Cornelius Ryan

Cornelius Ryan (5 June 1920 – 23 November 1974) was an Irish journalist and author mainly known for his writings on popular military history, especially his World War II books: The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day (1959), The Last Battle (1966), and A Bridge Too Far (1974).

Cornelius Ryan and Godfried Bomans 1966
Cornelius Ryan and Godfried Bomans in 1966

Early life

Ryan was born in Dublin and educated at Synge Street CBS, Portobello, Ireland. He was an altar boy at St Kevin's Church, Harrington Street and studied the violin at the Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. He was a boy scout in the 52nd Troop of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and travelled on their pilgrimage to Rome on the liner Lancastria in 1934.[1] Ryan moved to London in 1940, and became a war correspondent for The Daily Telegraph in 1941.

He initially covered the air war in Europe, flew along on fourteen bombing missions with the Eighth and Ninth United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), and then joined General George S. Patton's Third Army and covered its actions until the end of the European war. He transferred to the Pacific theater in 1945, and then to Jerusalem in 1946.

Ryan emigrated to the United States in 1947 to work for TIME, where he reported on the postwar tests of atomic weapons carried out by the United States in the Pacific.[1] He then reported for TIME on the Israeli war in 1948.[1] This was followed by work for other magazines, including Collier's Weekly and Reader's Digest.[2]

He married Kathryn Morgan (1925–1993), a novelist, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1951.[3]


On a trip to Normandy in 1949 Ryan became interested in telling a more complete story of Operation Overlord than had been produced to date. He began compiling information and conducting over 1000 interviews as he gathered stories from both the Allies and the Germans, as well as the French civilians.[1]

In 1956 he began to write down his World War II notes for The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day, which tells the story of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, published three years later in 1959. It was an instant success, and Ryan helped in the writing of the screenplay for the 1962 film of the same name. Darryl F. Zanuck paid the author US$175,000 for the screen rights to the book.[4]

Ryan's 1957 book One Minute to Ditch! is about the successful ocean ditching of a Pan American Boeing 377 Stratocruiser.[5] He had written an article about the ditching for Collier's in their 21 December 1956, issue and then expanded it into the book.[6]

His next work was The Last Battle (1966), about the Battle of Berlin. The book contains detailed accounts from all perspectives: civilian, American, British, Russian and German. It deals with the fraught military and political situation in the spring of 1945, when the forces of the western allies and the Soviet Union contended for the chance to liberate Berlin and to carve up the remains of Germany.

This work was followed by A Bridge Too Far (1974), which tells the story of Operation Market Garden, the ill-fated assault by allied airborne forces on the Netherlands culminating in the Battle of Arnhem. This work was made into a major 1977 film of the same name.

Ryan was awarded the French Legion of Honour, and an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Ohio University, where the Cornelius Ryan Collection is housed (Alden Library). He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1970, and struggled to finish A Bridge Too Far during his illness. He died in Manhattan,[1] while on tour promoting the book, only two months after publication.

Four years after his death, Ryan's struggle with prostate cancer was detailed in A Private Battle, written by his widow, from notes he had secretly left behind for that purpose. He is buried in the Ridgebury Cemetery in northern Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA.

For many years Ryan's editor at Simon & Schuster was Peter Schwed who was assisted by Michael Korda.[2] Ryan's literary agent was Paul Gitlin.[2]


  • 1946. – Star-Spangled Mikado. – with Frank Kelley. – New York City:: R.M. McBride. OCLC 1142015
  • 1950. – MacArthur: Man of Action. – with Frank Kelley. – Garden City, New York: Doubleday. – OCLC: 1516843
  • 1957. – One Minute to Ditch!. – New York: Ballantine Books. – OCLC 24116050
  • 1959. – The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day. – Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett Publications. ISBN 0-671-62228-5
  • 1966. – The Last Battle. – New York City: Simon & Schuster/New English Library (1979) – ISBN 0-450-04433-5. Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (1995) – ISBN 0684803291
  • 1974. – A Bridge Too Far. – New York City: Simon & Schuster. – ISBN 0-671-21792-5
  • 1979. – A Private Battle. – Posthumously with Kathryn Morgan Ryan. – New York City:: Simon & Schuster. – ISBN 0-671-22594-4


  1. ^ a b c d e f Milestones. – TIME. – 9 December 1974. – Retrieved: 22 June 2008
  2. ^ a b c Korda, Michael (1999). Another life : a memoir of other people (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0679456597.
  3. ^ Cornelius Ryan: Life. – Ricorso. – Retrieved: 23 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Operation Overblown". – TIME. – 19 October 1962. – Retrieved: 23 June 2008
  5. ^ Ryan, Cornelius, (1957). – One Minute to Ditch!. – New York: Ballantine. 158 pages.
  6. ^ Ryan, Cornelius. – "One Minute to Ditch!". – Collier's Weekly. – 21 December 1956.

