"Arnhem 1944" by Janusz Piekalkiewicz (translated by H.A. and A.J. Barker) is a
decent little (112 pp. total) book dedicated to telling the basic story of
Operation Market Garden, the Allied combined Airborne-Infantry/Armor plan to
establish a bridgehead across the Rhine in Sept '44. The centerpiece of this,
and nearly every telling of this great Allied adventure (if ultimately failed),
is the stand of the British First Airborne Division at Arnhem and its suburbs.
Piekalkiewicz's book, published first in 1976 is certainly not the first telling
of this part of the war in NW Europe. As such one might expect new information or
insight. Unfortunately this is not the case. Piekalkiewicz (and his translators)
tell an engaging story but there is little by way of new information. "Arnhem 1944"
is a basic skeleton story of the Operation, fleshed out with numerous photographs.
The latter represent the most positive component of this book, several unique or new
to this reviewer.
Piekalkiewicz's prose is very easy to follow and the story well constructed.
With the exception of the Forward (which sets the stage for how and why Market Garden
came about, and places the Operation within context of the war up to that point),
Prologue (which discusses the genesis of the Operation, preparation and events up
to airborne landings), and Epilogue (which attempts to place the Operation after
its conclusion within context of the campaign in NW Europe at that point)
the author utilizes a recurrent organizational approach. First, each day of the
Operation represents its own chapter. Second, each day is separated generally into
three parts: 1) Official Allied Command press statements
(usually via citing The Times of London), 2) Official German High Comman statements, and 3)
summary of the days' events. Occassionally the author supplements this basic structure
with specifics from particular places, actions, or groups of individuals - again
usually with respect to events surrounding the tenuous position of the Brits at Arnhem.
This organizational structure provides the read with a straightforward means to read
and assess the text. So in the end, while little new information or insight is
provided by "Arnhem 1944", it is a good introduction to these events.