Two battles anchor this narrative of Allied efforts to cross the Rhine at WWII's climax. The first is the famous Operation Market-Garden, during which British paratroopers seized a Rhine bridge and were virtually wiped out by German counterattacks. The second is Operation Plunder-Varsity, a set piece crossing by a huge Allied force, including a superfluous airborne attack, that bulldozed through flimsy German defenses in the war's closing days. Although Plunder-Varsity lacked Market-Garden's drama, British military historian Clark (Anzio) tells both sagas well, including planning meetings, harrowing parachute descents and foxhole firefights; he sets the battles in the context of the bitter strategic debates between British and American generals. Less convincing is his rehabilitation of British general Bernard Montgomery's oft-criticized handling of the engagements. Clark describes Market-Garden as both "strategically and operationally sound" and, contradictorily, as "a plan too flawed to be a success." His appreciation of Plunder-Varsity-both "an outrageous success" and "a conservative operation" against "a terminally weak enemy"-is similarly halfhearted. But the courage and resourcefulness of ordinary soldiers, though not of their commander, comes through in this vivid war story. Maps. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Crossing the Rhine: Breaking into Nazi Germany 1944 and 1945-The Greatest Airborne Battles in Historyby Lloyd Clark
In September 1944, with the Allies eager to break into Nazi Germany after Normandy, thirty-five thousand U.S. and British troops parachuted into Nazi held territory in the Netherlands. The controversial offensive, code named Operation Market Garden, was conceived by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to secure the lower RhineGermany’s last great… See more details below
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
In September 1944, with the Allies eager to break into Nazi Germany after Normandy, thirty-five thousand U.S. and British troops parachuted into Nazi held territory in the Netherlands. The controversial offensive, code named Operation Market Garden, was conceived by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to secure the lower RhineGermany’s last great natural barrier in the westand passage to Berlin. Allied soldiers outnumbered Germans by two to one, but they were poorly armed against the German Panzer tanks and suffered devastating casualties. After nine days of intense fighting, they were forced to retreat. Several months later, in March 1945, Montgomery orchestrated another airborne attack of the Rhine. This time the Allies prevailed and began their march into the heart of the Third Reich. At once a gripping narrative and a moving testament to the courage and tenacity of ordinary soldiers who are thrust into desperate circumstances, Crossing the Rhine moves at a fast pace, delivers a fresh interpretation of the past, and forces us to ask ourselves just what it takesin blood spilled, in lives lostto win in war.
It is difficult to determine whether Clark (Anzio) meant to write a popular narrative or a scholarly, technical account of Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity Plunder, the two major Allied airborne efforts to breach the Rhine following D-day; his book moves randomly from one style to the other, awkwardly oscillating between readable prose and text filled with difficult names, numbers, and statistics, interspersed all the while with extensive quotes from generals, soldiers, and politicians. The quotes themselves do not help the reader gain a clearer understanding of the battles or of the human consequences and often come across as pure filler. Clark includes important highlights from other World War II engagements but does not explain how they affected the two operations that are his focus. For instance, his discussion of the failed attempt on Hitler's life led by Claus von Stauffenberg does not show how it influenced later military strategy. Similarly, he is weak on how Market Garden and Varsity Plunder relate to the more famous Battle of the Bulge or to the end of the war. Operation Market Garden was made famous by Cornelius Ryan's A Bridge Too Far, itself made into a movie. Ryan's book is a classic of World War II history and remains the best choice for all collections. Clark's book is not recommended. (Maps and index not seen.) [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/08.]
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 3 MB
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >