Arnhem - it was the last major battle lost by the British Army, lost not by the men who fought there but by the overconfidence of generals, faulty planning and the failure of a relieving force given too great a task. If the operation of which Arnhem formed a part had been successful, the outcome of the war and the history of post-war Europe would have been greatly altered. Yet is it worth another book? I had fulfilled all my literary ambitions by researching and writing thirteen full-length books and was ready to retire from that laborious craft when Peter van Gorsel, head of Penguin's Dutch office, asked me to write a book on Arnhem for the fiftieth anniversary in 1994. It was the first time that my publishers had requested a book; all previous subjects had been my choice. I eventually agreed for several reasons. I had not previously researched and written about the British Army in the Second World War and had not previously done any work in Holland; so two fresh fields were opened up to me. I also felt that the fighting in and around Arnhem had still not been described in the detail that it merited.
List of Photographs -- List of Maps – Introduction -- 1 The Path to Airborne -- 2 'First Airborne' and Friends -- 3 The Arnhem Area -- 4 Preparations for Battle -- 5 The Air Armada -- 6 The Morning in Holland -- 7 The Landings -- 8 The Vital Hours -- 9 The Battle in the Town – Monday -- 10 The Battle in the Town – Tuesday -- 11 Waiting for the Second Lift -- 12 The Second Lift -- 13 The Battle in the Woods -- 14 The Battle at the Bridge -- 15 The Formation of the Oosterbeek Perimeter -- 16 The Battle at Oosterbeek -- 17 The Resupply Flights -- 18 The Polish Brigade -- 19 The Sacrifice of the Dorsets -- 20 Evacuation -- 21 The Reckoning -- 22 The Years That Followed -- Appendix 1 -- Appendix 2 -- Appendix 3 -- Appendix 4 -- Appendix 5 – Acknowledgements – Bibliography – Index.