External links

1974 in Ireland

Events from the year 1974 in Ireland.

A Bridge Too Far (film)

A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 epic war film based on the 1974 book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, adapted by William Goldman. It was produced by Joseph E. Levine and Richard P. Levine and directed by Richard Attenborough.The film tells the story of the failure of Operation Market Garden during World War II. The operation was intended to allow the Allies to break through German lines and seize several bridges in the occupied Netherlands, including one at Arnhem, with the main objective of outflanking German defences in order to end the war by Christmas of 1944.

The name for the film comes from an unconfirmed comment attributed to British Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the operation's architect, before the operation: "I think we may be going a bridge too far", in reference to the intention of seizing the Arnhem bridgehead over the Rhine river. This statement by Ryan has no evidence to substantiate the claim and while not only being unsubstantiated has been substantially refuted by at least two authors. The ensemble cast includes Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Elliott Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Hardy Krüger, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O'Neal, Robert Redford, Maximilian Schell and Liv Ullmann. The music was scored by John Addison, who had served in the British XXX Corps during Market Garden.

Cornelius Ryan (politician)

Cornelius James Ryan (1882 – 27 November 1939) was a publican and member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.On the 27th February 1911 he married Eileen Florence Casey (died 1952) at Chillagoe and together had two sons and one daughter. He died at Townsville in 1939 and was buried in the Belgian Gardens Cemetery.

Cornelius Ryan Award

The Cornelius Ryan Award is given for "best nonfiction book on international affairs" by the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC). To be eligible for this literary award a book must be published "in the US or by a US based company or distributed for an American audience" during the year prior to that in which the award is given. The winner is chosen in a competition juried by peers from the journalism industry.

Recipients of the award receive a certificate and $1000. The Cornelius Ryan Award is one of 25 different awards currently given by the OPC for excellence in journalism at their annual award dinner, usually held at the end of April. The award is named for the journalist and author Cornelius Ryan, who himself, twice received this, his own namesake award (1959 for The Longest Day and 1974 for A Bridge Too Far).In 2009 the judges were Chris Power (Bloomberg BusinessWeek), Robert Dowling (Caixin Media Group), and Robert Teitelman (The Deal).

Electoral district of Eacham

The electoral district of Eacham was a Legislative Assembly electorate in the state of Queensland. It was created in a redistribution ahead of the 1912 state election and existed until the 1932 state election.Based in the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, Eacham incorporated much of the former Electoral district of Woothakata.

Heytesbury Street

Heytesbury Street (Irish: Sráid Heytesbury) is a tree-lined inner city street north of the South Circular Road, Portobello, Dublin, Ireland named after William à Court, 1st Baron Heytesbury (1789–1860), Lord Lieutenant (1844–1846). Built and developed as an artery to join Portobello Harbour about 1820, its current layout dates from the mid-19th century.

It is primarily a residential street but also contains a school: Synge Street CBS is officially known as St Paul's Secondary School, Heytesbury Street.

Jonathan Swift had a vegetable garden and a paddock for his horse nearby. The entrance to the Meath Hospital was located on this street. The hospital's foundations were laid by Lord Brabazon in October 1770. The hospital was initially known as The Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary, but was renamed on its move in 1823.

James Clarence Mangan and Brendan Behan were patients in the Meath Hospital and died there. Oliver St John Gogarty (Buck Mulligan in Joyce's Ulysses) was on its staff from 1911 to 1939.

No. 33, Heytesbury Street was the birthplace of Cornelius Ryan, author of The Longest Day, The Last Battle and A Bridge Too Far.

No. 72, Heytesbury Street houses one of Ireland's leading contract bridge clubs, the Civil Service Bridge Club.

