A Bridge Too Far

Narrated by: Clive Chafer
Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (748 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The classic account of one of the most dramatic battles of World War II.

A Bridge Too Far is Cornelius Ryan’s masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshaled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-day.

In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem.

Focusing on a vast cast of characters - from Dutch civilians to British and American strategists to common soldiers and commanders - Ryan brings to life one of the most daring and ill-fated operations of the war. A Bridge Too Far superbly recreates the terror, suspense, heroism, and tragedy of this epic operation, which ended in bitter defeat for the Allies.

About the author: Cornelius Ryan (1920–1974), born in Dublin, Ireland, 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.

©1974 Cornelius Ryan (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“I know of no other work of literature of World War II as moving, as awesome, and as accurate in its portrayal of human courage.” (General James M. Gavin)
“Ryan masters a spare, strong style to deliver a battle that has much of the majesty and beauty of classic tragedy. ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about A Bridge Too Far

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story much better than the movie

Where does A Bridge Too Far rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The research is good and goes so much further than the movie. The characters are complex and one has to remember that they are real. The inability of the allies to manage the campaign makes you wonder what would have happened if the German units were at full strength. The characterization of Field Marshall Montgomery is consistent with most books I've read. The inability of the allies to react nimbly was a result of too big a hierarchy; much like the Pentagon or many corporations. The inefficiency of the German military was unmatched. The saddest part of the book is the fate of the Dutch population who were simply in the way of Montgomery's unending need for glory. His "dagger thrust" strategy was tried and it failed despite the "90%" success.

How could the performance have been better?

Clive Chafer gives monotone delivery a bad name. Not awful but has the most creative and fantastic monotone ever heard. The story is too compelling to put you to sleep but his delivery reminds one of a flat landscape that uses a mouse's foot prints for mountains.

12 people found this helpful

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Run on sentences

What did you love best about A Bridge Too Far?

The story, men and mission are captivating. A true and powerful example of heroism by the men, and bad decisions by the command.

What did you like best about this story?

Gritty, realistic and stories told from a soldiers POV.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Clive Chafer?

Anyone else... He reads the book like he is in a hurry. He reads without regard to punctuation, like it is a long run on sentence. The narrator killed the book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Despite the narrator I gained a very keen insight into the special and personal histories.

7 people found this helpful

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Great read!

This book was a great read. the narrator was very skilled and the book flowed very easily.

4 people found this helpful

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Great story marred by monotone performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, even though you have seen the movie, the story itself has so much more to offer. The personal perspectives of the survivors, the details about why and how. A great story

What did you like best about this story?

The personal narratvies and stories of the survivors adds a great deal to the story

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The delivery was monotone and mechanical. It nearly ut me to sleep many times. It was a sad way to portray such a great story and made it hard to listen

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Great learning exerience

12 people found this helpful

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Listen to the book, watch the movie

The movie is referred to as "A Hour Too Long" and it is a long film (3hrs). The book though brings clarity and if you wish to watch the film, I suggest listening to this book; before, after or during it does not matter. Spoiler alert, the cavalry doesn't quite make it. What you do get from this book is a clear understanding of what happen, what went wrong and possibly a good answer to the question of why. This is the 'boys own adventure' to battle and even if you are not into history, is a good yarn. Characters, action, sacrifice and morals are on every page. A damn good listen.

3 people found this helpful

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#WorldWarII. Very detailed but not boring!

I've listened to a lot of books on WW2 but this is a must listen to if you want to really learn what happened at operation Market garden. At first, I thought the reader was not very good but I got accustomed to his way of reading and really enjoyed the book.
#WorldWarII, #Inspiring
#tagsgiving and #sweepstakes

2 people found this helpful

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A great story.

An excellent story of the Market Garden operation. It was incredibly unlucky the British found themselves on top of the II SS Panzer corps at the time of the operation. If by a stroke of luck or ill fortune they had been elsewhere the operation would have been a rousing success. Such are the fortunes of war.

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Gripping

Gripping story on these 9 days and how one strategy panned out in many peoples' lives

2 people found this helpful

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Terrible Narration, Great Book

What didn’t you like about Clive Chafer’s performance?

