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Arnhem Reviews

Arnhem by Antony Beevor

Arnhem

The Battle for the Bridges, 1944

Antony Beevor

4.82 out of 5

6 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: Viking
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 17 May 2018
ISBN: 9780670918669

On 17 September 1944, General Kurt Student, the founder of Nazi Germany's parachute forces, heard the growing roar of aeroplane engines. He went out on to his balcony above the flat landscape of southern Holland to watch the air armada of Dakotas and gliders carrying the British 1st Airborne and the American 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions. He gazed up in envy at this massive demonstration of paratroop power. Operation Market Garden, the plan to end the war by capturing the bridges leading to the Lower Rhine and beyond, was a bold concept: the Americans thought it unusually bold for Field Marshal Montgomery. But could it ever have worked?

  • The TimesBook of the Year
5 stars out of 5
Gerard DeGroot
1 Dec 2018

"No one beats Beevor at recreating the bewildering cacophony of war"

In September 1944 Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery foolishly decided that he could push an armoured column 103km to Arnhem in a few days. With devastating command of his subject, Antony Beevor shows how one commander’s hubris destroyed an army. This is not a tale of heroes, although heroes are present. It’s a story about the ugliness of war. It’s about blood and piss and vomit, severed limbs, oozing brains and soldiers crying for their mothers. No one beats Beevor at recreating the bewildering cacophony of war.

Reviews

5 stars out of 5
25 Apr 2019

"This finely detailed account of the human cost ends with a poignant anecdote of loss redeemed."

Antony Beevor’s best-selling account of the operation takes a steelier look both at the defeat and at the dreadful civilian suffering that ensued...

This finely detailed account of the human cost ends with a poignant anecdote of loss redeemed.

5 stars out of 5
29 Jun 2018

"(a) return to Stalingrad form. Forensic is too soft a word to describe the breadth of detail he brings"

As Beevor’s superlative new book shows it was not a failure of boots on the ground but a failure of brass-hat planning that led to surrender by Major General John Frost, whose force of 745 was reduced by fighting to just 100 fully operative men....Beevor is not the first historian to tackle this subject. US historian Rick Atkinson wrote a notable offering, his Liberation trilogy, covering Market Garden well.

Atkinson’s style is much more descriptive than Beevor’s whose strength lies in his grasp of facts. And Arnhem: Battle For The Bridges sees him return to Stalingrad form. Forensic is too soft a word to describe the breadth of detail he brings.

5 stars out of 5

"Sir Antony’s unearthing of neglected sources from all the countries involved... brings to life every aspect of the battle."

There is a particularly British tendency to romanticise valiant military failure... Sir Antony Beevor avoids this trap. In the meticulous narrative style he first employed in “Stalingrad”, he recreates the operation from the dropping of the first troops on September 17th to the evacuation of the remnants of the British 1st Airborne Division eight days later. Tragically, heroism and incompetence are inseparable.

The outline of the story of “Arnhem” may be familiar, but Sir Antony’s unearthing of neglected sources from all the countries involved—British, American, Polish, Dutch and German—brings to life every aspect of the battle. 

3 stars out of 5
Robert Fox
10 May 2018

"The drama of manoeuvre and counter-thrust, the courage and cowardice of soldier and civilian, the follies and vanities of commanders... are deployed with colour and humanity"

The story gets the full Beevor Stalingrad treatment — an approach that has proved so successful in his half-dozen battle and campaign chronicles of the war. The drama of manoeuvre and counter-thrust, the courage and cowardice of soldier and civilian, the follies and vanities of commanders, which are especially rich in this story, are deployed with colour and humanity. 

His fans will love it. Arnhem is one of the great British heroic defeats, along with Dunkirk and Sir John Moore’s failure at Corunna. 

5 stars out of 5
Keith Lowe
1 May 2018

"What Beevor does bring to this narrative, however, is a complete mastery of both the story and the sources. The beauty is in the details."

What Beevor does bring to this narrative, however, is a complete mastery of both the story and the sources. The beauty is in the details. At the Arnhem road bridge, besieged paratroopers ask their officers, with typical army humour, if they can now please be paid overtime... Antony Beevor received some criticism a few years ago, particularly for his grand history of the Second World War, which was perhaps too vast and sprawling a subject to showcase his talents. In recent years, however, he has regained his mojo. This gripping book, with its tightly focused timescale and subject matter, shows him once again at his very best.