The Longest Day

The Longest Day

by Cornelius Ryan
4.4 44

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Overview

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan

Newly in print for the first time in years, this is the classic story of the invasion of Normandy, and a book that endures as a masterpiece of living history. A compelling tale of courage and heroism, glory and tragedy, The Longest Daypainstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780854565238
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Ltd.
Publication date: 02/01/1977
Pages: 510

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The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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".
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perfect nothing wrong with the book
insanepoet65 9 months ago
TITLE: The Longest Day AUTHOR: Cornelius Ryan GENRE: World War II History PAGES: 352 In 1977, my father and a friend of his took me to see the movie A Bridge Too Far, a three hour epic (intermission included) that heightened my love for history. As I watched the movie I saw the words “Based on the book by Cornelius Ryan”. Okay, there is a book. My mission the next day was to take my butt to the library, go to the Dewey Decimal Card Index and look up Cornelius Ryan. Unfortunately, the library did not have a copy of A Bridge Too Far, but they did have The Longest Day. I took the book out, pedaled my butt home and hunkered down. Sure, I was 12 years old at the time, but this book showed me that wars were fought by real people, who had real families, loves, hopes, fears. I was mesmerized immediately by the writing style and found a new crop of heroes to admire…the men who willingly went to war to defend the world from a bully, and if necessary lay down their lives to stop the said bully. The Longest Day takes you from before the invasion to afterwards. It is not a book about military leaders, but about the soldier who fought, who stormed the beach, parachuted in and got stuck on a steeple top, the ones who lived, and died, not only of the Allied side, but of the Axis (Nazi) side as well. There are some humorous anecdotes along with the tragedy. All in all it is a fantastic read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
The original date of publication for this book was 1959, but the story it tells is by no means dated. It is divided into three sections: preparations leading up to D-Day, events the night prior, and what transpired on the day of the invasion. It is unusual for a history of D-Day to contain no maps, but even a basic one of the beaches and areas inland will do, as this book is less interested in specifying the strategy and tactics of the combatants than recording D-Day through the stories of specific soldiers and civilians - mostly Allied, but with useful insight provided as well from the German perspective. Other sources can be sought to provide details about troop deployments - this novel focuses on personal accounts of arguably the most significant event of WWII. It should be part of any serious WWII collection.
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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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