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September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far Hardcover – June 5, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A riveting and deeply moving story of uncommon courage.” —Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Longest Winter

“A testament to men assigned the impossible who, through sheer willpower, almost pulled it off.”—The Wall Street Journal

“McManus’s extensive research allows him to tell the story with verve and authority.” —Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of An Army at Dawn

"McManus mines a rich and too-long-neglected vein of stories, many revealed here for the first time.”—Mark Bando, author of 101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy

“An absolutely riveting and vivid narrative that captures the full extent of the heroism of America’s troops in Operation Market Garden...Military history at its finest. ”—Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times bestsellers War Letters and Behind the Lines

“McManus’s crisply written book tells of the campaign as seen through the eyes of the privates, sergeants, and captains who jumped into the Netherlands and the air crews who got them there.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

About the Author

John C. McManus earned a Ph.D. in American History and Military History from the University of Tennessee, where he served as assistant director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, helping oversee a project collecting the firsthand stories of American veterans of World War II. He is currently associate professor of U.S. military history at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, U.S. Military History, and Modern American Combat Experience. He also currently serves as the official historian for the United States Army’s Seventh Infantry Regiment.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451237064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451237064
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Noted military historian and author, Dr. John C. McManus, Associate Professor of U.S. Military History at Missouri University of Science and Technology, examines the 1944 airborne invasion of Holland in his latest work. The author begins his work by citing an excerpt from the diary of LTG Lewis Brereton, Commander of the First Allied Airborne Army. "In years to come," Brereton noted in November of 1944, "everyone will remember Arnhem, but no one will remember that two American divisions fought their hearts out in the Dutch canal country and whipped hell out of the Germans." Dr. McManus' excellent book reconciles that historical oversight. This is a detailed, well-researched examination of the American contribution to Operation Market Garden.
Relying on official after action reports, unit histories, and personal recollections, McManus concentrates on the planning for Operation Market Garden, tactical use of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions in the plan of attack, and the contribution of the 104th Infantry Division in the seizure of the approaches to the vital port city of Antwerp. Before examining the tactical employment of the force, the author puts forth his conviction that logistics were the key to victory. Without a well-stocked force, the allies had limited military options. He recounts that the allies were handed a quick victory when they seized the city and port of Antwerp. The port had the capability to supply large segments of the allied army. But, field commanders failed to rapidly capture the Scheldt Estuary (the sixty-mile waterway leading from the city of Antwerp to the English Channel), immediately after seizing the port city. It is the author's contention that this was a stunning oversight with profound consequences to the allied effort.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book does a good job of melding the operational point-of-view with that of the individual soldiers asked to carry out their commander's objective. The accounts of the 82nd Airborne around Nijmegen are really well presented. I like the part showing the airborne commander's disappointment at being placed in a defensive role. But that was the manpower issues of the Brits come to life in the 21st Army Group.

The only thing I would take Dr. McManus to task on is his assertion that XXX Corps should have made the move to Arnhem after the 504th cleared the bridge at Nijmegen. While I agree with the rage of the troops on the ground, I do not agree with the assertion that Horrocks, even knowing his situation, should have gone piecemeal down the road that evening. It had already been demonstrated that Market Garden was a failure, it makes no sense to compound a disaster with a bigger disaster by getting shot to pieces on the way to Arnhem. The American airborne and their commanders and followers should rightfully condemn that the Americans were made to clear that bridge for no other purpose, including a river crossing that cost too many lives, but the decision not to advance and get cut up in detail is I think one of the only prudent ones made in the entire British Northwest Europe campaign.

I think all the commanders get treated fairly. I think Ike gets his for giving final approval to the operation. I think Monty gets the appropriate approbation for coveting all the supplies. I think Browning is shown in his true light. Gavin is once again elevated, but his failings as a commander are also brought to light, which makes this account fair.

I would highly recommend this book, as it is a fast read. I feel it gets a tad preachy in places, and there are some odd tense shifts in the over-all narrative, but for those who want to read about the just laurels laid upon our American airborne in WWII this book is for you.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this is a terrific book. The best thing about it is the author's uncanny ability to weave what feels like hundreds of personal experiences of deadly fighting into a chronological and geographical review of goals, strategies, battles, and outcomes. I never lost interest and felt that the way the author told the story was illuminating and moving. The author seems to assume the reader has read (or seen the movie) A Bridge Too Far, since he spends very little time describing the important battle going on in the north at Arnhem. Still, that was okay - it only makes me want to read Cornelius Ryan's book and better complete the picture.

My one complaint had to do with the maps. I find maps a crucial element in histories, especially war accounts. The maps in the book are mostly well done, but there are two problems with them. First, I wish there were more of them. For example, there is only one overall map putting the entire battle in a geographic perspective, and it turns out to be one of the weakest maps. It's main focus is on the takeoff points of the great air armada and how they flew across the channel and into Europe. Landing points are quite small, but it's the only map in the book that gives the reader any relationship of how all the various Dutch towns, cities, rivers, canals, and bridges relate to each other -- and it does a very poor job meeting that goal. But I could have put up with the paucity of maps if it weren't for a simple and annoying gap in the book: there is no List of Maps. I kept wanting too go back and forth between maps and narrative but had to keep searching to find the appropriate map. Sometimes I solved the problem by using multiple bookmarks, but that got old and annoying.
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