The prizewinning historian and internationally bestselling author of D-Day reconstructs the devastating airborne battle of Arnhem in this gripping new account.
On September 17, 1944, General Kurt Student, the founder of Nazi Germany's parachute forces, heard the groaning roar of airplane engines. He went out onto his balcony above the flat landscape of southern Holland to watch the air armada of Dakotas and gliders, carrying the legendary American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the British 1st Airborne Division.
Operation Market Garden, the plan to end the war by capturing the bridges leading to the Lower Rhine and beyond, was a bold concept, but could it have ever worked? The cost of failure was horrendous, above all for the Dutch who risked everything to help. German reprisals were pitiless and cruel, and lasted until the end of the war.
Antony Beevor, using often overlooked sources from Dutch, American, British, Polish, and German archives, has reconstructed the terrible reality of the fighting, which General Student called "The Last German Victory." Yet The Battle of Arnhem, written with Beevor's inimitable style and gripping narrative, is about much more than a single dramatic battle--it looks into the very heart of war.
This is destined to be a World War II military history classic. Historian Beevor (Ardennes 1944) draws on archives, memoirs and existing scholarship to produce a top-notch WWII battle history of the Market Garden Operation, giving equal emphasis to the American airborne landings, the XXX Corps armored attack, and the British 1st Airborne Division battle for the Arnhem bridge. Excel-lent maps make the action easy to follow, and the author's clear, quick prose makes for fascinating, informative reading. Beevor seamlessly transitions from the soldier perspective in the trenches to the perspective of the generals commanding in their headquarters, and balances the points of view of all the participants, including the Germans and Dutch civilians. He does not shy from the controversy surrounding this bold but ultimately unsuccessful allied offensive operation; why the operation failed and who was responsible are some of the central questions of the book. Though he breaks little new ground, Beevor clarifies the consensus argument that the operation's failure was due to fundamental flaws in planning and puts forth well-supported opinions. Beevor's superb latest offering, in keeping with his established record of excellence, is a must-read for the general military history enthusiast and the WWII history expert.