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The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day Paperback – May 1, 1994

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671890913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671890919
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (243 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

A true classic of World War II history, The Longest Day tells the story of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Journalist Cornelius Ryan began working on the book in the mid-1950s, while the memories of the D-day participants were still fresh, and he spent three years interviewing D-day survivors in the United States and Europe. When his book was first published in 1959, it was tremendously successful, establishing many of the legends of D-day that endure in the public's mind. Ryan was enormously skillful at weaving small personal stories into the overall narrative, and he would later use the same technique to depict the airborne invasion of Holland in A Bridge Too Far. Not only is The Longest Day a pleasure to read, but subsequent historians, dutifully noting its accuracy, have relied heavily on Ryan's research for their own accounts. In short, the book is a "must read" for anyone interested in the D-day invasion. --Robert McNamara

From Publishers Weekly

Ryan's classic military study, the basis for the 1972 film with John Wayne, is reissed for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Very well written, great read.
The author interviews individuals on both sides to make the perspectives from both sides - very real and very human.
John Porsley
This book is quite simply a classic of WWII literature and is a must read for anyone with an interest in US history.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By D. Keating on February 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
A masterful account of the first twenty-four hours of the D-Day invasion. Mr. Ryan transports the reader all over the battlefield, giving numerous perspectives (both allies and axis) to the events that unfolded on June 6, 1944.
When I was a company commander serving in Germany, I required all my company officers to read this book as part of their professional development. They all thanked me afterwards for introducing them to one of Mr. Ryan's classic WWII books.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in WWII, or has read any of Mr. Ryan's other books (A Bridge Too Far, The Last Battle). Personally, I read this book and viewed the film (which is also a classic) before visiting the Normandy beaches. I felt this preparation made my trip to Normandy more meaningful and enjoyable.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 30, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Famed author Cornelius Ryan has a unique and appealing way of telling a story that makes his books quite unique, and this huge best seller is no exception. Here he sets the stage for his brilliant trilogy on the war in Europe by chronicling the events surrounding the fabled Allied sea-borne assault in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Its total cost in terms of human life and unnecessary destruction is a cautionary lesson for history. Like his other books, this is a story told at every level, but concentrating on the faithful recollections of the actual participants in the action. Thus, the reader is wept into the action as we get a voyeur's view of the moment-to-moment development of the story as it unfolds in all its horrific detail.
There is a virtual cornucopia of information presented here, and Ryan's approach is scrupulously faithful to the facts, all of them, regardless of the source. Therefore, there is a great deal of attention paid not only to the recollections and experiences of the Allied assault troops, but to German defenders and French civilians caught in the terrible crossfire of the opposing forces. This was the book that originated the man-on-the-ground perspective that has been subsequently used to such advantage both by Ryan and number of notable others. There is little apparent effort here to color the results and make the Allies more circumspect and less provocative in making and activating their star-crossed assault.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on February 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day" is assembled as a mosaic of scenes occurring at both sides of the Channel and afterwards on France. It shows all the main actors in action, ranging from Generals and Marshals thru Privates to Civilians.

It is divided into three parts: "The Waiting" encompassing since the first invasion planning thru Eisenhower's decision to launch the assault against meteorological odds.

This section reviews German defense plans, displaying Rommel's ingenuity in devising obstacles to the assault; the enormous Allied effort to secretly reunite troops and baggage; the failure of German High Command to acknowledge intelligence of the eminent invasion and finally the hair-raising suspense introduced by stormy weather.

"The Night" describes the massive paratroop and glider-bound troop's assault and how the scattered soldiers, fighting their own fear and disorientation, pushed ahead to conquer their targets.

"The Day" focuses on the beaches' assault, reviewing from "Bloody Omaha" till more calm (comparatively) "Juno".

Based on eye witness accounts the book gives the reader a vibrant relation of the momentous Day. Especially thrilling are the portrayals of American Brig. Generals Theodore Roosevelt and Norman Cotta; the German Maj. Werner Pluskat and the British Lord Lovat and his blow-piper side kick.

Those 24 hours should had seemed, as the title implies, an eternity to everyone involved!

This book stands on par with two more remarkable ones: Toland's "The Battle of the Bulge" and Collins and Lapierre's "Is Paris Burning?"

I warmly recommend this work to WWII buffs and readers interested in first hand accounts of crucial events!

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Steve Iaco on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the gold standard among military history books, the masterful story of D-Day, the first day of the Allies' climactic invasion of Normandy.
This is an eminently readable book, one that most readers -- even those without interest in military or history books -- will find impossible to put down, even though the outcome is well known. Cornelius Ryan brings surprising clarity to the multi-faceted D-Day operation, allowing us to view the events of June 6, 1944 from many perspectives: German, French, British, Canadian and American. My only complaint with "The Longest Day" -- a quibble, really -- is that the soft-cover version I purchased lacked any maps, which would have been useful for a geographically-challenged reader such as me.
If you've seen the movie, I'd encourage you to read the book. If you haven't seen the movie, read the book and then rent the movie. You'll find it an enjoyable experience, worthy of all the 5-star ratings you see here.
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