A veteran journalist fascinated by the experiences of “ordinary people caught up in fear and crisis,” Cornelius Ryan combined exhaustive research with a novelist’s gift for storytelling in his brilliant World War II classics. For each book Ryan interviewed or corresponded with hundreds of military veterans and civilian participants, weaving their individual stories together in books at once epic in scale and intimate in focus.
The Longest Day is a democratic history in which American paratrooper John Steele, hanging from a church steeple in the midst of battle, and German infantryman Josef Häger, trapped inside a besieged bunker, share the stage with top commanders General Dwight Eisenhower and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Ryan captures the nervous anticipation felt by Allied servicemen and French civilians as they await the signal to invade; chronicles the confused German response to the Allied onslaught; and provides cinematic depictions of the grim battle for Ste.-Mère-Église, the desperate assault on the Merville battery, and the bloody struggle to move inland from Omaha Beach.
In Ryan’s tragic masterpiece A Bridge Too Far (1974), Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s uncharacteristically bold plan to end the war in 1944 by crossing the Rhine in Holland sets in motion the greatest airborne assault in history. Ryan narrates with consummate skill the heartbreaking hour-by-hour unraveling of Operation Market Garden as the Allied offensive encounters unexpected German resistance, precipitating a series of merciless battles fought in the Dutch countryside and the shattered streets of Nijmegen and Arnhem.
This authoritative volume also collects seventeen of Ryan’s wartime dispatches, including his eyewitness account of D-Day as seen from an American bomber; magazine stories that supplement The Longest Day; revealing letters to publishers; and samples of the research questionnaires he sent to veterans.
Plus – FREE
World War II Memoirs: The Pacific Theater
Clothbound, slipcased edition | 794 pages
• With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa, E. B. Sledge
• Flights of Passage, Samuel Hynes
• Crossing the Line, Alvin Kernan
With forty pages of photographs and full-color endpaper maps.
“Every generation is a secret society,” former Marine pilot Samuel Hynes wrote. “The secret that my generation—the one that came of age during the Second World War—shared was simply the war itself.” This volume brings together the powerful memoirs of three Americans who came of age fighting in the Pacific and who survived to tell their stories. In With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa Marine veteran E. B. Sledge bears unflinching witness to the horror and degradation of prolonged close-quarters combat It is a haunting testament to his struggle to hold on to decency and sanity, and a moving tribute to the esprit de corps of the U.S. Marines. Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War II Aviator is Samuel Hynes’s evocative and elegiac memoir of his “fairly ordinary flying war.” A “true believer in the religion of flight,” he writes with lyricism, candor, and humor about the joys and dangers of his stateside training as a dive-bomber pilot. Alvin Kernan enlisted in the Navy in 1941 at age seventeen to escape life on a failing Wyoming ranch. Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket’s Odyssey in World War II is a vividly written account of his remarkable service on three aircraft carriers, first as an aviation ordnanceman and then as an air gunner.