Ryan, Cornelius. <em>A Bridge Too Far</em>. New York: Popular Library, 1974.
Reason read: D-Day. Need I say more?
Like The Longest Day before it, A Bridge Too Far reads like a novel at times. It isn’t a dry regurgitation of names, dates, places and statistics. Like The Longest Day the reader gets to know key players in a personal, almost intimate manner. They become more than names of historical significance. The violent battles become real with the ugly sights and sounds of war. This is largely in part due to Ryan’s first hand interviews with witnesses: the veterans and townspeople alike; anyone right in the thick of the action. What sets Ryan’s books apart is that he was given exclusive access to documents that others had only heard about. The confirms and clarifies the history books.
A Bridge Too Far details the failed Market-Garden Operation. Their mission was to seize five major bridges in Belgium, France and Germany. Market was the “from air” attack and Garden was the ground portion of the offensive. After many weather related delays the operation lasted from September 17th to the 24th, 1944. This imaginative battle plan was supposed to be the Allied answer to end the war. Only it didn’t turn out that way.
As an aside, it’s easy to see how Ryan’s books all transitioned easily to the big screen.
Author fact: Ryan became a U.S. citizen when he was 31 years old.
Book trivia: the dedication says it all, “For them all.”
As an aside, while I was working on this blog it dawned on me (after three or four edits) that I had titled it “A Bridget Too Far.”
BookLust Twist: from <em>Book Lust</em> in the obvious chapter “World War II: Nonfiction” (p 254).
PS ~ I don’t think it would be a spoiler to say that I couldn’t bear the end. If you know your history, you know how it goes.