The Longest Day: June 6, 1944

The Longest Day: June 6, 1944

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Through the hours before dawn on June 6, 1944, as paratroopers fought in the hedgerows of Normandy, the greatest armada the world had ever known assembled off the beach -- almost 5000 ships carrying more than 200,000 soldiers.

In THE LONGEST DAY, Cornelius Ryan tells the story of the hours that preceded and followed H-Hour of D-Day. It is not a military history but the story of people: the men of the Allied forces, the enemy and the civilians caught up in the confusion of battle.

Besides researching published papers, Ryan tracked down 700 D-Day survivors. Their experiences are woven together into the breathtaking narrative of THE LONGEST DAY.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455156535
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 03/01/2012
Pages: 8
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Cornelius Ryan (1920–1974), born in Dublin, became one of the preeminent war correspondents of his time, flying fourteen bombing missions with the US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. He is the author of numerous books, including several classics of military history, which have appeared throughout the world in nineteen languages. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government in 1973.

CLIVE CHAFER is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the U.S. In 1993, he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland's professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008.

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The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 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
CrazyBabe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book describing the lead up to and including D-Day. I will admit though that I read the book after seeing the movie. Told from not only the German and allied point of view, but also the view of the French Resistance this book provides fascinating insight into the ordinary lives of the people in occupied France as well as the life of the ordinary soldier and the battle that still considered to this day as the greatest seaborne invasion in military history.
jcbrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The Longest Day" is one of the best war movies about one of history's most daring project. I long wondered whether the book would live up to the cinematic drama. In fact, the book is already cinematic. Many famous scenes from the movie are already arranged on the page. A fantastic story, great protagonists, drama and emotion - what is there not to like? The only detriment is that it is quite a short book to describe such a long day. Given the exhaustive D Day literature, the urge to learn more about any aspect of that day and the campaign can be stilled elsewhere. A great read.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think people view history as a boring and tedious subject because they forget that flesh and blood people are often the backbone of historical events. People who could have been the reason for their very being. Cornelius Ryan didn't forget that the importance of D-Day didn't lie in how it happened but whomade it happen. In his introduction he makes it clear that The Longest Day is not an military account of June 6th, 1944 but "a story of people..." within a 24 hour time span. The detail and clarity with which Ryan writes about seemingly ordinary men and women makes The Longest Day extraordinary.
5hrdrive on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Minute by minute record of the epic events of D-Day. Based on hundreds of eyewitness accounts by the soldiers and civilians who lived through the Longest Day. My only complaint is that the book is too short.
benuathanasia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely astounding. Parts of the book had me laughing while other parts had me forcing back tears. I loved all the depth and detail Ryan included without becoming tedious with the minutiae. He made each soldier and civilian seem like they were the protagonist of the tale. My absolute favorite part was how impartial Ryan was; he made no judgments about the cast of characters and allowed readers to draw their own conclusions (told you Hartmann that you could have a good research paper without forming an argument).Now, I'm fully aware that the way I spoke about the book made it seem more like fiction than fact, but that is because Ryan tells history so well it sounds more like an action packed movie than a brilliant piece of historical non-fiction (which seem to have the stigma of being dry...even among my fellow history majors). I completely concur with the other reviewer that said this book should be made into a Spielberg mini-series.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this recounting of the D-Day invasion, Ryan manages to avoid the fustiness of so many history books and simply tell a story (or, rather, many stories, all woven together). He doesn't stint on content but his writing style is so appealing that the events flow along almost as if you're reading a novel. One of the best aspects is that, since he started researching it so soon after the war, he was able to draw on the fresh memories of so many participants and fill the book with personal stories¿some humorous, some sad.
Carolfoasia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! I loved this book. Anytime I read until 3 a.m., it is a very good book and day. I am blown away at the great risk these brave men took to free Europe from tyranny. This is a must read. You will never whine again after you read it. Against all odds, these brave men fought there way up the beaches at Normandy. Man, crying even as I type.
linedog1848 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Longest Day put great personal stories to the history. It gave a wonderfully specific, but not overly laborious description of the day of battle through the eyes of the survivors. Written within 15 years of the war, this book is filled with gold--interviews with survivors of D-Day that are lost forever now, with fewer and fewer by the year. Thank goodness for this wonderful record of the events.I have only two criticisms. One is that I felt the book was overly detailed in the lead-up to the invasion. There was a bit too much description of the terrain and the preparations than I would have liked, and the battle only really occupied the second half of the book--it took me a while to get into the read.My second criticism is no fault of the author, editor, publisher, or anyone else involved, but merely a lament at the sad fact that no matter how we may wish for it, there is no such thing as a book starring John Wayne.
elmiller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most captivating history books I've ever read, and definitely a must-read on the subject of WWII.Ryan builds suspense by beginning with Eisenhower's internal debate about proceeding with the invasion despite unfavorable weather and the German efforts to decipher coded messages sent to the French Resistance. The bulk of the book then focuses on the details of the air drops and beach landings. The book moves along at a fairly quick pace and really helps you imagine what it was like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it to be a fascinating account of the actions on this eventful day by so many that charged into the face of death without a moments hesitation for their personal safety.
insanepoet65 More than 1 year 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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