The American Side of a Bridge Too Far
By John C. McManus
“In September 1944 the Allies’ heady advances
ground to a bloody halt all along the Western Front. John C. McManus’s
superb September Hope takes us to the heart of some of the most intense
and dramatic combat of the entire war. A riveting and deeply moving
story of uncommon courage.”
—Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Longest Winter
“A fine account of one of the Second World War’s
most fraught and frustrating battles. John C. McManus’s extensive
research allows him to tell the story with verve and authority.
—Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn
In SEPTEMBER HOPE: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far
(NAL Caliber Hardcover; June 5, 2012; ISBN: 978-0451237064; $27.95),
acclaimed historian John C. McManus explores World War II’s most
ambitious invasion—an immense, daring offensive to defeat Nazi Germany
before the end of 1944. Operation Market Garden is one of the war’s most
famous but least understood battles, and McManus tells the story of
America’s contribution to this crucial phase of the war in Europe.
August 1944 saw the Allies achieve more significant victories than in
any other month over the course of the war. Soviet armies annihilated
more than twenty German divisions and pushed the hated enemy from Russia
to deep inside Poland. General Eisenhower’s D-Day invasion led to the
liberation of France. Encouraged by these triumphs, British, Canadian,
and American armored columns plunged into Belgium, Holland, and
Luxembourg. The Germans were in disarray, overwhelmed on all fronts,
losing soldiers by the thousands as Allied bombers pulverized their
cities. For the Third Reich, it seemed the end was near. And among the
Allied troops, it was rumored that the war would soon be over and that
everyone would be home for Christmas.
Then came September and Holland.
On September 17, the largest airborne drop in military history
commenced, including two entire American divisions, the 101st and the
82nd. Their mission was to secure key bridges at such places as Son,
Eindhoven, Grave, and Nijmegen until British armored forces could
relieve them. The armor would slash northeast, breach the Rhine, and go
wild on the north German plains. However, the Germans were much stronger
than the Allies anticipated. In eight days of ferocious combat, they
mauled the airborne, stymied the tanks, and prevented the Allies from
crossing the Rhine.
For the first time, with never-before-seen sources and countless
personal interviews, SEPTEMBER HOPE reveals the American perspective of
one of the most famous and decisive battles of World War II.
About the Author
John C. McManus earned an M.A. in American history from the University
of Missouri and a PhD in American history and military history from the
University of Tennessee. He is currently an Assistant Professor of U.S.
Military History at the Missouri University of Science and Technology
where he now teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam,
Military History, and the American Combat Experience in the 20th
Century. He is the author of several books, including Grunts, and
currently resides in St. Louis. Visit him online at
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LOST AT NIJMEGEN
New and revealing
facts about Operation "Market Garden" (WO II)
R.G. Poulussen reveals in his book
"Lost at Nijmegen" new and enlightening facts about Operation "Market
Garden" in 1944. He meticulously describes the first 24 hours of
fighting by the 82nd Airborne Division for the Waal Bridge in Nijmegen.
For more information:
Review & Foreword
Phil Nordyke, the renowned author of “All American all
the way: A Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War
“The author has done an outstanding job of researching the critical
first twenty-four hours after the 82nd Airborne Division landed in
Holland and its capture of key bridges and high ground near Nijmegen,
Holland on September 17, 1944.
The author uncovers a number of little known details about the operation
which will provide a basis of information for historians and authors in
the future. All in all, a very well researched and thought provoking
The three day delay in the capture of the Waal Bridge in Nijmegen was
unnecessary and seriously contributed to the failure of operation
“Market Garden”. A new point of view, based on discovered documents.
For the first time a factual account of the decisive first twenty-four
hours of fighting by the 82nd Airborne Division around Nijmegen. “Lost
at Nijmegen” is a well-founded book with a lot of quotes and footnotes.
Somehow, the importance of the three day delay is usually “overlooked”
in the evaluation of operation “Market Garden”.
If the Waal Bridge had been secured, when British XXX Corps arrived in
Nijmegen on the 19th of September, they would have had 48 hours to
relieve their compatriots at Arnhem.
The three day delay in the capture of the Waal Bridge is generally
explained as follows: the necessary quick capture of the Waal Bridge
failed because the commander of the 508 PIR (Parachute Infantry
Regiment) – designated to capture the Waal Bridge – misunderstood
pre-jump orders given by General Gavin, commander of the 82nd Airborne
Division. Authentic documents however prove that in fact no pre-jump
orders were issued, as claimed by General Gavin.
There is an official statement in which General Gavin admits that he
alone was responsible for the shift in priority from capturing the Waal
Bridge to defending the Groesbeek Heights. As a direct result the 508
PIR landed without offensive orders, disabling the key weapon of General
Gavin: the effect of surprise.
Based on a lot of original material in Dutch and American archives, the
author meticulously describes the combat actions of the 504 and 508 PIR.
An unknown missed opportunity is that “G” Company was already in a
perfect assault position – around 2000 on the 17th of September – only a
mile from the Waal Bridge, but orders strictly prohibited own
initiative. Twelve hours later they – at last – attacked the Waal
Furthermore, the American strength is analysed and so is the German
threat toward the landing zones on the 18th of September; the German
attack was only local and there was no need for the withdrawal of all
the American troops out of Nijmegen.
The achievements of the Dutch are not forgotten; the last three days of
Jan Van Hoof are described in detail and so are the actions of Captain
Bestebreurtje and volunteer Agardus Leegsma.
Background information, uncovered maps and enlightening overviews
complete the book.