Thinking about writing about Arnhem

At some point I’m going to have to think about writing subjects a bit broader than just Portsmouth. Equally, it’s always been an ambition of mine to write about Arnhem. Given that my Grandad was an Arnhem veteran, it’s pretty much what got me into military history in the first place.

But the historiography is pretty crowded. For what was, essentially, a divisional level battle, more has been written about Arnhem than any other comparable battle in history.  So many books have been written about it – scores of general histories, and pretty much every kind of unit history or personal memoir imaginable. In many cases I suspect authors and publishers have been a bit deceptive about publishing new books that don’t offer anything new, knowing that anything about Arnhem will sell.

It’s a big ambition of mine to write about Arnhem, but my historian’s conscience won’t allow me to re-hash something. But equally, it has to be something with enough appeal that publishers will take it on. The ideal scenario would be some new sources that have never been looked at, or some kind of new angle.

I’m a bit stuck for ideas – any suggestions?

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10 Comments

Filed under Arnhem

10 responses to “Thinking about writing about Arnhem

  1. x

    I have been thinking, which hurt, but I am stumped. Had the latest P&S catalogue through the door a few days back. And I don’t think there isn’t a topic covered.

    The only thing I can come up with would be of no interest to you.

    • James Daly

      I think my ambition of writing about Arnhem might have to remain exactly that – a pipedream. What with my WW1 book on the go ready for Xmas 2013, I doubt I would have time to fit anything in in time for the 70th anniversary of Arnhem in any case :(

  2. Well, it’s a biased couple of ideas, but what about either the Polish Paras or the Royal Corps of Signals involvement? I know of one American book on Commonwealth Paras in general, and the section on the 1st Independent Polish Paras is disgustingly short and laughingly erred. And maybe something a bit more “techie” about the RCS and the problems with the radio sets would be welcomed by us tech-heads. ;)
    And yes, rumours of my demise have been only slightly exaggerated. I’m in the midst of a huge area that lost power days ago, though I (and about 4 other houses) am blessed to actually have electricity, thanks to corporate greed and a VERY luckily placed sewerage pumping plant. Sometimes, when a big entity craps on you, you actually come out ahead! :D

    • James Daly

      There is a very good book about the Polish Paras, I can’t quite remember who wrote it. It is a bit biased as it’s from a Polish perspective. William Buckingham has also covered the Anglo-Polish Para relations in some of his books.

      The Signals at Arnhem might be interesting, especially considering the prominence that it had in the outcome of the battle. I guess I would need to talk to an ex-scaley as it’s quite a specialised subject.

      • John Erickson

        Still only having VERY intermittent net access, so I’ll have to get back to you on possible sources for RCS folks – I need to look up my RCCS contacts online, and until they get the wi-fi towers back online fully, I don’t have enough time online or bandwidth to do so.
        But I’m still here – you ain’t getting rid of me THAT easily! :D

  3. Pingback: Encouragement for the ‘non-establishment’ historian | Daly History Blog

  4. Alan James O'Reilly

    The book about the Polish paras is most likely Freely I Served by the brigade commander, Stanislaw Sosabowski, http://www.amazon.com/Freely-Served-Airborne-Ser-No/dp/0898390613.

    I was interested to read this blog because I have had privately published a book which is a fact-based novel using, among published sources, interviews with WW2 paras who served with the 2nd Battalion, which was the main para formation at the Arnhem Bridge. You can read about it here, http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Battle-Alan-OReilly/dp/1595262881/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348163565&sr=1-1&keywords=sound+of+battle+o%27reilly

    and here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/features/2005/02/sound_of_battle.shtml

    My contract with the publisher has terminated so that the book is technically out of print though Amazon still has copies. I’m interested in re-launching it in time for the 2014 remembrance, DV.

  5. Graham Francis

    Hi John
    The definitive book on the Poles at Arnhem is Poles Apart by George Cholewcynski. It’s well worth seeking out.
    I haven’t come across a techies book on the RCS, but the book I would suggest for the signallers is Echoes of Arnhem by Lewis Golden. He was adjutant with the RCS at Arnhem. I had the pleasure of meeting him there last year.
    Graham Francis

    • Thank you, Graham! I’ll check and confirm that it’s available around here, hopefully at one of the lesser-priced bookstores. Money’s a wee bit tight. (Actually, more than just a “wee”.) Thanks for thinking of me! :)

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