Pegasus Bridge
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Pegasus Bridge

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  3,914 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, a small detachment of British airborne troops stormed the German defense forces and paved the way for the Allied invasion of Europe. Pegasus Bridge was the first engagement of D-Day, the turning point of World War II. This gripping account of it by acclaimed author Stephen Ambrose brings to life a daring mission so crucial that,...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Pocket Books (first published May 31st 1984)
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Jeff Dawson
Good historical account

This isn't the greatest of Stephens Books, but it is worthy of any collector and historian. The book recalls the men and eventsthat allowed the British Glider and Parachute regiment to capture the all important bridge crossing the Orne and adjacent canal in order to prevent the 21st Panzer Division from disrupting and possibly defeating the landings at Sword, Juno and Gold Beach.

The scene is well documented in the movie "The Longest Day." Remember the famous lines, "hold...more
John Nevola
This book is only about 150 pages short but it is long on information and eyewitness accounts of one of the most pivotal battles of D-Day.

The British 6th Airborne was tasked with the mission to secure the left flank (the easternmost flank) of the Normandy Beachhead. Major John Howard and 181 members of the 2nd Ox and Bucks Regiment were ordered to capture and hold a bridge over the Orne River and an adjacent canal. It was the key strongpoint in defending this flank.

This is the story of how Howa...more
Ralph
"At a maximum, failure at Pegasus Bridge might have meant failure for the invasion as a whole, with consequences for world history too staggering to contemplate." ~Stephen E. Ambrose

Pegasus Bridge is a lesser known book by Ambrose on a lesser known battle on D-Day. It is likely lesser known to me because the British are the heroes of this story. This book tells of the British airborne troops that landed in gliders in the early hours of D-Day. They were the first to arrive on this historical day...more
Silvana
Stephen E. Ambrose is a master storyteller. He makes it so easy, interviewing people then write about them. Imagine the editing works, placing one story after another, in the way that the readers would better understand and imagine. Pegasus Bridge is not as special as Citizen Soldiers or Band of Brothers (BoB), but it still delivers.

The story is about a gliderborne unit of the British Ox and Bucks Light Infantry Regiment, 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard, who captured two b...more
Tom
This is the story of one company's effort in the vanguard of D-day. It tells the story in excellent detail, how they were developed into elite soldiers, how their competitive edge was honed, and how they led the assault to take and hold 2 vital bridges.

The story is beautifully told, with great detail and character. D Company were warned in the briefing that they must not tell anyone about the nature of their training or mission on pain of being discharged from the mission - that night Wally Par...more
Xan
Ningún plan de combate resiste al primer contacto con el enemigo, esta es una máxima militar que cualquier aficionado al género habrá leído muchas veces. La historia del puente Pegasus es la de una pequeña escaramuza que posiblemente cambió el destino del desenlace del Día D, contada a partir de los relatos de los supervivientes de los dos bandos, incidiendo tanto en la pericia de los paracaidistas entrenados para la misisón y los golpes de suerte que, de un modo u otro, son los que deciden el r...more
Travis Ristau
This was one of the best World War 2 books that I've read. The author, Stephen Ambrose, managed to interview a number of soldiers from D Company and Germans who told their story of what happened. When you are reading, it feels as if you are almost there with the soldiers attacking the bridge. I felt as if these men deserved more recognition for what they did. Everything from Howard's leadership to them countering the tanks with their single Piat was outstanding. I would suggest this to anyone wh...more
Mahlon
Apr 22, 2010 Mahlon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Military History
Recommended to Mahlon by: Fan of Ambrose
Shelves: read-2010
Pegasus Bridge is a lesser-known Ambrose gem, and a classic of the D-Day genre. It tells the story of one company(D company of the Ox and Bucks British Light Infantry) and their commander, Major John Howard. They were tasked with capturing and holding two key bridges, that according to Ambrose would ensure the success of the entire Normandy invasion. Landing in gliders in the pre-dawn hours of June 6th, they became the first allied soldiers to set foot on French soil.
Michael
An outstanding account of WW II. The heroism and audacity of the move on Pegasus Bridge is a fascinating read. Ambrose scores great interviews with people from both sides of the conflict.
Sam Woodfield
I'm not normally a fan of war books as I think there are so many around they are often just variations on a very limited theme, so i was pleasantly surprised by this book as it was something new I hadn't heard of before.
I've read many books on D-Day and the beach landings, but 'Pegasus Bridge' looks at the very start of the day and the landing of 6 gliders in France and the operation to secure a key route for the allies. The book takes us through the preparation for the day and the operation its...more
Thom Swennes
Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology, is proudly displayed on the berets of the British paratroopers and is as iconic as their blue head covering. On June 6, 1944, the largest sea invasion in history took place on the beaches of Normandy and Pegasus lead the way and was the first to land in enemy territory. The conduit near Ranville, France was codenamed Pegasus Bridge and was of immense importance to the success of the D Day invasion as it protected the attackers flank. Although the ope...more
Jeffrey Rasley
I read "Pegasus" in a tent at night on a Himalayan trek. It was a great escape from sore legs and unfortunately bad weather. However, I did not find it at the same standard as Ambrose's other works I've enjoyed. It seemed a bit thrown together. Although, Ambrose clearly loved telling the story and held great admiration for the men of D Company Ox and Bucks.

