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The Longest Day

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  21,386 ratings  ·  636 reviews
The unparalleled work of history that recreates the battle that changed World War II -- now in a new edition for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

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, glow and tragedy, The Longest D
Paperback, First Touchstone Edition, 350 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Simon Schuster (first published 1959)
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Gerry The paperback has 350 pages, of which 277 are narrative; the back pages are appendices.

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May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
“The first-wave assault troops could not yet see the misty shores of Normandy. They were still more than nine miles away. Some warships were already dueling with German naval coastal batteries, but the action as yet was remote and impersonal for the soldiers in the boats…Seasickness was still their biggest enemy. Few were immune. The assault boats, each loaded with about thirty men and all their weighty equipment, rode so low in the water that waves rolled over the side and out again. With each ...more
Pramod Nair
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
BAM Endlessly Booked
Dec 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, wwii
I think the only reason I didn't rate this higher is the audio narrator, although the format of the book also wasn't to my taste. I just felt like a timeline was being regurgitated instead of having a story told. What is so amazing to me is just how active this one day in June was, and how it almost felt apart. ...more
Nandakishore Varma
The Allies messed up the Normandy invasion.

The Germans messed up the defence even more.

Therefore, the Allies won World War II.

In the process, quite a lot of people died needlessly.

End of story.
Bob Mayer
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Today, on the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, this book is as relevant as ever. I read it as a youngster and have re-read it. There are some days that pivotal in world history and 6 June 1944 is certainly one of them. To learn the history of that day from all perspectives, winners, losers, innocents caught up in it, is to understand the width and depth of the human experience. When researching this day, this year for my own D-Day book, I learned more with each page re-read.
I recommend this book and
Apr 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: seen-as-movies, war
Movie review :

Epic World War II film of the Normandy landings on D Day,June 6 1944.

All star cast including John Wayne,Henry Fonda,Robert Mitchum,Sean Connery,Richard Burton and many more.Some of the actors had seen action during the war.

Great action sequences,a very lengthy film but a very entertaining one as well.The only drawback is that it is in black and white,in an era when colour films were regularly being made.A colourized version was released much later.

Thrilling film,great entertainment
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: ww2
One of the greatest books about WWII and D-Day. I've read it and seen the movie many times. Always good to go back and reread the stories of our hero WWII soldiers for inspiration and gratitude. ...more
Steven Z.
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
On June 6, 2019 thousands will descend onto the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the allied landing that would eventually bring an end to Nazi domination of Europe during World War II. Since my wife and I plan on traveling to Normandy at that time I felt it was important to read the latest works on the topic. It made sense to me to reread Cornelius Ryan’s THE LONGEST DAY, first published in 1959, a book that has not lost its resonance to this day. As I began to familiar ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading The Longest Day it is immediately apparent why my copy of the book has the tagline, The classic epic of D-Day printed on the cover. In this book, Cornelius Ryan delivers a very human-oriented account of D-Day.

Ryan begins with The Wait; that is, he spends a little time describing the build-up to the invasion. He brings us to the German headquarters, where the discord is rather shocking; to the Allied headquarters, where the vagaries of the weather are preying on Eisenhower’s mind; t
Carly Friedman
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars! The Longest Day is a fascinating and informative examination of one of the most important days in recent world history.

Let me start by saying that before this book, I knew NOTHING about D-Day. I knew allied troops landed, many people died, and it turned the tide on the war - and that is it. I honestly just started this book because a good group of people on the Nonfiction Book Club were doing a Buddy Read on it.

I am SO GLAD I read it! Ryan is a fantastic author because I never felt c
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Impressive on many levels, The Longest Day captures history via basic reporting.

Ryan shifts back and forth with quick. zoomed-in views of what happened on both sides.

Unfortunately, I lost perspective at times, getting buried in the details and losing the big picture. This was my fault because, much like the combatants themselves, I got caught up in the whirlwind action.

Some of the battlefield accounts are chilling - just a gruesome reality. What surprised me was how many mistakes occurred on bo
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a fucking excellent book that was! This book really did live up to its hype..

It is such a detailed and researched book, that surprisingly delivered a brilliant novel-like storytelling narrative in under 400 pages.

