Cornelius Ryan’s book A Bridge Too Far about the Allied airborne landings in the Netherlands in September 1944, and the Richard Attenborough directed film of the same name, have over the last forty
years significantly altered and distorted our understanding of this crucial action of the closing months of the Second World War. Most obviously after the film’s release in 1977 an established interpretation emerged that has influenced popular and academic history alike and has resulted in the foundation of myths and misinterpretations that persist to the present day.
The process by which this occurred – including Ryan’s methodology, Attenborough’s attitude, and screenplay writer William Goldman’s interpretation – is the main focus of this seminar. Ultimately, it is a
story of character assassination, betrayal, journalistic sleight of hand and the appropriation of history.
Professor John Buckley from University of Wolverhampton will look at the way in which the book A Bridge Too Far (1974) and the subsequent film of the same name has shaped our views on Operation Market Garden, the failed attempt by the Allies to use airborne troops to seize bridges over the Rhine in September 1944.