The Longest Day
A riveting historical accounting of World War 2’s D-Day invasion. Ryan is careful to provide the reader with all the significant data of this fateful day. (How many dead, how many boats, what the tides were like, etc.) However, Ryan’s book becomes a classic in my estimation not for it’s rigorous accounting of information, rather it’s his masterful retelling of so many individual stories of battle and struggle. This feature made it impossible for me to put the book down. A paratrooper landing in the water, doomed to drown until a mysterious wind fills his shoot and bounces him along the water like a skipping stone to safety. A paratrooper playing dead as he hung from a bell tower in a small french town. A chance face to face meeting in the middle of the night between a German and an American, they both freeze, finally the German fires off a shot, it ricochets off the American’s gun and they both run off unhurt. All of the stories come by way of personal interviews and diligent research. Another of this books great assets is it’s diligent work to recount the German side of the story. If anyone is interested in this incredible day, it would be a great loss for them not to read this book.