"Pegasus Bridge" relates the story of the battle for the so-named bridge, which was the initial action of the D-Day invasion of France by the...more
Gossymotto
I found this story to be very clean and to the factual point. Ambrose didn't throw his opinions in anywhere, he just told the story as it came from the soldiers that experienced it.

I like that you get a true feel for the way these guys (on both sides) were thrown into this war and were only kids, some still teenagers and that after all the fighting and killing, British and German soldiers understood that and many actually became friends over time.

A great story that doesn't get clouded over in p...more
Craig Little
An excellent review of the actions of 'D Company' Ox & Bucks LI and their coup de main as part of Operation Deadstick.

The book is a breezy read, being so brief, but it seems like it was a labor of love for Ambrose (other reviews say it's one of his lesser works, but I haven't read any others) and his enthusiasm for his subject and genuine admiration for the men shine through on every page.

As a description of a company level action mostly gleaned from interviews, the book gives a real sense o...more
'Aussie Rick'



Although dated this is still a very good account of Major John Howard and the men of Company D, the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry Regiment of the British 6th Airborne Division, and their role in capturing and holding the bridge over the Caen Canal at Benouville on the night of 5/6th June 1944.

The book (HB edition) is only 160 pages of narrative but it’s a great story and it’s hard to put it down once you have started. I found it full of interesting and at times funny first-hand accounts and altho...more
Curtiss
The inspiring story of the first Allied troops to land in Normandy on the morning of the Sixth of June, 1944. A detachment of the British 6th Airborne Division, under the command of Major John Howard, arrived in Normandy via Horza gliders, near the town of Ranville, with orders to seize the bridge over the Caen Canal (Code-named Pegasus Bridge after the insignia of the British Airborne) on the inland left flank of the Allied landing beaches, and then to "hold until relieved," which in the end me...more
John
To fly hundreds of miles, towed in a plywood and canvas glider - to be released from your tug-plane whilst out at sea - to do this in the dark and land in occupied France - and to do all of this with pinpoint accuracy - now that's an achievement.

Ambrose takes this story and strips it to the bones and then reassembles it in a pleasing and logical way. An easy read for a complex and pivotal operation that led the way for, and helped secure, the success of D-Day and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germ...more
Stephen
Stephen Ambrose is my favorite historian of World War II and his Pegasus Bridge does not disappoint. This book tells the story of the first engagement of D-Day and of the men on both sides who participated in it. Ambrose is wonderfully able to make history come to life. Reading Pegasus Bridge made me once again think on the incredible sacrifices that my grandfather's generation (my was with Patton’s Sixth army in Europe) was called upon to make. I’m not one to elevate those who were called upon...more
Reds_reads
The story of the British gliderborne troops who landed in Normandy ahead of the main D-Day landings with the mission of capturing (and holding) two vital bridges east of the landing beaches. Denying use of these bridges to the German forces meant a long detour for reinforcements sent to counterattack the Allied landings.

