Item description for MAGNIFICENT DISASTER: The Failure of the Market Garden, The Arnhem Operation, September 1944 by David Bennett...
After Normandy, the most spectacular Allied offensive of World War II was Operation Market Garden, which saw three divisions of paratroopers dropped behind German lines, to be joined by massive armored columns breaking through the front. The ultimate object was to seize a crossing over t the Rhine to outflank the heartland of the Third Reich and force a quick end to the war.The Operation utterly failed, of course, as the 1st British Airborne was practically wiped out, the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions became tied down in vicious combat for months, and the vaunted armored columns were foiled at every turn by improvisational German defenses. In many circles the battle has become known as "Hitler's last victory."In this work, many years in the making, Professor Bennett puts forward a complete, balanced and comprehensive account of the British, American, Polish, Canadian and German actions, as well as the strategic background of the Operation in a way not yet done. He shows, for example, that rather than a bridgehead over the Rhine, Montgomery's ultimate aim was to flank the Ruhr industrial area from the north. The book also deals as never before with the key role of all three Corps of British Second Army, not just Horrocks' central XXX Corps. For the first time, we learn the dramatic, untold story of how a single company of Canadian engineers achieved the evacuation of 1st Airborne's survivors back across the Rhine when all other efforts had failed.Also revealed is the scandal of how Polish General Sosabowski was humiliated, insulted and dismissed by the mendacious hostility of the British military authorities. And the book shows, too, how the Operation would have failed at the outset but for the brilliant soldiery of the two American airborne divisions who overcame a variety of odds to achieve their objectives.Respectfully nodding to "A Bridge Too Far" and other excellent works on Market Garden, the author has interviewed survivors, walked the ground, and performed prodigious archival research to increase our understanding of the battle. From the actions of the lowliest soldier to the highest commander, Allied and German, the Operation develops in highly readable style, with the author's expert analysis unveiling new insights at every step. REVIEWS "...an informative volume... provides a wealth of detail. It will make a valuable addition to your collection if you're an enthusiast of Market Garden or the ETO in WWII..."Armorama, 07/2008"...interesting appendices and a most complete bibliography, making this probably one of the finest works on the subject yet done... both informative and entertaining... I give my highest recommendation for a superb read." Model Madness, 08/2008"...Reveals much of what history has tended to gloss over... This detailed examination of Market Garden should be a must read for all who have an interest in this operation." Airborne Quarterly, 08/2008
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Reviews - What do customers think about MAGNIFICENT DISASTER: The Failure of the Market Garden, The Arnhem Operation, September 1944?
Not Great Sep 23, 2008
Well written book, but totally lacking in maps. Detailed explanations of complex manuvers and tactical dispositions are not supported by maps. Even if you know where Einhoven, Driel and Arnhenm are located, make yourself a sketch map to follow the dialogue. If you are unfamiliar with the locations of these cities get a good road map and follow the narrative. The author also mixes his discussions with the names of American, British, Polish and German force actions. While a technique to keep the reader interested, it can be confusing without a map and diagram of the given orders of battle. His description of the action as British forces close on the Rhine is superb and very detailed. I only wished that he would have supplemented his text with maps and diagrams.
Poorly done Sep 1, 2008
This is a disorganized account with completely inadequate maps, and apparently no editor. Look elsewhere for Market-Garden information.
A Disappointing Work Aug 3, 2008
This is a fairly detailed tactical account of operation Market Garden, the allies attempt to establish a bridgehead over the Rhine in late 1944 by capturing a series of bridges using massed airborne forces.
On the positive side, the author, who from his bio appears to be an amatuer military historian, offers a detailed account of the operation primarily from the allied viewpoint but using sufficient German material to give a sense of the "other side of the hill". The narrative is often a little jerky, jumping around rapidly from unit to unit. However this is probably inevitable when describing a battle that involved three separate airborne areas of operation and a ground force component. The author offers his opinions freely during the text, though none of these are particularly suprising to anyone who has studied this battle.
The flaw in the book and the reason for my mediocre rating is the lack of any detailed maps. The author provides three high level maps which do little to assist the reader in visualizing the events described in the text. When describing action at the detailed, tactical level good maps are essential and their absence seriously degrades the book's value as a battle history. Other flaws include: very little background on the strategic situation, although this would not be a problem for anyone who is already familiar with the miltary history of WWII; minor but irritating editorial errors; and one or two apparent errors of fact. An example of the latter occurs on pages 75-78 where the author states that the British had around 750 men at the Arnhem road bridge. Yet earlier he had stated the Frost's battalion (the main unit at the bridge) had only 481 men and only two of his three companies (300-350 men) actually arrived at the bridge. Despite the author noting that other units later arrived at the bridge it is not completely clear where the additional 400 men came from.
In summary, if you have a high degree of interest in Market Garden this book may be useful to you in providing a more detailed account than is available in other works and by providing at least a little of the German viewpoint, but it is compromised by the lack of maps to support the text.