. Now, at the age of twenty-one, I decided it was finally time to read the actual book.

Cornelius Ryan was a war correspondent during World War II where one of his assignments was covering the D-Day landings. Ryan uses his firsthan
This is the definitive, classic of the D-Day landing at Normandy and a book you can barely put down.
While most of us know the story of D-Day, this brings that time in World War II to life as it recounts the decisions made, the successes and miscalculations that marked the invasion.
Ryan switches back and forth from the Allied thoughts on how to conduct the invasion to the German experience. The Germans weren't certain this was the large attack they had been expecting. The allies weren't certai
A masterpiece of historical narrative, this book was an engaging read. Would have given it five stars, if the the author had excluded the military language, which sadly includes blasphemy. Not a book I would advise for children. The account of D-Day is vivid and violent. I'm astounded how so many details to fell into place in favor of the Allied forces and how so much went wrong for the Germans. It can only be described as divine intervention.
Not typically my genre of books, but in efforts to learn more about the history of Normandy for our upcoming trip, I started reading last night and can not put this book down. It reads like a riveting novel, but constantly reminding myself this isn't fiction!
The Longest Day gives an account of the Allies Normandy D-Day invasion that started the end to the Nazi stronghold of Europe. I found this to be a different type of WWII history book in that it did not go into excruciating details but still provided an in-depth account of the events beginning with the night before and concluding with the night after the invasion. The book covered both the Allied and the German perspectives and went into great narrative characterization of major and minor partici ...more
Despite having been written 55 years ago this very personal history of the event and days leading up to and including D-Day remains one of the more readable WWII histories. As others have said this reads like a novel. But if it were a novel many would criticize it as unrealistic based on the horrific violence these men had to face. No, you won't get a broad picture of the events leading to war or the full picture of the despicable deeds of the Nazis. Instead you get a snapshot of a brief period ...more
Heather Mize
This is my husband's favorite book of all time, and after nearly three years of him urging me to read it, and the 70th anniversary of D-Day (also amidst my husband's obsessive reading on the subject, and documentary watching) I decided to give it a go. After all, it's an utterly fascinating subject, and my husband has read half a dozen books for no other reason that they are ones I love. And for as many as he's read on this subject this is one he talks of often.

This book is absolutely amazing.
Christopher Carbone
May 31, 2009 Christopher Carbone rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII fans and history buffs.
The very pedestrian start to Ryan's amazing trilogy of WWII accounts that chronicles Operation Overlord and the massive Allied Invasion that breached Fortress Europe, pierced the Reich on its third (and ultimately fatal) flank and most likely saved Europe from Fascist dominance or Soviet Imperialism.

The book details the almost sci-fi-esque preparation for the invasion of Normandy Beach, the critical planning elements, and how the men looked upon their tasks. It discusses the planning and the co
1959 "Classic Epic", as its subtitle goes, deserves its reputation as tightly-written, well-researched and accurate military non-fiction. from the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc to the 82nd All-American Airborne airdropping behind enemy lines, Ryan`s work is complete and detailed. WW2 historians probably enjoy pointing out that the entire D-Day Allied casualties was less than three days`s casualties in the Battle of Stalingrad (which raged for half a year), but, well, there was risk, there was plannin ...more
Jessica Woofter
Even though I knew how this book was going to end, I listened to it with breath held and muscles tensed. It was a surprisingly quick read that managed to avoid being a dry military history without crossing over into sentimental melodrama. Loved it.
Michael Gerald Dealino
I think this book was one of the first widely popular history of the Normandy landings. I first read a condensed version of it in the June 1994 issue of the Reader's Digest as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the event. In fact, Reader's Digest played a major part in Mr. Ryan's project, as the magazine pooled resources, did the research, conducted interviews, and provided other advice. So, before there were Stephen Ambrose and Antony Beevor, there was Cornelius Ryan. And it w ...more
Over the past three years I have read three of the more highly regarded D-Day histories, including works by Ambrose and Beevor in addition to this book. Of the three I would put Ambrose's slightly ahead as the definitive work. That being said I highly enjoyed this book. This was by far the quickest read of all three. It provided the least depth giving little to no history of the planning and preparation for the attack nor did it go into depth regarding the weeks following the attack. What the bo ...more
Giovani Salvador
There is a Brazilian philosopher who used to say that watching Hollywood movies, you learn nothing about history. Reading this book I really figured out it is so true. Only by reading such a wonderful material like this, one can really understand what happened during this important moment of our past century. Simply amazing.
my husband and i are going to normandy this summer and i wanted to get an orientation to what happened there in wwII before going. this is a fascinating book - focusing on the group and what they experienced rather than the individual although when individuals were identified, the horror of their experience came alive. reading this, i learned of the important role of meteorologists in determining the details of the invasion - when, where etc. the details of the planning of d day were fascinating ...more
Reading this account of D-Day in June 1944 was like watching a camera swing from a giant crane across miles of ocean and land, picking out a multitude of participants, zooming in, picking up some dialog, then moving on. As an indication of how the book was put together, author Cornelius Ryan provides a 40+-page list of veterans of the battle--over 1000 participants from the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Canada--who contributed to the story in one way or another, though he says that for ...more
This was a great narrative about one of the most momentous battles of the 20th century.

