The Longest Day: June 6, 1944

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Overview

Through the hours before dawn on June 6, 1944, as paratroopers fought in the hedgerows of Normandy, the greatest armada the world had ever known assembled off the beach -- almost 5000 ships carrying more than 200,000 soldiers.

In THE LONGEST DAY, Cornelius Ryan tells the story of the hours that preceded and followed H-Hour of D-Day. It is not a military history but the story of people: the men of the Allied forces, the enemy and the civilians ...

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The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day

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Overview

Through the hours before dawn on June 6, 1944, as paratroopers fought in the hedgerows of Normandy, the greatest armada the world had ever known assembled off the beach -- almost 5000 ships carrying more than 200,000 soldiers.

In THE LONGEST DAY, Cornelius Ryan tells the story of the hours that preceded and followed H-Hour of D-Day. It is not a military history but the story of people: the men of the Allied forces, the enemy and the civilians caught up in the confusion of battle.

Besides researching published papers, Ryan tracked down 700 D-Day survivors. Their experiences are woven together into the breathtaking narrative of THE LONGEST DAY.

This classic bestseller--back in print to coincide with the 50th anniversary of D-Day--offers a brilliant, authentic, gripping account of the hours that preceded and followed the Allied invasion of Normandy. "Fifty years from now the history of D-Day, I am sure, will lean heavily on this book."--John Toland, New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is but one of many volumes released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Allied landing on the beaches of Normandy (see ``World War II: Fifty Years After D-Day,'' LJ 4/1/94, p. 110-111). Ryan gleaned the information for this 1959 volume (LJ 11/15/59) from American, British, and German war documents and diaries of the great generals as well as through interviews with hundreds of soldiers and civilians who were involved in the invasion. Besides being a solid history of the event, this is also a portrait of the people who lived it. One of the best books on the subject, this is essential for all academic and public libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736618960
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1991
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 6 Cassettes

Meet the Author

Cornelius Ryan (1920–1974), born in Dublin, became one of the preeminent war correspondents of his time, flying fourteen bombing missions with the US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. He is the author of numerous books, including several classics of military history, which have appeared throughout the world in nineteen languages. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government in 1973.

CLIVE CHAFER is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the U.S. In 1993, he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland's professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

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(10)

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(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    Skilfully written, yet brutally realistic...a memorable WWII read.

    This is a book about the Normandy assault in 1944, from the viewpoint of many people who fought there. Not being a history buff, I was skeptical when I was advised this book as 'one of the best books i have ever read'. However, the format is so similar to that of a fiction novel that I oftentimes forgot that what Ryan describes actually happened, and was not just a figment of his imagination. The real happenings that every individual who aided Ryan recalls are very minute, yet they piece together to form the majestic jigsaw that is "The Longest Day". Despite the massive amounts of research that most surely went into the making of this book, it is not simply a non-fiction book which lists the happenings of this deathly day. Instead, Ryan transforms the memories of these many soldiers into a flowing, novel-like text. This feature of his book makes it very enjoyable to read. With personal accounts which vary between the nerve-wracked masses of the allied landing troops to the often-suicidal allied paratroop drops prior to D-day, this book describes in detail the entire course of D-day from a wide variety of perspectives. The memories are often of the death individuals witnessed around them, with occasional humorous ones interspersed, such as the tale of Leonard Sidney Dawe. However, Ryan's well of information also extends to the Nazis. Of those who survived, many contributed recollections of the day. Constantly interchanging between the Allies and the Axis, this heightens the sense of sheer awe that characterized the allied invasion into France. And this it most definitely was; the scale of death, destruction, misfortune and calamity that plagued both combatants throughout was so massive-yet Ryan somehow intertwines the numeric data detailing the stunning loss of life with a chronological fluency, which makes for an excellent read. This is the theme which Ryan focuses on: the scale of destruction that took place on D-day. I would even go so far as to say that someone of my reading preference, who had no knowledge that WWII even occurred, would still thoroughly enjoy this book if only as a stimulant for the mind. The details of the commonly gruesome and inhumane deaths are emotionally powerful, and hearing veterans recall how they watched these men die from no more than 3 feet away made me really appreciate the suffering so many endured on June 6, 1944. ".glider overshot the zone and crashed into a field studded with "Rommel's asparagus".General Pratt had been killed instantly, crushed by the crumpled framework of the cockpit". On the negative side, the buildup to D-day requires a lot of patience to wade through, and the book ends. I think that a book like this for the entire war would be incredible. Having seen the beautiful Normandy countryside and beaches when I was too young to understand the happenings that took place there, reading this book ten years later has really made me appreciate the depth and tragedy of the Normandy assault. I believe that this quote alone sums up the book perfectly: "Believe me, gentlemen, the first 24 hours of this invasion will be decisive. It will become for the allies as well as for the Germans, the longest day-the longest day."-Erwin Rommel I easily give this book a 10/10. Another work of Cornelius Ryan that I would recommend is "A Bridge Too Far".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Fantastic display of military journalism

