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A Bridge Too Far

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,400 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews

A Bridge Too Far is Cornelius Ryan's masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshalled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day.

In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the Ameri

Hardcover, 478 pages
Published 1975 by Book Club Associates (first published January 1st 1974)
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Best Non-fiction War Books
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5th out of 169 books — 225 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cornelius Ryan has a knack for writing military histories that are incredibly accessible. I'm a far cry from being an “armchair general.” I didn't grow up playing Risk, and my primary point of reference for distinguishing between aircraft carriers and destroyers is the number of pegs required to sink them in the game Battleship (and even then I manage to mix them up). Don't get me wrong, Ryan's trio of WWII accounts (The Longest Day, The Last Battle , and A Bridge Too Far ) tell you who ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
I found this a terrific rendition of a disastrous Allied campaign in World War 2 to break through into Germany at Arnheim in the Netherlands in September 1944. Prior to the time it was published in 1974, the Market Garden failure hadn’t received much attention by historians. In terms of scope, its massive deployment of over 40,000 airborne troops delivered by parachute and glider was larger than used in D-Day or in Italy. The incursion of 15-17,000 Allied casualties made it a costly disappointme ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Checkman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in military history
As others have pointed out before A Bridge Too Far was something of a ground-breaker. Operation Market-Garden was a forgotten battle in the annals of World War II. Forgotten by all except those who fought it in it (both sides) and those who survived it (soldiers and civilians). Yes there had been a few books and a couple films about the failed operation. In 1954 Clark Gable starred in a movie called Betrayed that blamed the failure on a traitor within the Dutch resistance which made for great dr ...more
Bob Mayer
Apr 19, 2016 Bob Mayer rated it it was amazing
A classic. Required reading for every military person. What's amazing is how almost this exact plan was war-gamed prior to the war and failed exactly like the real plan failed. I've been looking into Airborne operations lately as I just wrote a scene where one of my characters parachutes into France on D-Day-- the biggest drop ever. I went through jump school a long time ago-- let's say I saw Alien in the post theater at Benning the night before my first jump-- and then served in the airborne in ...more
Hippo dari Hongkong
"Fantastic but unrealistic."
That's Eisenhower's first reaction and opinion upon hearing Montgomery's plan regarding Operation Market Garden.

"Fantastic and realistic!"
That's Erie's (hey, that's me!) first reaction and opinion after he finished this book :D

IMHO, this book remarkably evokes "what happened" behind one of the biggest military gambling in history. Ryan fastidiously portrays the ambitious plans which resulted in more Allies casualties than the entire Normandy landing.

In S
A.L. Sowards
The detailed, well-written story of Montgomery's uncharacteristicly daring plan to force open a path through Holland into Germany and end the war by Christmas, and how that plan failed. Montgomery, defending himself, pointed out that the Allies reached 90% of their objectives. Unfortunately, a road that takes you only 90% of the way to your destination is useless, and in this case, tragically expensive in terms of causalities. I wouldn't have minded a few more details about the 101st and 82nd ai ...more
carl  theaker
May 17, 2010 carl theaker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

Great tale of Market Garden. A few year later when they were filming
the flic in Holland, I just happened to be there checking out the
forrests where divisions Hohenstauffen and Frundsberg had been
hiding. I heard they were asking for extras to be soldiers and
I raced to the site, but no luck for me. Still a great related

Also check out 'It Never Snows in September' a great book from
the German perspective of this battle.

Christopher Carbone
May 31, 2009 Christopher Carbone rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: books about the bad guys winning
Probably the best book written about a single operation in WWII, A Bridge Too Far chronicles the ambitious plan of Montgomery to airlift troops into Holland, capture the bridges and cross the Rhine, culminating in the defeat of the German Panzer units on the other side. It was and still is one of the greatest Allied defeats of World War II.