Terrible

Any additional comments?

It's like watching a bad British Film Strip. Monotone and lack of any entertainment value in the reading. The book is great

8 people found this helpful

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It's a story almost too sad to listen to.

My wife's grandfather was wounded on a glider with the 101st Airborne. It was very enlightening to hear the whole story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Richard Smith
  • 11-17-16

Amazing book ruined by awful narration

If you could sum up A Bridge Too Far in three words, what would they be?

Compelling, daring, insightful

What other book might you compare A Bridge Too Far to, and why?

Pegasus Bridge, D-Day

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration is simply terrible.

It does this incredible true story and the wonderful work of Ryan a massive disservice.

'Monotone' doesn't begin to explain it. Clive Chafer reads in a very unnatural, almost robotic way, with a constant rhythm that a metronome would be proud of.

I made it slightly more bearable by increasing the speed to 1.25x, but I couldn't finish it.

Boring, depressing, unengaging, dull narration.

I'd strongly advise against purchasing the audio book for this reason, but would highly recommend purchasing the actual book and reading it for yourself - an incredible story.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A Bridge Too Far?!

7 people found this helpful

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  • A. J. Mc
  • 03-18-16

Great story but wow the narration is awful

Do the producers actually hold auditions for these guys or just pull any random actor in looking for a job? This is such a monotonous clunking performance it almost made this unlistenable.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Edward
  • 07-16-17

Appalling Narration

Any additional comments?

Why do Audible not vet their narrators before they put their books up for sale. The monotonous and boring narration completly spoilt the book for me. I wasted my money in purchasing this book.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • kerry joan enoch
  • 08-31-18

Great Audio

Absolutely brill love listening to this about what all the boys went through and the people who didn't make it back my greatest respect to all who were there

2 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Hocking
  • 10-13-17

Fantastic and harrowing story that make me feel grateful

The amazing history of ultimately a doomed mission. The bravery of these men is truly humbling.

Unfortunately the narration is appalling, although by the end you have got used to it. The flat monotone delivery is like machine narration. I would choose to read it next time.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Daz
  • 08-20-12

Classic WW2

A good book on one the greatest episodes of WW2. Had to knock a star off for the monotonous narration which grated on me a bit. Every sentence read with the same intonation distracted from the writing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-29-19

A classic, ruined.

I was excited to buy this book, and even more so to listen to it.
It immediatly became apparent, I had got excited over nothing.
This timeless war classic was ruined by possibly the worst narrator I have ever heard.
Did he get the job through blackmail or nepatism?

Harry Von Turbo Threaders.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shaun
  • 10-25-18

Fact filled

I enjoyed the narration and the authors dedication to portraying both sides of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. Kevin M. Langston
  • 08-02-20

Monotonous

Narrators voice was too monotone in my opinion, for what could be an interesting book.

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  • M. williamson
  • 02-13-20

Great story.

Having seen the film about market garden and read this book, I am in awe of what the allies achieved, particularly the British 1st airborne division, with the excellent leaders in John frost and Roy urquhart. There respective divisions fought with extreme bravery in near impossible conditions, lightly equipped and out classed in armament. Ultimately it is seen as unsuccessful and indeed it was as its aim was to shorten the war. However in my opinion had the German panzer divisions not been in the Arnhem area, a pure fluke, I feel market garden would have been a success, there would still have been casualties, how many I wouldn’t dare hazard a guess.
I also will not Offer any opinion on how market garden came into being, or how it was planned, I as not alive then and as such have no experience of the feelings of the day, so I will not criticise anybody involved as many seem to want to do, retrospective points of view are mostly a waste of time and for some a vanity project.
Market garden was not conceived with malice of purpose or with disregard for the men who would do the fighting, and this book in the most part deals with chronicling the operation without criticising the belligerents.
As for other reviews of the narrator, I found him ok, although his attempts at accents for certain individuals was maybe a little hammish.
Well worth my time listening.

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  • Weatherby George
  • 01-08-18

Good story, poor narration

Detailed story, but really struggled with the narrator. I think if he was telling bedtime stories, a child would be lulled to sleep in a flash!

1 person found this helpful