    Cornelius Ryan performs an exceptional job in recounting the planning and execution of the Allied invasion of Normandy. A first hand witness of the events surrounding D-Day, Ryan provides the reader with an immensely detailed story that is not only informative, but also well-written. Additionally, The Longest Day is a fantastic display of Ryan¿s prominence in military journalism. By going to great lengths to create a comprehensive account, he fashions a piece of literature well worth the read. Divided into three chapters, The Longest Day uncovers the preparations taken by the Allies, the preliminary steps of the invasion, and the beach landings on that infamous day in June of 1944. A skilled writer, Ryan successfully includes a suspenseful atmosphere throughout the novel by using descriptive imagery during battle scenes and other key moments. Additionally, the story is told from two sides. On one hand, the reader is able to observe the intense preparations being made on the side of the Allies, while on the other hand, he or she is offered the point of view of the Nazis. By doing this, Ryan makes use of dramatic irony as we know of the impending doom about to face the unsuspecting Nazis. This omniscient perspective presented to the reader is supplemented by the various levels of focus Ryan wishes to include. Not only does he discuss the specific tactics and strategies utilized by the invading regiments as a whole, but he also offers the thoughts, opinions, and sentiments of individual soldiers. These personal accounts sustain the reader¿s interest throughout the novel by evoking a feeling of sympathy and pity for these men who must overcome several challenging obstacles. I recommend this book to anyone who takes an interest in military history, especially World War II. Overflowing with valuable information and detail, The Longest Day is also a great source of learning for those who simply wish to understand the events that happened on that historical day. Those who show no interest in the subject matter, however, should by no means read this book because many may consider some parts dry and uneventful. Nevertheless, confident that most will enjoy this comprehensive piece of non-fiction, I most definitely view The Longest Day as a gripping novel that few would be able to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2007

    The Longest Day

    World War Two, the holocaust was a truly a black mark on the record of human civilization. This book is a play by play from preparations of operation OVERLORD to the prosecution. Operation Overlord was the United States plan for entry into the war in Europe. This book is only for people who love to learn facts about history. The reading is dry and going from page to page without and interest in world war two would be a real challenge. For a book that is a much bit easier to read I recommend something such as¿ 9 Seconds Over Tokyo¿.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2002

    A Must Have for all millitary buffs

    Perfect nothing wrong with the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    brilliant

    brilliant

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Standard to Judge War Reporting By

    Ryan's research was exhaustive, interviewing hundreds (at least) of participants and observers on both sides, and he assimilated it into a comprehensive narrative documenting what was the largest amphibious and airborne invasion in recorded history. From generals to privates; from infantrymen to pilots to sailors and ship captains; from Americans to British to French to Germans; Ryan integrates hundreds of individual experiences into a flowing tapestry of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when America and her theretofore defeated allies clawed a bloody toehold in Hitler's "Fortress Europe." Thousands of paratroopers were dropped on the night of June 5 to secure vital bridges and towns, but the pilots almost universally missed their drop zones and paratroopers were scattered all over northern France, surrounded by Germans and fighting desperately to find their units and take their objectives. In the morning, both naval bombardment and preparatory arial bombing fell behind the coastal defenses, leaving the Germans alert and unscathed to meet the assault troops. Rangers scaled steep 100 foot cliffs under heavy fire at Pont du Hoc to knock out Wermacht guns (which turned out not to be there any way). Finally, the troops came ashore on 5 beach heads. The defenses were deadliest at Omaha Beach, where it took the Americans of the Big Red One (1st Inf. Div.) and the 29th Inf. Division most of the day, with horrendous casualties (for Americans), to finally break through. It was a remarkable 24-hour period in world history, and Ryan gives it the treatment it deserves. The film based on his book is also quite good.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    the longest day

