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The Longest Day

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  10,078 ratings  ·  236 reviews
A true classic of World War II history, The Longest Day tells the story of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Journalist Cornelius Ryan began working on the book in the mid-1950s, while the memories of the D-day participants were still fresh, and he spent three years interviewing D-day survivors in the United States and Europe. When his book was first ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 1963 by Fawcett World Library (first published January 1st 1959)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
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
...more
Silvana
Oct 21, 2008 Silvana rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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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
Bruce
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
...more
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
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Nancy
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
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Steven
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.
Kate
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!
Cottero
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
Jim
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.
...more
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
...more
S.
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
Paul
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
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.
Cat
This book is epic in every sense of the word. If you want to understand one of the greatest battles the world has ever known, this is the book to read. Ryan covers it all, the preparations, the reasons certain decisions were made, and why and how things happened. It is especially valuable for the way it covers the German's point of view.
Quillracer
The story of one of the greatest battles of WWII--the D-Day invasion of Normandy--told by the men who lived it--from generals in their command centers to the privates facing each other in the field. This is how the stories of war should be told.
Calvin F
While looking for a non-fiction, World War Two book, I picked up The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan. I opened it up to page one and right away I was immersed in a book describing the events leading up to and during the notorious D-Day. Cornelius Ryan used such detail that it was impossible not to be impressed and entertained by the history he so clearly described. The Longest Day shows both the American and German sides of the war with extreme accuracy and unbiased detail.
The book jumps around fr
...more
Laurel
My Dad was in on the first wave of D-Day, so this topic was VERY interesting to me. The book was a birthday gift from my son on July 1st. I read slowly and thoroughly over a month--looking up various related things on the Internet as I read. A month later I finished it, but I'm sure I'll refer to it again and again. It's not a typical battle technical book. It is full of the perspective of people that were there and survived--soldiers from each country involved, the French citizens, even the U.S ...more
Johnny Takumi
I got this book as a gift and (shamefully) I'd never heard about it before. It was an excellent surprise when I started reading it.

This book tells the story of one of those days which changed mankind. Stories. Because everybody knows what happened on the D-day, but not everybody knows the story of two men on the mini-submarine who scouted for underwater mines. Nor the story of the german pilot attacking alone a gigantic fleet of boats. Nor the other stories and "actors" introduced in the book.

I
...more
Tom Gase
A very powerful book on D-Day in 1944. Author Cornelius Ryan does a great job of writing and researching for this book. It's hard to imagine what the young men went through on that day 70 years ago and a couple times I had to put the book down and just think about how lucky I am because of them. My only slight problem with the book is that it is depressing because it's a true story and because the author goes from one group of people to another a little too quickly for me. I kept saying to mysel ...more
Reid
Great book, great history. Read it in high school, got an A+ on the paper, probably because the book was fascinating, well organized and well written.
Ray Stafford
one of my favorite books ever, shows the decisions that influenced the outcome of the war from both sides of the conflict
Russell Christensen
Absolutely phenominal historical literature. (and it makes for an excellent movie as well)
Garry Summers
I read this in high school. It was probably the first real understanding I had of WWII.
Karen
A must read for anyone going to tour the D-Day Beaches or for those who love history.
Srini
I hope this was the best book from "Cornelius Ryan "compared with his others on WW 2"A bridge too Far" and "The Last Battle". Precise observation and meticulous research by the author gives us the finest details of the war front of June 6,1944,what was called as D-DAY.

Snippets on Unimaginable Tasks:
1)Dropping more than a thousand Paratroopers(Pathfinders) over Normandy to hold control on important bridges connecting inland.
2)Sending Two hundred thousand soldiers in more than 4000 ships to infilt
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Michael
May 11, 2011 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, historians, WWII fans
Recommended to Michael by: Darryl F. Zanuck
Shelves: popular-history
Like most people who will read this book now, I came to it because of my familiarity with the 1960s film adaptation, an epic, bug-budget reproduction of the D-Day invasion that was the visual standard until "Saving Private Ryan" changed the rules. The book, like the movie, is a series of vignettes based on interviews and written recollections of veterans from the various armies, and civilians who witnessed the event. These ranged from the top-ranking commanders to the lowliest foot soldiers, and ...more
Cari
Following along with Ambrose's Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldier, I read The Longest Day. I've really been enjoying the WWII nonfiction lately.

Unfortunately, it took 2 months to finish the book, which meant that by the end I was more than a little frustrated with it. The book wasn't so much the problem as my out of prescription reading glasses were.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, more even than the anecdotes from veterans of the invasion, was the switching POV between th
...more
Grace
If you let yourself get drawn in, you'll probably end up depressed but proud to be an American. (If you're an American, of course.) This book basically takes you behind the lines, and into the past, to show the reactions and actions up to and through D-Day. It shows snapshots from different soldier’s point of view who were there and were actually in it. The extent of the information in this is mind boggling and impressive. I can only imagine how much research Ryan had to do to write this.

It didn
...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
...more
More about Cornelius Ryan...
A Bridge Too Far The Last Battle A Private Battle Conquest: 2 Longest Day: The D-Day Story, June 6th, 1944: The D-Day Story, June 6th, 1944

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