Operation Market Garden  was made famous after the war when the book ‘A Bridge too far’ was published by Cornelius Ryan. The movie of the same title even had a greater success.

So, is this ‘just another book’ on this subject?

Air War Market Garden, The build up to the beginning, By Martin W. Bowman

Air War Market Garden, The build up to the beginning, By Martin W. Bowman

Well, not exactly! Mr. Ryan’s book can be regarded as the ‘novel’, of course strictly conform what happened after having many interviews with the main players of this battle. What is published here as Part 1 must be regarded as a pure history book with 3 other parts still to follow in the future and this Part 1 only gives the story of the preparations and the first part ‘Market’ of this operation: dropping of paratroopers and the landing of fully equipped assault gliders followed by the occupation of the bridges at and around Arnhem until released by advancing ground troops. With a swift occupation of the bridges it was hoped Allied ground forces could invade deep into Germany and end the war in just a couple of weeks.

History now learns us things went different and that the operation completely failed because of the presence of German Panzer groups led by the brilliant SS General Willy Bittrich and the failure of Allied troops to reach Arnhem in time……

Bowman describes in his book not only the ample preparations of this operation, but he also introduces us to the main players. And more than that he also introduces us to the people who actually fought in this operation!

Except fore some  incorrect spelling of German and Dutch words, it is well written and gives an excellent account how things went from bad to worse and later to disaster with the costs of many lives on the Allied side.

This is a pure READING book without too many fancy colour maps, colour drawings of the weapons and aircraft used and without the many hundreds of photos on glossy paper at A4 size. In fact there are only two sections of photographs with a total number of 57 only but at least the images selected give a very good account of persons, locations and material used.

Further, there is only one general map without too many details on the location where this operation took place and two maps detailing the assault route.

The book it is well worth to be read since it gives much deeper insight that ‘A bridge too far’!

Book details:
Title:             Air War Market Garden – The build up of the beginning (Vol. 1)
Author:            Martin W. Bowman
Book details:   hard cover, bound, 192 pages, 16×24 cm
Publisher:        Pen & Sword Aviation, U.K.
ISBN:              978-1-78159-115-4
Contact:          www.pen-and-sword-co.uk
Price:             UK £ 25.00 or US $ 39.95

With special thanks to Kirsty Williams for providing a free review copy. Direct order here!

Nico Braas