The neat thing about this book is its length. It's not a lap crusher. The wonderful prose and flow of the book makes for a page turner. Cornelius Ryan paints a vivid picture by telling stories from a collection of individuals involved (Allied and German) and bringing them together to paint a picture of the eventful day. These stories are split into three main sections: The Wait, The Night, and The Day.

Ryan do
The Longest Day is as the title says, a description of D-Day from start to finish. The first section of the book sets the stage - the importance of this battle, the military state of both sides, the German defenses, and the personalities of many involved, from the generals to the footsoldiers. This is the section of the book I enjoyed the most. For example, I thought the portrait of Rommel was very well done. I appreciated that the author took the time to interview both Allied and German soldier ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Ana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
NOTE : see the complete review on

This was absolutely stunning!

I had high expectations when I started this book, because I had heard so many good things about it, but they were all exceeded by what I read!
Such a powerful book, such a well-documented story, so many details that you wouldn't be able to find everywhere. I absolutely loved it.

And above all, I learned so many things from it!
Michael Linton
One of my favorite books of all time. There are over a 1,000 snippets/stories of events thorough the book. The author seems to be diligent in learning the stories. He didn't take just one person's account. He used multiple sources and if possible, corroborated with diaries, war accounts or similar document.

It's fairly easy to read and explains how the invasion occurred from nightfall to the landing at Normandy.
Gwen Burrow
I was looking for THE perfect book on D-Day--all the facts, all the armies, all the POVs. And I found it right here. Did you know that the British paraded their beaches to the blaring of bagpipes? Or that Hitler was napping in balmy Berchtesgaden till it was all over? Or that the German field marshal left France right before the invasion to request use of Hitler's Panzers which he'd need in order to resist said invasion--which, meanwhile, succeeded behind his back?

This book is about June 6 and
In his engaging historical narrative style, Ryan walks through how June 6th, 1944 unfolded on the Normandy coast. Based on interviews with soldiers on the Allied and German sides and accounts from citizens of the Normandy area, this book paints a picture of what the day was like from multiple perspectives. Ryan's writing is entertaining and reads more like a work of historical fiction due to the heavy use of quotes from the people involved. Two things revealed in the book that I found fascinatin ...more
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Ryan was born in Dublin. After finishing his education Ryan moved to London in 1940, and became a war correspondent for ''The Daily Telegraph'' in 1941.

He initially covered the air war in Europe during WW II, flew along on fourteen bombing missions with the Eighth Air Force and Ninth Air Force United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), then joined General Patton's Third Third Army and covered its act
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“By morning an immense fleet of five thousand ships would stand off the invasion beaches of Normandy.” 1 likes
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