    this book has been greatly research and many interview were done in the writing of this book. i have read 3 books about d-day and this is the best one written that i have read. mr. ryan did a wonderful job in putting this together and breaking it down into three catagories. the first exploring the leading up to the historic day and the things that many of those involved were doing, including things that the underground and the germans were doing

    the second part talks about the paratroopers landing at night and the problems that they had in being scattered all over normandy. many of the units landed in the wronng landing zones and troopers of the 82nd airborne where commanded by officers of the 101st airborned and vice versa. even finding themselves scattered they went about their duties and tried to accomplish the missions that were assigned to them. of course, the germans believed that this was just a diversionary attack thus keeping the german panzers pinned up near the pas-de-calais, where the allies hoped they would think the invasion would come at.

    the final section deals with the landings at the beaches and describes in depth the problems that occured especially on omaha beach. you can understand the worries and problems of those bottled up there and wondering if they were to be evacuated. it shows how those on utah beach didnt have very much resistance and got off the beach and headed inlasnd. it also describes the other allies and their problems on their beach and their pushes inland to reach their d-day objectives

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    The Longest Day

    This book was very enlightening since I grew up in the WW11 era and have visited Omaha Beach.There is also a wonderful museum there. The only draw back to the book was the glue binding and it almost fell apart before I finished reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    a reviewer

    This book is just amazing. From the planning to the landings on omaha beach this book covers it all. It is a informationol wonder told by a author who was there on that fateful day of June 6 1944. It is a book you must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2002

    Had me Atteched From the Start

    I really loved this book right from the start. It is told in more of a story form but it was completely accurate, and that's what is great about it. Definitely one of the greatest novels of the Allied Invasion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2002

    Excellent, Classic, Exciting.

    I first read the Chinese version of the book. It was classic. Unlike other books of the type, the author made a perfect combination of historical facts and novel-writing technique. It was also the first book I read in English as I came to the United States. I read the book several times, both in Chinese and in English and watched the movie based on it several times also, and could still feel like reading it. This book also inspired me to read the other two books by the same author--'A Bridge Too Far' and 'the Last Battle'. Still, 'the Longest Day' stands as the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    Nonfictional Fun

    My dad had read this book shortly after it came out (the first edition) and ever since I got into war he has always told me what a good book it was. Now the time came up in my eighth grade class to write my first reaserch paper and I based it on D-Day. As soon as I told my dad this is imediatly told me to get this book as one of my sorces. So bottom line is, I read it, I loved it, it helped me learn/write what I needed to know and hope you guys too would read this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    The standard

    My dad, a 1956 grad of West Point, had this book for years. He gave it to me to read. It was my first military book and has since been the standard. Ryan tells the D-Day story from beginning to end and from all sides - German, American, British, French. It's an amazing piece of work. I gave a copy to one of my lieutenants. He is a Ranger School grad but couldn't recognize a picture of me in front of the cliffs at Point du Hoc. I bought him a copy of this book and he read it, recounting the Ranger assualt in Normandy. Yes, even Army officers are inept in military history. But, he has thanked me many times for the book. Indeed, a great book to have upon one's library shelves - worn and read many times that is!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    Not Just Military History!

    I read Cornelius Ryan's book for a World War II in Europe class in college and really loved it. I was expecting it to be rather boring like some history books. But, it was really the opposite. Ryan focuses on many of the individuals involved in D-Day not just the strategy and tactics. He goes into great detail about both sides and how prepared or unprepared they were on June 6, 1944. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know about D-Day! One of the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2001

    It's almost like you were there

    This book paints a vivid a picture of the invasion or Normandy. Ryan does a remarkable job of tying the big picture objective to personal stories of men involved in the invasion. After reading this book, I have vacationed in Normandy to see the memorials for these brave men. Any History buff intested in WW II would benefit from this remarkable book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2000

    The Longest Day

    I thought that the book, 'The Longest Day' was one of the best historical books I've ever read. The author made a real point to be thorough in detail. I was amazed at some of the outstanding feats regular men were expected to do. I also thought that this was one of the most informative history books written for this time period. I felt that the author did an outstanding job in giving facts but keeping the reader hooked throughout the book. Although some of the chapters were a bit lengthy the author did a good job of getting to the point. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in war or an interest in learning about war and the amazing feats that men accomplished.

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    Posted March 19, 2010

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    Posted March 24, 2011

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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    Posted December 10, 2008

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