Horsa Bridge

Horsa Bridge, also known as Ranville bridge, over the Orne River, was, with Pegasus Bridge, captured during Operation Deadstick by gliderborne troops of the 2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (the 52nd) in a coup de main operation in the opening minutes of D Day, 6 June 1944. The seizing of both bridges was considered to be critical to securing the eastern flank of the Normandy landings area: preventing German armour from reaching the British 3rd Infantry Division which was due to start landing on Sword at 07.25hrs. Horsa Bridge, a road bridge, was over 400 yards east of Pegasus Bridge towards the village of Ranville.

Jeffrey Ethell

Jeffrey Ethell (1947–1997) was an American aviation author and pilot who wrote extensively on aviation and military matters. He was killed on June 6, 1997, when the restored P-38 Lightning he was flying crashed at Tillamook, Oregon, while preparing for an airshow to honor his father.

Starting at a remarkably young age, Ethell, published an extensive series of technical studies of WWII-era aircraft and eventually authored 60 books and over 1,000 magazine articles covering all aspects of aviation. He soloed at 18 and logged over 4,800 hours in over 210 different types of aircraft, including most of the various warbirds of the allied and Axis sides from WWII. His works on color photography of the World War II era brought to life an era which too many thought had only been filmed in black and white.

While attending college in Tennessee in the 1960s, Ethell received several research grants from the National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and went on to guest lecture extensively at numerous colleges and academic institutes. His co-authored study of the first American daylight attack on Berlin has often been compared to the works of Cornelius Ryan and Stephen Ambrose in presenting a balanced account of one of the most pivotal events of World War II, the first daylight deep penetration raid against the capital of Nazi Germany. He was featured in the PBS Nova documentary "Top Gun Over Russia" about the military aircraft of the former Soviet Union, and appeared as an expert commentator on numerous documentaries.His extensive collection of World War II colour photographs was made available online after his death.

Man Will Conquer Space Soon!

"Man Will Conquer Space Soon!" was the title of a famous series of 1950s magazine articles in Collier's detailing Wernher von Braun's plans for manned spaceflight. Edited by Cornelius Ryan, the individual articles were authored by such space notables of the time as Willy Ley, Fred Lawrence Whipple, Dr. Joseph Kaplan, Dr. Heinz Haber, and von Braun. The articles were illustrated with paintings and drawings by Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman, and Rolf Klep, some of the finest magazine illustrators of the time.

Members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, 1923–1926

This is a list of members of the 23rd Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 1923 to 1926, as elected at the 1923 state election held on 12 May 1923.During the term, the United Party (formerly the National Party) and the Country Party merged to form the Country and Progressive National Party, which became the main conservative party until the late 1930s.

1 On 31 July 1923, the Labor member for Warrego, Harry Coyne, resigned and was appointed to the bench of the Queensland Land Court. Labor candidate Randolph Bedford won the resulting by-election on 13 October 1923.

2 On 31 July 1924, the Labor member for Buranda, John Huxham, resigned to take up an appointment as Agent-General for Queensland in London. Labor candidate Ted Hanson won the resulting by-election on 16 August 1924.

3 On 26 February 1925, the Labor member for Toowoomba, Frank Brennan, resigned following his appointment to the Supreme Court of Queensland. Labor candidate Evan Llewelyn won the resulting by-election on 4 April 1925.

4 On 22 September 1925, the Labor member for Chillagoe and former Premier of Queensland, Ted Theodore, resigned to stand for the seat of Herbert at the 1925 federal election. Labor candidate John O'Keefe won the resulting by-election on 16 January 1926.

5 On 24 October 1925, the Labor member for Eacham and Premier of Queensland, William Gillies, resigned to become a member of the new trade and arbitration board. Labor candidate Cornelius Ryan won the resulting by-election on 16 January 1926.

Peter Schwed

Peter Schwed (1911-2003) was an American editor and the editorial chairman and a trade book publisher for Simon & Schuster. Among the authors he edited were P.G. Wodehouse, Irving Wallace, Harold Robbins, David McCullough and Cornelius Ryan. Schwed also authored or contributed to more than a dozen books. Schwed specialized in sports publications and was either an editor or ghostwriter for such sports figures as Jack Nicklaus, Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, Roger Angell and Ted Williams. He was the co-author of golfer Nancy Lopez's The Education of a Woman Golfer.

