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.
About the Author
Antony Beevor was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst. A regular officer in the 11th Hussars, he served in Germany and England. He has published several novels, and his works of nonfiction include The Spanish Civil War; Crete: The Battle and the Resistance, which won the 1993 Runciman Award; Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942—1943; and Berlin: The Downfall, 1945. With his wife, Artemis Cooper, he wrote Paris: After the Liberation: 1944—1949. His book Stalingrad was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the Wolfson History Prize, and the Hawthornden Prize in 1999.
"Beevor conveys a clear sense of what was happening in each fight and the knock-on consequences for the others. What’s more, the compressed time scale and limited strategic scope of Market Garden ideally suit the author’s testimony-rich approach . . . Mr. Beevor is a highly accomplished architect of what the American literary scholar Samuel Hynes calls 'battlefield gothic': the nightmarish horrors and absurdities of combat which themselves become a badge of authenticity for war stories . . . no one could be better placed to explore these topics.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[The Battle of Arnhem] is destined to be a World War II military history classic . . . Excellent maps make the action easy to follow, and the author’s clear, quick prose makes for fascinating, informative reading. . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“The Battle of Arnhem brings a wealth of new detail to a major World War II disaster . . . Beevor brings to the familiar story a vast amount of research in German, British, American, Polish, and Dutch archives. As usual, his narrative bristles with specifics, including countless observations gleaned from eyewitnesses to every stage of Market Garden. Devoted readers of military history will enjoy the wealth of details."—Christian Science Monitor
“In this new volume, Sir Antony Beevor takes a fresh look at this battle first popularized by Cornelius Ryan’s landmark A Bridge Too Far . . . Sir Antony describes the unfolding of the battle in marvelous detail with numerous recollections from both Allied and German participants. One aspect of the battle he covers much better than older narratives is the heavy fighting beyond the Arnhem bridge, the usual focus of Market-Garden histories.”—New York Journal of Books
Praise for Ardennes 1944
“One of the finest narrative military historians now writing . . . What makes Ardennes 1944 so effective . . . is not just the vividness of the prose, the clarity of the author’s presentation of tactical events or his skill at evoking through description and careful quotation the look and even smell of the battlefield. Beevor also does a brilliant job of weaving together the grand operational and the tactical narratives, showing how the decisions of generals do, or do not, shape circumstances on the ground.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A panoramic and intricately detailed account.” —USA Today
“[A] searing account . . . A salutary reminder of that thin veneer detected by Freud between the civilized and the primitive in each of us. Ardennes 1944 ought to prompt some careful reflection on our modern age.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[Beevor] has become one of the most respected, as well as globally popular, chroniclers of the struggle . . . Beevor’s books have hitherto gained less celebrity and sales success in the US than they deserve, but Ardennes 1944 may be the one to change that.”—New York Review of Books
“Award-winning military historian Beevor examines the Battle of the Bulge in-depth . . . The result is a panoramic and remarkably frank treatment of the German attack, ordered by Hitler as a last-ditch attempt to reverse the momentum of battle in Western Europe. . . . Beevor skewers the pretensions and weaknesses of generals and details atrocities and mistreatment of both civilians and surrendering enemies by both sides. . . . [T]his is a treasure of memorable portraits, striking details, fascinating revelations, and broad insights—likely to be the definitive account of the battle for years to come. Essential reading for anyone interested in World War II.” —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“Even readers well-versed on the war in Europe will welcome this book. It is exhaustively researched and full of fresh insights and thoughtful explanations. Those who want to understand how the attack unfolded and why it failed will not find a more valuable addition to the literature on World War II.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Beevor (The Second World War; D-Day), who has won numerous awards for his works, demonstrates here why he is a celebrated historian and writer. Ardennes 1944, or ‘The Battle of the Bulge,’ is squarely focused on this critical World War II battle spanning August 1944 to April 1945. The author tracks troop movements and positioning throughout the long conflict, while accounting for decisions made on the field, in the war room, and all the way up the chain of command to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. The writing is both intense and gripping . . . a wonderful read.” —Library Journal
“Beevor paints a searing portrait of a world weary of war . . . Beevor’s battle descriptions crackle with you-were-there authenticity.” —The Boston Globe
“To write the history of war is above all to tell its story. No one tells it better than Antony Beevor. He combines wide-ranging archival research, published sources, personal accounts, and firsthand knowledge of the terrain. He moves easily among discussions of policy and strategy, the personalities and interactions of commanders, and the viewpoints and standpoints of the people at the sharp end—not only those in the tanks and the foxholes but the civilians caught in the mesh of modern war. And Ardennes 1944 is arguably his best book to date.” —MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History
“Beevor has the art of preserving the individual perspective on the battlefield while placing it among the perspectives of platoon, regiment, division, commanders, politicians and civilians . . . Beevor cares about the soldiers and the truth, an old-fashioned set of concerns that is balanced with modern literary skill. This book clarifies, without simplifying, the human experiences and political stakes of the battle for the Ardennes, bringing realism to the battlefield and coherence to the larger history of the war.” —Timothy Snyder, The Guardian “Indispensible[LG1] .” —David Aaronovitch,The Times “Ardennes 1944 is a book that plays very much to Beevor’s strengths, combining the view from the top with the view from below and vividly portraying the dark realities of military combat. . . . Beevor has delivered another perfectly judged episode of the second world war, a worthy companion to the works that made his name. Yet again, he has shown that he has the gift of alchemy.” —Roger Moorhouse, TheFinancial Times
“What builds up is an exemplary picture of the misery and horror of this most appalling conflict, in which more than a million men fought in conditions comparable to those on the Eastern Front.” —Clare Mulley,TheAustralian
“No one has recounted it better than Beevor. His gripping, beautifully written narrative moves seamlessly from the generals’ command posts to the privates in their snow-covered foxholes, and confirms him as the finest chronicler of war in the business.” —Saul David, TheObserver
“Beevor weaves a brilliant narrative out of all this drama. As in his previous books, his gifts are strongest in focusing on telling details from different perspectives. . . . a vital historical insight.” —Mark Urban,The Sunday Times
“The best military prose of our era.” —El País, Spain
“If there’s one thing that sets Beevor apart from other historians—beyond his gifts as a storyteller— it’s because he is not afraid to look at the most uncomfortable, even frightening subjects, but does so in a way that does not threaten the reader. There’s rarely a judgmental note to his writing. It’s like having Virgil there to lead you through the underworld: he doesn’t leave you stranded amid the horror, but leads you back out again, a wiser person for having undergone the journey.” —Keith Lowe, The Daily Telegraph
“The Master of War . . . The Ardennes is the latest of Beevor’s books on the campaigns of the Second World War. It is a superb addition to the canon which has taken us from Stalingrad to Normandy in 1944 and the final gruesome battle for Berlin, not forgetting the masterly single-volume history of the entire war. It is written with all of Beevor’s customary verve and elegance. His remarkable and trademark ability is to encompass the wide sweep of campaigns yet never forget the piquant details of what happened to the individual . . . He focuses brilliantly on the key moments that turned the battle.” —Robert Fox, LondonEvening Standard
“Beevor is as good on the rows behind the front lines as he is on the battles themselves . . . A sweeping, sobering read, written with all the confidence and aplomb that Beevor fans expect.” —Marcus Tanner, The Independent