Many plans begin with the chilling phrase, "Home By Christmas." Well, this was the ultimate "Home By Christmas" plan and ended ingloriously. The book details
Jan 03, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Mr. Cornelius Ryan notes in his Acknowledgements as an author of contemporary history even 30 years after the event it was difficult to assemble the account of the Market-Garden operation. He did an amazing job capturing individuals' remembrances and thoughts - insights that we can only dream of being able to capture today. Bridge Too Far: The Classic History of the Greatest Airborne Battle of World War II is a wonderfully written account of this classic airborne assault of Holland during WWII. ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like Ryan’s excellent book, The Longest Day, this work about World War II alternately presents the perspectives of the Germans and the Allies during a critical initiative in 1944. The time is September, three months after D-Day, and the Allies have retaken France and Belgium and are poised along a line on the western boarder of Germany and the Belgium-Holland boarder. Holland awaits liberation, and Montgomery, chafing under the direction of Eisenhower, wants to initiate a lightening thrust ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Pequete rated it it was amazing
Shelves: meus
This is a history book that reads like a novel. Even though the battle recounted here took place well before I was born, I feel deeply indebted to the men who fought so bravely and bittered for the bad planning that led so many to suffering and death. And I also feel sad that history tends to be so quickly forgotten... I have registered this book at Bookcrossing and will release it tomorrow to a friend who happens to have family in the vicinity of Arnhem. We had plans to visit the area the next ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
The ultimate book on that deeply flawed operation with Paratroopers that failed at the bridge at Arnhem. ANd as a consequense the Northern part of the Netherlands remained in German hands for another winter (the Hungerwinter).

About the brave men and women that lived through this chapter of WOII that is still remembered today.

The writing is a bit dry but the story is well told.
Sep 04, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
Simply one of the best military histories out there. Mr. Ryan's last book was his masterpiece. He got the pathos and the tragedy of Market Garden right, and he lays the blame squarely where it belonged. At the feet of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery. The plan was flawed, and trying to run an entire corps up a road that was barely one tank wide should have been enough to kill the it was, it was not, and some 8000 British paras, along with thousands of Americans and Dutch civil ...more
Oct 16, 2011 Al rated it liked it
The celebrated, exhaustive story of the ill-fated invasion of Holland by the Allies in September, 1944. Mr. Ryan left no stone unturned in researching this book. All written work, government records, and interviews with seemingly every living survivor he could find, both Allied and German. His work is staggering in its thoroughness, and unlike many efforts of this kind, the final product emerges as readable and even exciting. He has managed to shape all his data into a coherent narrative, and t ...more
Shane Evans
Jun 21, 2012 Shane Evans rated it it was amazing
My favorite war movie is "A Bridge Too Far." Made in the late 70's, it starred everyone and their cat from both sides of the pond: Michael Caine, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Elliot Gould. The list goes on and on. Even Sir Lawrence Olivier is in it.

What is not to love about the movie! The allies have this great plan to catch the Nazis by surprise and end the war by xmas. The movie recreates the largest airborne drop ever. Watching all those planes and gliders flying over the c
Hippo dari Hongkong
Edisi aslinya gue kasih bintang lima tapi untuk buku ini bintang empat aja deh. Semata-mata karena ini buku versi abridged dan unsur "fun" dalam gaya bahasa terjemahannya yang bikin nyengir. Kalo ini buku ini terbitnya tahun 2000an dijamin gue bakal ngasi bintang satu buat bahasa yang rada2 kacau balau:D Jadi inget review-nya buku perang yang laen dari seorang Jendral di rumah sebelah yang ngadat ngerasa dikibulin penerbit ampe dia minta duitnya dibalikin lagi , hihihihi *tiaraaaaaap ~ takut dil ...more
Dec 04, 2012 Havva rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
It really picked up around page 450.
May 05, 2016 Ellen rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary work of war journalism, the best I've ever read. A war correspondent, Cornelius Ryan spent decades after WWII interviewing 1200 people including President Eisenhower and Allied and Axis generals and soldiers as well as members of the Dutch underground in order to preserve the history of the failed Market-Garden campaign, which cost more Allied lives (17,000) than the Normandy invasion (12,000). The result is 600 pages of awe-inspiring, poignant, funny, ridiculous and tra ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, history
This account of Operation Market-Garden is considered a classic for a reason. This a pretty comprehensive take on what probably the most complex combined-arms operation of the Second World War. The narrative is well organized, covering all three airborne divisions' actions, leading armored units of Montgomery's 2nd Army, the German forces that opposed them, and the Dutch civilians caught in-between. Even with all this information, the writing is very accessible.

Operation Market-Garden itself was
Walter Wolfgramm
May 13, 2013 Walter Wolfgramm rated it really liked it
I think this is a great book for me because its mainly about War.This book is great because it includes the army my Great Grandpa was in the Nazi's,but he left to Tonga to get away from the War.War is my favorite topic because it includes alot of history, he is something that were in the book.A Bridge Too Far by the late Irish-American journalist Cornelius Ryan is the third in a series of books written about the major battles of the Second World War in Europe. In dramatic fashion, A Bridge Too F ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
You can feel the tragedy brewing the whole time.

