The Longest Day: The Illustrated 70th Anniversary Archive Edition
By Cornelius Ryan. 256 pp. Barrons, 2014. $59.99.
D-Day’s most beloved epic retelling has been upscaled as a sumptuous coffee-table book stuffed with memorabilia and handsomely protected by a sturdy slipcase. The full text is here, of course, with a new intro by Cornelius Ryan Archive curator Doug McCabe. But the kick for readers willing to plunk down the cash comes with the extras. Start with the 120 photos, retouched for clarity and evocative as hell, along with six full-color battle maps. Slip the 30 removable facsimile documents out of bound-in envelopes and peruse previously unpublished historical goodies, which include Rommel’s diary entries for the month before the invasion; Eisenhower’s famed hand-scrawled note taking responsibility for the invasion’s failure; transcripts of interviews with D-Day participants, including the notorious bagpiper who ushered British commandos ashore on Sword Beach; annotated translations of German diaries and phone logs; and Ryan’s original book proposal, in which he outlines his new approach to writing war history. Spin the audio CD, which collects Ryan’s original interviews with D-Day figures from Ike on down to GIs on the beaches. Beautiful and informative, this collector’s edition lives up to the original work’s reputation.
Originally published in the June 2014 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.