Ambrose tells the story well, I got a clear understanding of what happened when and of the characters involved. At times he gets dangerously close to fanboy-like levels of admira...more
Larry
The book Pegasus Bridge is a so so book. It was good but it wasn’t that good I easily lost interest in the book when it was coming to an end, and I was glad it was coming to an end. Even though it wasn’t that good, the author did try to make the book like a war diary with the wartime and every chapter was another day or event. However, the book try to make the life’s of these soldiers as realistic as he could of in this time. I would recommend this book to people who like to read about WW2 but o...more
Donnie Edgemon
I am a big Ambrose fan, and I have just gotten around to Pegasus Bridge. If you have seen (or read) The Longest Day, you have some familiarity with the British operation to capture a key river and canal crossing with glider troops at midnight on D-Day. In his classic style, Ambrose went into great detail through first-hand interviews with key survivors of the action and all of the training and preparation that went into it. If you like Ambrose's WWII work, then Pegasus Bridge is a worthwhile and...more
Dan
I know more about WWII, the invasion of Normandy and the importance of reading non fiction because of this book. Ambrose knows how to keep the reader interested. This book reads like and adventure story while supplying the BASIC info about the invasion of Normandy. It's also interesting how he loves the pathos of war but also condemns it. He makes a point of showing how members of the American army befriended members of the German army post war. He does a great job of painting the human side of...more
Mike Bloom
Excellent book which details one specific mission conducted by the British as part of the larger D-Day operation. Those who have seen the film "The Longest Day" may recall the "Hold until relieved" scene--that's Pegasus Bridge. Ambrose persuasively argues that the success of this mission--he actually narrows it down to a single tank-disabling bazooka shot--was a substantial factor in the ultimate success of the entire Normandy invasion. Wonderful history.
Deanne
A book that gives some insight into what our grandfather's went through. Both mine were in the forces. One in the RAF took his camera, I have over 200 negatives from his time in India. My paternal grandfather was a desert rat, he never talked about it. I know he was in a tank that was shelled and recieved a head injury. He lost his memory for a while and the British army didn't know who he was, Grandma was notified that he's been killed in action. Big shock when he returned home a few months lat...more
Wayne
A minute by minute account of the taking of Pegasus Bridge, a vital crossing by which the Germans could counterattack the Allies during the Normandy invasion. Major John Howard led the attack with British glider infantry troops.

This battle is depicted in the movie, The Longest Day (written from Cornelius Day's book of the same name). Interestingly, Howard was played in the movie by British actor Richard Todd, who was present at the battle for Pegasus Bridge as an infantry officer.
Kitty
My favorite of all Ambrose's books. My copy is signed by four of the major players, Major John Howard, German Colonel Hans von Luck, pilot Jim Wallwork and Private Wally Parr, all of whom, together with Ambrose, presented one of the most fantastic history classes I've ever attended. Those gentlemen made history come alive, and for a few hours back in the 1980s, forty years dropped away and we were transported back in time to the hedgerows of Normandy. Pure magic, indeed.
Lou Yonke
The Band of Brothers author writes a short 200-page book about one very important WW2 battle that Ambrose calls instrumental to the Allies' overall D-Day success. Ambrose takes the reader from initial planning to the minute-by-minute events of the day to the reunion a half century later. This short but detailed book illustrates how important thorough planning, preparation, technology, and each individual soldier's action can have on the outcome of a battle and a war.
Mike
Sep 02, 2008 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: WWII, D-Day buffs and glider pilots
Shelves: ww2
I'm a glider pilot and fascinated at how precisely the Glider Pilot Regiment was able to land the troops at the target. Especially considering what ungainly monsters these WWII gliders were. The stories here cover both sides of the battle and are standard Ambrose, humorous, poignant, interesting. He was a favorite historian. The Brits in combat are unequaled in their coolness under fire. They also tell great stories. A very good read.
L.J.
Jan 15, 2008 L.J. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: history buffs
This is not Ambrose's best book but it is a really good book about the very first troops on D-Day and the mission to hold the Pegasus Bridge for invading ground troops. It is not as well constructed and fascinating as Band of Brothers but in the Ambrose style the men and mission are brought to life and the story is fascinating. Anyone that enjoys his books will like this one and I rate it one of his top reads, it is also a quick read.
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Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More about Stephen E. Ambrose...
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“the German today is like the June Bride. He knows he is going to get it, but he doesn't know how big it is gong to be.” 0 likes
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