This is the history of Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne military operation up to that point in WWII. Almost 35,000 troops were to parachute or arrive in gliders along a narrow corridor through the Netherlands. They were to capture numerous bridges which would allow ground forces to sweep up the corridor and make it over the Rhine river. After that, the allied forces would have a straight shot into the industrial heart of Germany and h
Dhiraj Sharma
Jun 07, 2013 Dhiraj Sharma rated it really liked it
A Bridge Too Far is the 2nd Epic by Cornelius Ryan (the first being "The Longest Day" based on Normandy landings of 6 June 1944)

Ryan follows the same working principle of conducting several interviews from personnel from both ends of the fighting sides and converting these into a lucidly written narrative of actual war, the technique which worked to perfection in the Longest Day.

The book basically covers the Allied Operation called "Operation Market Garden" in which Allied Top Brass landed thous
Jan 19, 2015 Teddee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
Tells the story Operation Market Garden, one of the bigggest US-British offensives of WW II. The primary objective was to gain control of a major bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem in Holland that would allow an immediate land invasion into Germany before winter. Land forces could not accomplish this because they had outrun allied supply lines which still ran back to Normandy. Antwerp, a major port, was in allied hands but the approaches to the port and the Schelde remained in German control allo ...more
David B
Oct 28, 2013 David B rated it it was amazing
Cornelius Ryan presents the story of Operation Market-Garden with a scholar's attention to detail and a novelist's attention to human drama. Following D-Day, General Montgomery undertook a daring push to enter Germany and force its surrender. Paratroopers were dropped in advance to secure important bridges and hold them until ground forces arrived. Unfortunately, German resistance was far greater than anticipated and the route itself was often too narrow or inadequate in other ways, making the p ...more
Dec 17, 2012 Chrissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
This book covers Operation Market-Garden exceptionally well. Coming from someone with barely any previous knowledge of the operation prior to this read, the book does a great job explaining all the key players, the overall big-picture of the plan, and the individual experiences of the units and soldiers to the point that even WWII beginners like me can comprehend. Although it took me awhile to complete due to unavoidable circumstances, I found myself captivated by the book and looked forward to ...more
Daryl Thompson
Feb 17, 2016 Daryl Thompson rated it it was amazing
A great read in understanding that not everything during WWII went as planned. Well written.
Armin Hennig
Jul 29, 2013 Armin Hennig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geschichte
wer den Film, dessen Verlauf dem Einsatz von zahlreichen kassenträchtigen Stars Rechnung tragen musste, insgesamt enttäuschend fand, wird hier sicherlich besser bedient.Die Zusammenhänge sind gut aufgezeigt, die Zeugnisse über den fehlgeschlagenen Versuch den zweiten Weltkrieg ein Dreivierteljahr früher zu beenden, sind natürlich von wechselhafter Qualität. Es gibt Partien, die zum besten an Kriegsdarstellung gehören, aber auch ein paar ziemlich dürre Zweige, insbesondere der Abbruch des Unterne ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This is the rugged, true and tragic history of Operation: Marketgarden. Mr. Ryan does a grand job of introducing us to the men involved in this operation, from the generals down to the cooks. The only trouble is that this is the largest operation of World War II and there are just too darn many of them to keep straight. So you just have to slog forward (somewhat like they did) and trust in the author. With that in mind, you are treated to the grand sweep of the plan, the infeasibility of key par ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Al added it
This is the second book in Ryan's great, great, great trilogy that started with The Longest Day, June 6, 1944 and ended with The Last Battle. I can not recommed this any greater than to say I think it is just the best ever written about this battle wich was considered an utter failure. But the effort of the allies was brave and their courage outstanding. At the end of the book Ryan lists every participant that he interviewed and gives what they were doing at the time of the interview.
Jul 08, 2013 Haden rated it it was amazing
Too many variables...too many variables. If the weather had been perfect, the potential of the Dutch support (in both intel and subversive ops) encouraged, and a few less fortuitous movements made on the Germans, it very well could have been a completely different story. It is amazing how strong personalities in conflicts can drive tremendous results, both good and bad. I think these aspects were well captured by Cornelius Ryan, as well as the way the fog of war impacted all participants.
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  • A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
  • To Lose a Battle: France 1940
  • The Last 100 Days
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  • A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
  • Miracle at Midway
  • Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
  • Pegasus Bridge
  • Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris; June 6 - Aug. 5, 1944
  • If You Survive: From Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the End of World War II, One American Officer's Riveting True Story
  • The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 (World War II Liberation Trilogy, #2)
  • It Never Snows in September: The German View of Market-Garden and the Battle of Arnhem, September 1944
  • Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
  • The Battle of Kursk
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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“It began to seem that the generals had got us into something they had no business doing.” 4 likes
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