Premio Bancarella

The Premio Bancarella is an Italian literary prize established in 1953; it is given in Pontremoli every year, the last Saturday or the last Sunday in July.

At first, six books are selected and award the Premio Selezione Bancarella, then the booksellers establish the winner with their vote. The awarding of the prize take place in the last evening.

At present, Premio Bancarella is at the 54th edition.

Preview of the War We Do Not Want

Collier's Magazine devoted its entire 130-page October 27, 1951 issue to narrate the events in a hypothetical Third World War, in a feature article entitled "Preview of the War We Do Not Want - an Imaginary Account of Russia's defeat and Occupation, 1952-60". Twenty writers, including Edward R. Murrow, Arthur Koestler, Philip Wylie, Hal Boyle, Marguerite Higgins, and Walter Winchell, contributed to the article. The war, in which the United Nations is victorious over the Soviet Union, takes place from 1952 to 1955. Nuclear weapons are extensively used, but do not have the apocalyptic effects envisaged in other speculative scenarios.

The project, codenamed "Operation Eggnog", was put together by Associate Editor Cornelius Ryan under considerable secrecy. The special edition led Collier's to increase its print order from 3,400,000 to 3,900,000 copies. By spending $40,000 extra on these articles, Collier's almost doubled its usual sale of advertising.

Shooting at the Moon (book)

Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos was written by Southeast Asian war historian, Roger Warner. It is about the Central Intelligence Agency's and US military's involvement in Laos from in the early 1961 through 1973, and this incursion's influence on the later Vietnam War (1960–1975).Published by Steerforth Press in 1996, it was a winner of the Cornelius Ryan Award for 1995's Best Book on Foreign Affairs by the Overseas Press Club. It was published previously in a slightly different version by Simon & Schuster under the title Backfire: The CIA's Secret War in Laos and Its Link to the War in Vietnam. Shooting at the Moon explores how this "perfect" covert war ballooned into a sorrowful and disturbing ending. (The book's title refers to the Laotian practice of firing weapons during a lunar eclipse in order to scare off the giant frog in the heavens, which, in Laotian mythology, is swallowing the moon.) It was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, which said that "it can only add to our understanding how strong men and their convictions and their daring so often lead to calamity, especially for those who believe and follow them

Stephen Dando-Collins

Stephen Dando-Collins is an award-winning Australian historical author and novelist, with books centred on Antiquity, American history, British history, Australian history, French history, World War One and World War Two. He is considered a world authority on the legions of ancient Rome, which he has studied and written about for decades: 'The legions' foremost living historian,' according to one critic.He also writes children's novels, the first of which, Chance in a Million, (Hodder Headline, Sydney, 1998), was filmed by PolyGram as Paws, starring Billy Connolly. In 2012, he launched the critically acclaimed Caesar the War Dog series of children's novels, based on the true stories of modern-day military dogs serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the fifth in the series published in 2016.

He also contributes articles to various journals such as BBC History Magazine and Australian Heritage Magazine, and lectures about his books around the world.

Dando-Collins was born in the Tasmanian city of Launceston on May 1, 1950, and went to school in Hobart. As a teenager he played drums in several rock bands, and at the age of 19 he was co-founder and first secretary of the Van Diemen Light Railway Society, which went on to create the Don River Railway, outside Devonport, Tasmania, today one of Australia's largest steam preservation railways. Dando-Collins confesses to still having steam in the blood.

After working in advertising in Australia and Britain as a graphic designer, copywriter, creative director, and senior advertising agency executive, he became an independent marketing consultant in Sydney for several years. He ran the Australian operations of an American market research company before moving to Noosa Heads, and then to the Tamar Valley in Tasmania, where he writes full-time. He and his wife Louise, also an author, live in a former nunnery.

Pasteur's Gambit won Dando-Collins a 2009 Queensland Premier's Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary awards.

His work has been translated into a dozen languages around the world.

Dando-Collins and his wife founded the highly successful Festival of Golden Words in Tasmania's Tamar Valley, which has become the Tamar Valley Writers Festival.

Since his groundbreaking 2010 work Legions of Rome, (Quercus, London), Dando-Collins has focused on American World War I and World War II history and the biographies of Australians who have made a mark on the world stage. His New York literary agent has announced that he will be making a return to Roman history in 2019.

