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A Bridge Too Far

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  17,588 ratings  ·  326 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, 1st Edition, 670 pages
Published September 15th 1974 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1974)
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 ·  17,588 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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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 ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Michael Rogers
I read Ryan's book many years before becoming involved in any wartime experience and I was stunned to observe how accurately his vision portrayed combat. I had always heard about how our airborne units were deployed along a highway in Holland, but the true scope of the venture wasn't understood by me until I read this book. It's a true manual in large troop deployment and how things can go so terribly wrong.
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
Bob Mayer
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
carl  theaker
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The title says it all
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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping, compelling and well-researched history of the battle. The narrative is cohesive, easy to follow, and very readable, and Ryan moves smoothly from the highest to lowest ranks.

Ryan clearly and vividly writes how the battle was experienced by soldiers and civilians, and he really captures the drama of the battle and the courage and tenacity of the airborne troops. He also explains how Allied aerial reconnaissance was unable to spot the German panzer divisions, how the drop zones were se
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus-libertados
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
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.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, wwii
This is Nonfiction WWII Military History. I enjoyed this one. I loved the narrator's voice. I could listen to him all day...and well, I actually did just that. This was extremely well researched and it may have had a little too much detail in it, but it all flowed so very well. I liked the little details especially when it came to the individuals. That alone added so much life and heart to the stories. It helped it feel more personal. So 4 stars for this one.
History if written without care can be terribly tedious. This person on this date at this time did this thing and that other person over at this place at another time did that thing etc. The author here does and excellent job connecting you to the people that went through the events he writes about. He puts it into context of the broader picture of the war and yet while understanding the big picture you feel what the man on the ground feels and experiences along with them in little stories scatt ...more
Daniel Millin
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The winner writes history so this battle is glossed over alot. Reading this it felt like I was there with the commanders in their headquarters as it's so well researched. Field Marshals from the German army speaking for the first time as well as all the British/American/Polish giving their endeavours.

The greatest air assault in history and it ended in disaster.
Shane Evans
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken Hammond
A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan

Trapped and cutoff an elete parachute regiment holds off against repeated attacks by determined elete SS NAZI'S longer than they should have, but in the end succumbed. A true story of heroism bravery, self sacrifice.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
It really picked up around page 450.
This tells the intimate story of Operation Market Garden during World War II from the British perspective. Written 20ish years after the war, the events were still "fresh" in the minds of many. The author doesn't just state what happens during the campaign, he tells the story of action from several perspectives. We see how the common soldier viewed the events, the officers, the generals, field marshals, the people in the cities and villages, the enemy and their response. You feel the anguish in ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Completed thirty years after the battle, A Bridge Too Far has complete coverage of Operation Market Garden, from the discussions leading up to it through the aftermath and results. This was Ryan's last book (cancer) and exceedingly well researched, though perhaps a little too complete.

Personal recollections, military records, and sources from both sides of the battle make this volume an excellent resource. Unfortunately, so much information can drag down the narrative a little; perhaps some of i
Amazing. Simply amazing. The 1st Airborne, the 101st, the 82nd, and the Polish Airborne made a daring attempt to end the war early. A drop into Holland the veer around the retreating Germans. An audacious but risky operation. The largest airborne drop of the war. Unfortunately they landed in the midst of a retreating army as well as two SS Panzer divisions. The paratroopers held as long as possible for the meetup of the XXX Armored Corps, bur Model's troops held them up far too long. Ultimately ...more
Stan Skrabut
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Many, many years ago, I watched the movie A Bridge Too Far . Just the other night, I watched the movie again. This time, I have more understanding of the battle after reading the Band of Brothers series and reading Cornelius Ryan’s book that inspired the movie, A Bridge Too Far . Ryan’s book helped to fill in a number of answers I had while watching the movie. Read more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cornelius Ryan’s final book of 3 regarding World War II, a Bridge Too Far details the bold failed Market Garden operation. Ryan mixes corroborated first hand accounts of the battle with accepted military facts. Details of superhuman efforts, heroism, and loss, provide a moving portrayal of the greatest generations courage and sacrifice.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-as-movies
A World War II campaign gone disastrously wrong.
Donald Kirch
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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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