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Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest Paperback – September 6, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

As grippingly as any novelist, preeminent World War II historian Stephen Ambrose tells the horrifying, hallucinatory saga of Easy Company, whose 147 members he calls the nonpareil combat paratroopers on earth circa 1941-45. Ambrose takes us along on Easy Company's trip from grueling basic training to Utah Beach on D-day, where a dozen of them turned German cannons into dynamited ruins resembling "half-peeled bananas," on to the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of part of the Dachau concentration camp, and a large party at Hitler's "Eagle's Nest," where they drank the madman's (surprisingly inferior) champagne. Of Ambrose's main sources, three soldiers became rich civilians; at least eight became teachers; one became Albert Speer's jailer; one prosecuted Bobby Kennedy's assassin; another became a mountain recluse; the despised, sadistic C.O. who first trained Easy Company (and to whose strictness many soldiers attributed their survival of the war) wound up a suicidal loner whose own sons skipped his funeral.

The Easy Company survivors describe the hell and confusion of any war: the senseless death of the nicest kid in the company when a souvenir Luger goes off in his pocket; the execution of a G.I. by his C.O. for disobeying an order not to get drunk. Despite the gratuitous horrors it relates, Band of Brothers illustrates what one of Ambrose's sources calls "the secret attractions of war ... the delight in comradeship, the delight in destruction ... war as spectacle." --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Ambrose ( Pegasus Bridge ) narrates in vivid detail the adventures, misadventures, triumphs and tragedies of a single U.S. Army infantry company over its span of organizational life. Formed in July 1944 and deactivated in November 1945, E Company was one of the most successful light infantry units in the European theater. Its troops saw their first action on D-Day behind the Normandy beachhead, took part in Operation Market Garden in Holland, held the perimeter around Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and were the first to reach Hitler's Bavarian outpost at Berchtesgaden. The book is enlivened with pertinent comments by veterans of "Easy Company," who recall not only the combat action but their relations with their officers (one company commander was a petty tyrant of the worst type, but his oppressive ways had much to do with the unit's impressive esprit de corps ) and their impressions of the countries through which they campaigned (hated the French, loved the Germans). This is a terrific read for WW II actions buffs. Photos. Military Book Club main selection; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Media Tie-In edition (September 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074322454X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743224543
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (950 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

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#57 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 183 people found the following review helpful By mirope on October 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Notwithstanding the wonderful HBO miniseries based on this book, "Band of Brothers" is an entertaining and worthwhile read in its own right. Ambrose skilly fully weaves personal accounts from the paratroopers of E Company into a compelling story of the war in the European theater. Ambrose has earned his stripes as one of the premier historians of World War II, and with good reason. His writing style is easy to read, he does a great job of individualizing the large cast of characters and he masterfully sets his story within the context of the greater conflict without distracting the reader.
All this makes the book essential reading for those watching the HBO miniseries. The miniseries is great cinema, but the medium is necessarily limited in how much background it can bring to each episode. After the first few episodes I started reading the book along with the show, and it helped me in distinguish the characters and orient what was happening. Also, the book gives you a greater understanding of why certain objectives were so critical to the war effort. When I've read the part of the book that corresponds to a new episode, I get to focus on the performances and visual aspects of the show. Reading the book only enhances the experience of watching the miniseries.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on March 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Band of Brothers, by Stephen Ambrose, is the story of E (Easy) Company of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. It's a very personal account, as Ambrose conducted numerous interviews with the surviving members of the company and uses those interviews to imbue a sense of closeness to the action and the men who went into that action. It's a very effective book, though it does seem to be "history lite." I'm not really sure why, because Ambrose has obviously done a lot of research in producing this story. Perhaps it is because it's not a typical history book with documentation from all over the place. Instead, he seems to have used only a couple of sources besides the men of Easy themselves. Then again, is that a bad thing? Personally, I don't think so, at least not in this case. Ambrose is not attempting to write a history of World War II. He's writing the story of a group of men who formed relationships and bonds that would carry them through the rest of their lives.
I found this book fascinating. Most of the history books I have read have been very abstract, telling about the moving of units and what they did and how successful they were in battle. They always have some personal angles involved, either talking about letters written home, or some personal stories of valor. Ultimately, though, they are about the battles themselves. These books can be very interesting.
Band of Brothers tells us everything about a group of men and how they fought. We get to laugh with them, we get to see the horrors that they have seen. We also get to see the incompetence that sometimes becomes prevalent in wartime. Ambrose doesn't pull any punches, and neither do the men of Easy to whom he spoke. They are very outspoken about the people they didn't like.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Peter Mackay on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
As you would expect from the title, this book is focused on the stories of the individuals who made up this "band of brothers". Stephen Ambrose based his account on personal interviews and diaries and letters written at the time, occasionally moving back to a larger view when he quotes from an official history or other text.
This is the story of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101 Airborne Division. A famous group in a famous unit, fighting from Normandy in the early hours of D-Day, through Holland in the spectacular failure of Operation Market-Garden and Belgium in a gallant stand at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge, all the way to Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" in the Austrian mountains, where the victors had a well-deserved feast of wine, women and song.
This is an incredible story, told mainly in the words of those who were there, and you can feel the fear, exhilaration, killing fury, bitter cold and biting hunger along the way. But ost of all you can feel the camaraderie of soldiers thrown together in a remote training camp in 1942, who trained and fought as a band of brothers and now, sixty years on, still maintain their closest friendships with each other.
In another sense it is a story of an amazing soldier - Second Lieutenant Winters, one of the founding officers of Easy Company, who ended up a Major commanding the battalion. He led his troops with coolness and courage, intelligence and humanity. He gained more than respect, he gained the love of these warriors, and he earnt it through common sense decisions in training and in combat. His decisions saved the lives of his men and cost the enemy dearly, and his small unit actions are still cited as textbook examples.
This book is chockablock full of infantry minor actions.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Conway on April 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I rated the book Band of Brothers 5 stars. Band of Brothers is a very interesting book about E Company, part of the 101st Airborne Division of the Army back in World War II. The book begins with E Company's basic training at Camp Toccoa and all of the men's hatred of their C.O. Lt. Herbert Sobel. Band of Brothers gives detailed descriptions and first hand accounts of men from E Company telling about their experiences throughout basic training and the war. The book ends with what the men of E Company did after the war was over and where their careers took them. Band of Brothers is a great account of what many companies in World War II went through. I enjoyed this book thoroughly because the men actually told real stories of what happened to them and their friends in the war. This was one of the main reasons I chose this book and the fact that I think Stephen Ambrose is a fantastic writer. Many of Ambrose's books are enjoyable to me because he actually does some of the things that men in war did just to get a feel of what they went through. I have also read Americans at War by Ambrose and am now currently reading What If? by Ambrose. Both of these books are excellent as well for many of the same reasons. Ambrose gets the most out of all the interviews he does with veterans, which makes his books very intriguing.
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