His latest books include The Hero Maker, the first ever biography of Paul Brickhill, Australian-born author of The Great Escape, The Dam Busters, and Reach for the Sky, the story of legless fighter pilot Douglas Bader; The Big Break:The Greatest American WWII POW Escape Story Never Told; Mr Showbiz: The Biography of Robert Stigwood; and Heroes of Hamel: The Australians and Americans Whose WWI Victory Changed Modern Warfare.

Says noted US military author Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman: 'Stephen Dando-Collins is a Cornelius Ryan, a Stephen Ambrose for a new generation.' website:

Steve Coll

Steve Coll (born October 8, 1958) is an American journalist, academic and executive. He is currently the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he is also the Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. A staff writer for The New Yorker, he served as the president and CEO of the New America think tank from 2007 to 2012.

He is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prize awards, two Overseas Press Club Awards, a PEN American Center John Kenneth Galbraith Award, an Arthur Ross Book Award, a Livingston Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, a Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and the Lionel Gelber Prize. From 2012 to 2013, he was a voting member of the Pulitzer Prize Board before continuing to serve in an ex officio capacity as the dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

The Last Battle (Ryan)

The Last Battle is a 1966 book by Cornelius Ryan about the events leading up to the Battle of Berlin in World War II.

The book, which was published by Simon & Schuster, is structured as a historical narrative. It is based on interviews with hundreds of persons actually involved, including Americans, British, Germans and Russians. Ryan was granted unique historical access to Soviet archives and Soviet generals involved in the battle, which was rare at the time.The book was published simultaneously in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Portugal, when it appeared in March 1966.

The Longest Day (book)

The Longest Day is a book by Cornelius Ryan published in 1959, telling the story of D-Day, the first day of the World War II invasion of Normandy. It includes details of Operation Deadstick, the coup de main operation by gliderborne troops to capture both Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge before the main assault on the Normandy beaches. It sold tens of millions of copies in eighteen different languages.The book is not a dry military history, but rather a story about people, and reads at times like a novel. It is based on interviews with a cross-section of participants, including U.S., Canadian, British, French and German officers and civilians.

The book begins and ends in the village of La Roche-Guyon. The book refers to the village as being the most occupied village in occupied France and states that for each of the 543 inhabitants of La Roche-Guyon there were more than 3 German soldiers in the village and surrounding area. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel commander-in-chief of Army Group B had his headquarters in the castle of the village which was the seat of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

Ryan's book is divided into three parts: the first part is titled The Wait, the second part is named The Night and the third part is named The Day. The book includes a section on the casualties of D-Day and also lists the contributors including their service details on the day of the invasion and their occupations at the time the book was first published.

Researchers spent almost three years locating survivors of D-Day and over 3000 interviews were undertaken in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Germany. 383 accounts of D Day were used in the text of the book.

Senior Allied officers who assisted the author included General Maxwell D. Taylor, Lieutenant General James M. Gavin, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick E. Morgan and General Sir Richard Nelson Gale. German officers who assisted with the book included Generaloberst Franz Halder, Hauptmann Hellmuth Lang and General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt. The author also used Allied and German post action reports, War diaries, histories and official records.

On 6 June 1965, the author published an article "More of The Longest Day" in Reader's Digest as a supplement.Cornelius Ryan dedicated his book for all the men of D-Day.

The book takes its name from a comment made by Erwin Rommel to his aide Hauptmann Helmuth Lang on 22 April 1944: "...the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive...the fate of Germany depends on the outcome...for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day."

The Longest Day is also the name of a 1962 film based on the book, featuring many star actors.

The Path Between the Seas

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914 (1977) is a book by the American historian David McCullough, published by Simon & Schuster. The 698-page book contains 80 photographs, two maps and extensive source references. It won the U.S. National Book Award in History, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Cornelius Ryan Award.The book details people, places, and events involved in building the Panama Canal. The title refers to the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that the opening of the canal created.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said that the treaties passing control of the Canal to Panama would not have passed the U.S Senate had it not been for McCullough's book. “All through the Senate debates on the issue,” McCullough observes, “the book was quoted again and again, and I’m pleased to say that it was quoted by both sides. Real history always cuts both ways."

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