New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1988. First Touchstone Edition, later printing. Trade Paperback. 199., ] pages. Illustrations. Includes Preface, as well as Epilogue, Appendix: Poett's Orders to Howard, Acknowledgments, Sources, and Index. Chapters cover D-Day: 0000 to 0015 Hours; D-Day Minus Two Years; D-Day Minus One Year to D-Day Minus One Month; D-day Minus One Month to D-Day; D-Day: 0016 to 0026 Hours; D-Day: 0026 to 0600 Hours; D-Day: 0600 to 1200 Hours; D-Day: 1200 to 2400 Hours; D-day Plus One to D-Day Plus Ninety; D-Day Plus Three Months to D-Day Plus Fifty Years; D-Day Plus Forty Years to D-day Plus Fifty Years. This gripping account of the turning point of World war II by acclaimed author Stephen Ambrose brings to life a daring mission so crucial that, had it been unsuccessful, the entire Normandy invasion might have failed. Ambrose traces each step of the preparations over many months to the minute-by-minute excitement of the hand-to-hand confrontations on the bridge. This is a story of heroism and cowardice, kindness and brutality--the stuff of all great adventures. In a review of To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian for the New York Times, William Everdell credited the historian with reaching "an important lay audience without endorsing its every prejudice or sacrificing the profession's standards of scholarship." Ambrose was a history professor from 1960 until his retirement in 1995. From 1971, he was on the faculty of the University of New Orleans, where he was the Boyd Professor of History in 1989, an honor given only to faculty who attain "national or international distinction for outstanding teaching, research, or other creative achievement" Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a longtime professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many bestselling volumes of American history. Derived from a Kirkus review: The recent, deglorifying accounts of D-Day and after left untouched the reputation of the British Sixth Airborne Division—one unit of which, the gliderborne troops of Major John Howard's D Company, made the first, crucial Normandy landing. For Ambrose this brief chronicle of a single engagement in a busman's holiday for fair: leading a veterans' battlefield tour in 1981, Ambrose was approached at Pegasus Bridge—one of the pair of crossings, over the Caen Canal and Ouse River, that Company D captured and held on D-Day—by none other than Major Howard . . . from whom (along with other British and German survivors) he later got much of this story. It's foremost a story of preparation. From the overloaded Horsa gliders soundlessly approaching their pinpoint landing zone at 0007 on D-Day, Ambrose switches to the preceding two years of training and planning, boredom and break-outs: Howard's fanatical emphasis on physical fitness and mental alertness; the endless nighttime simulations, the practice with German weapons; the intelligence, unprecedented in detail and currency; the sense, to a man, 'that D-Day would be the greatest day of their lives.' Howard's company succeeds in taking the bridges intact, thanks partly to luck and German weaknesses. A single corporal, with the company's one functioning anti-tank weapon, holds the bridges until paratroop reinforcements arrive—in effect securing the invasion's entire eastern flank—while Hitler's insistence on giving every order delays a German counterattack until midday. But Howard loses his officers, by having them lead their platoons from the front. After D-Day, we learn, D Company reverted to being an ordinary infantry company, a waste Ambrose decries, and the British never mounted another such coup de main—'not for the bridge at Arnhem, nor the one at Nijmegen.' Howard, a reckless driver, was seriously injured in a motor accident and crippled trying to get back into trim. Others of the men became friendly, even intimate, with their German counterparts. Ambrose is little given to dramatizing, the facts don't need embellishment. Condition: Very Good.
Keywords: WWII, European Theater, D-Day, John Howard, Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, Hans von Luck, Wally Parr, Battle Studies, Nigel Poett, Jack Bailey, Dennis Fox, Nigel Taylor, British Sixth Airborne Division