Excellent writing. Excellent storytelling. Excellent detailing. Excellent narratives by all sides involved on the D-day invasion, which includes the American, British, French, Canadian, polish and other allied soldiers, the Germans as well as the normal Normandy civilians who were
In less than one month, we are going to celebrate the 75th year of D-day. Or, in Field Marshall Rommel's own words: The Longest Day.

I am lucky that my reread of this book is the 70th anniversary collector's edition. The additional materials, war diaries, photos and interviews are truly fascinating. Go get this version if you can. You could even get used to the small fonts as the materials are so engrossing.

My original review:
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Masterful. A surprisingly easy read and very cinematic (indeed, a movie was made of it that I hope to see one day). The Longest Day provides a bird's eye view of June 6th, flitting from viewpoint to viewpoint, from general to private, allied to enemy. This is an excellent introduction to D-Day and doesn't get bogged down in the nitty gritty of this unit fighting that unit at exactly such and such minute, but for the first time I am realizing just what a massive undertaking D-Day was. I am in awe ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of Cornelius Ryan's World War II trilogy and, having now read them all, it turns out I saved the best for last. His method of storytelling served this turning point of history well and gave a sense of tension and suspense that was remarkable especially since the ultimate outcome was already well known. If you are interested in an exciting and captivating telling of one of the most momentous events of the 20th century look no further - this it. A true classic. ...more
Why do we keep turning back to Ryan? The fresh voices behind? The journalistic charm underneath?

Because he conveys the contemporary anxiety. It had to work. In the name of freedom.
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
Gianna Lorandi
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been obsessed about WWII since I watched Band of Brothers - the HBO series about the Easy Company who were part of the 101st Airborne. They were paratroopers who landed behind the beaches on D Day. Brilliant series. Since then I have been watching every single documentary about WWII I could find.
Then I researched best WWII books and this one by Cornelius Ryan came up. Wow, what a great book. It's only focused on D Day but it's so well written. I love the mixture of perspectives you get, f
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
I tend to avoid military history, so I was surprised at how much I liked this. Ryan told his story well and it moved along quickly. Instead of getting bogged down in tactics and troop movements and all the other minutiae that leads me to eschew military history, he kept the focus on the people involved so that I was deeply concerned about their fates. (view spoiler) ...more
David A.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The most famous narrative of D-Day that was published within a decade or so after the war. There are more comprehensive books out there today for sure.

The negative — Not terribly heavy with facts and detail such as no maps. Very little coverage of the Allied pre-planning.

The positive. A unique view of both sides. There was equal coverage and interviews with German soldiers mixed in with the Allies. An excellent job of detailing what the German commanders and soldiers were thinking during the i
Amie Geyman
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book! Ryan gave a detailed review from every prospective of D-Day.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it

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.
C.J. Moore
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic and often exciting recollection of D-Day. Most will appreciate coming away with a greater knowledge of the thoughtfulness and strategies that went into executing the events of D-Day. However, at times, it's rather easy to get lost in the details (especially because of the names and places). As well, the timeline of events feels a bit discombobulated. ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books that have kept me from sleep all week. Before I get to my thoughts on the book, I want to explain a few things about the physical copy of the book.

You all know by now that I am History-addict. I recently read The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach another 5 star read, for me, about D-Day. A few members of a group here recommended I read this account of D-day. It was not an easy book to find but I ended up getting a copy to read from MELCAT
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military, non-fiction
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
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Scott Firestone
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Cornelius Ryan's account of the D-Day invasion was published just 15 short years after the event itself. So Ryan was able to gather interviews and accounts from people who were actually there and experienced it. But this isn't an exhaustive account, or a commentary on the tactics and strategies used. It's more like a 350-page novel, and is thus eminently readable.

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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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99 likes · 21 comments
“Wearily, he swung the glasses over to the left again. Slowly, he tracked across the horizon. He reached the dead center of the bay. The glasses stopped moving. Pluskat tensed, stared hard. Through the scattering, thinning mist the horizon was magically filling with ships—ships of every size and description, ships that casually maneuvered back and forth as though they had been there for hours. There appeared to be thousands of them. It was a ghostly armada that somehow had appeared from nowhere. Pluskat stared in frozen disbelief, speechless, moved as he had never been before in his life. At that moment the world of the good soldier Pluskat began falling apart. He says in those first few moments he knew, calmly and surely, that “this was the end for Germany.” 7 likes
“By morning an immense fleet of five thousand ships would stand off the invasion beaches of Normandy.” 1 likes
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