Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E. Ambrose

Title: Pegasus Bridge
Author: Stephen E. Ambrose
Read by: Arthur Morey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 5 hours and 58 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

Pegasus Bridge is a riveting non-fiction narrative detailing the storming and taking of Pegasus Bridge, the first engagement of D-Day, June 6, 1944.  Major John Howard and his men spent much time preparing for this day, but nothing can prepare them for the brutality of war.

Pegasus Bridge describes the months of preparation the British airborne troops went through and then gives minute by minute detail of D-Day.  The book then tells when happens to the D company in the months after D day and then the anniversaries of D-day.  Pegasus Bridge also tells the story of the Germans who were stationed at the Bridge and the French who lived in the nearby town.

I have enjoyed Stephen Ambrose’s histories in the past, especially Band of Brothers and Undaunted Courage.  I appreciated that Ambrose wrote this novel after personally meeting Major John Howard and hearing the events.  He thought it was a gripping account that would make a good book.  Originally published in the 1980s, this book has been updated since.  I especially enjoyed that Major John Howard continued to talk to those involved in the battle on both sides through the years and was able to pass on updates to the author himself.

I was intrigued by the use of the gliders transporting the troops.  My Great-Grandpa Stone was in the Army training Glider pilots in the United States during WWII.  He also worked on glider design for missions into the Asian battles. I also loved when Lord Lovat and his commandos came to the bridge blasting on their bagpipes.  If you are an Outlander fan like me, I got a secret kick out of this.

Two scenes really stood out to me in the book.  The first was during the battle, when a well-liked officer with a pregnant wife receives a mortal wound on the bridge.  When he’s found, the soldier has a surreal moment of is this really worth it?  The months of preparation only to die right before the birth of your child?  The other poignant scene was when they encounter the French shaving and humiliating women who had been with the German soldiers during occupation.  They think, everyone did why they had to do to survive, why were these women being punished for using what they had to survive?  And also, there were no young men around except the Germans for years.  Those are very good points and very humane.

As a Daphne du Maurier fan, I loved that she was brought up.  Her husband, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick “Boy” Browning was the father of the British airborne troops and she chose the red berets that they wore.  I had never heard this before and thought it was pretty neat.

I have never seen the classic movie, The Longest Day, but after hearing that the events of Pegasus Bridge are depicted in it, I know I have to check it out!  Especially cool is that a soldier who was part of the company storming the bridge that day later was played Major John Howard in the movie.

As an audiobook, I’ll admit that I had a hard time first getting into this book.  It took me awhile to get used to narrator Arthur Morey, who sounded rather dry to me.  It’s also because the start of the novel details the preparation for the assault, which was not the most exciting of details either, but was necessary to understand the later action. As the battle commenced, I found myself spell bound and unable to stop listening.

Overall, Pegasus Bridge was a great audiobook detailing the assault that helped to start and lead to victory on D-Day as well as a good look at the horrors of war.  


  1. Thank you for a review of a book that is new to me.

  2. Laura, I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this audio book. I'm glad the book became more interesting to you as the battle commenced. Excellent review!

  3. Thank-you both! My intrigue really grew as I got into it and it was a good talking point with my husband. I really want to watch The Longest Day now!