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Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters Hardcover – February 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his well-intentioned but impersonal memoirs, Winters tells the tales left untold by Stephen Ambrose, whose Band of Brothers was the inspiration for the HBO miniseries, but Winters's memoir is disappointingly sparse on details unrelated to troop position. It is in the battles and tactical maneuvers of Easy Company that Winters is most at home: on D-Day, when Easy Company's commanding officer is killed, Winters takes charge minutes after landing deep in German territory and leads an assault against a German battery. He carefully explicates the reasoning behind his strategy, leading the reader along as the Company attacks German machine gun and mortar outposts. The narrative is laced with Winters's soldierly exaltations of pride in his comrades' bravery: "My God, it's beautiful when you think of a guy who was so dedicated to his company that he apologizes for getting hit." Although the intrepidness of the group induces more than a tinge of pride, the memoir is devoid of powerful reflections. In the last, sluggish chapters, Winters devotes an excessive amount of time to letters he has received and to expositions on leadership. Winters is too humble for a genre that requires a little bit of conceit.
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From Booklist

Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers (1992) and the HBO miniseries based on it made Easy Company--the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which fought from D-Day to the end of World War II, with 150 percent casualties--well known to more than -military-history buffs. After both publication and broadcast, Winters, Easy Company's commanding officer, received many requests for more information. Feeling that much of the material Ambrose didn't use deserved an audience, he chose to air it and satisfy all those requests in his memoirs. For those to whom the story is familiar, the major and his collaborator developed an excellent narrative voice to recount Winters' experiences, actions, and thoughts during everything from training to deployment to battle to subsequent occupation. Winters has been praised as an exemplar of leadership, and here he shows what he did to earn that praise and how he did it. Very well done, book as well as war service. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; First Edition edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425208133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425208137
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

207 of 210 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Gesker on February 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At last Major Dick Winters tells his story in his own words. Although many of the incidents in the book may be familiar to devotees of Stephen Ambrose's book "Band of Brothers" and the marvelous HBO series, Dick Winters' war memoirs are still compelling, enlightening and inspiring.

This volume is the next best thing to having this courageous, thoughtful, and exceedingly modest hero come and sit in your living room to tell you about the adventures and exploits of Easy Company. Time and again Dick Winters embodied the true spirit of the Fort Benning Infantry doctrine of "Follow Me."

Major Winters shares his reflections on the fighting and his tactics from Brecourt Manor and the Eagle's Nest. He is most proud of his unit's work at the Island. "In my estimation, this action by E Company was the highlight of all Easy Company's engagements during the entire war and it also served as my apogee as company commander," Winters tell us.

Major Winters is also quick to commend the gallant work of the men in his company, "The company belonged to the men-the officers were merely caretakers." In reading these pages it becomes abundantly clear that these citizen soldiers were magnificent caretakers of our freedom during some of the darkest hours of the 20th century.

"Leaving Easy Company was the hardest thing I had done in my life," the Major tells us. Putting his book down is pretty damned hard, too.
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102 of 106 people found the following review helpful By HMS Warspite TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Beyond Band of Brothers" is Dick Winters' account of his experiences with Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the Second World War. Winters will already be familar to many readers from his role in "Band of Brothers" by Steven Ambrose, and in the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers." As one of the last surviving officers of the unit and as custodian of a collection of diaries, letters, and other material, Winters has written his own war memoirs to complete the story of Easy Company.

The storyline of "Beyond Band of Brothers" will be familar to many readers; Dick Winters adds context, perspective, and additional detail. Winters lacks Ambrose's gifts as a writer; his style is serviciable but undramatic. More importantly, however, Winters provides the "How to" of being a successful leader of a highly effective unit. Winters was highly professional, morally and mentally disciplined, physically fit, constantly learning about his job, and acutely attuned to the spoken and unspoken voices of his troopers. He was supported by a strong religious faith. As Winters progesses from enlisted volunteer through officer candidate, junior officer, commander of Easy Company, and ultimately a battalion command in the 506th Infantry, he allows us to see his growth as a leader. Winters is honest about his fears and concerns throughout the war, especially in late 1944 when many soldiers began to break down under conditions of sustained combat. Throughout the book, Winters' care and concern for his soldiers is clear. He was a hard but fair leader who sought to bring as many of his troopers back alive as he could.

This book is highly recommended to fans of the story of Easy Company, and to those looking for lessons in leadership from a man who was clearly an excellent leader.
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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Canellis on March 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Are natural leaders born or made? It seems that Richard D. "Dick" Winters' life has been a quest to answer that question. And in the final chapters of _Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters_, he does provide the answer. Winters, the level-headed commander of Easy Company, portrayed in Stephen E. Ambrose's book, turned HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," needs no introduction. Written in the autumn of his years, Winters culls a lifetime of inner reflection and a quest to live in peace, after leading soldiers in some of the most deadly combat of World War II. The result is a frank, sometimes brutally honest testament to the moral fiber of the American citizen soldier, who shouldered an undying responsibility to God, country, family, and above all, the men he led into battle. Sixty years from now, when the events of the Second World War sink ever so deeper into the pages of history, Winters' message will still be sought. Like the men he led of Easy Company, he will gain the respect of new generations of soldiers, and, if events mirror those of his life, continue to save lives.

As in a resent biography by Larry Alexander ( _Biggest Brother: ... _ [2005]) Winters pens only a dozen pages of his early life before delving right into his military career. Winters was the product of many good influences in his upbringing: his family, Mennonite background, a strong work ethic, and no vices. Unlike Alexander's gallant attempt to penetrate his subject without much success, Winters' prose is down to Earth. The sense the reader gets of the words coming from the horse's mouth is reassuring, and holds one's attention. Also unlike Alexander's biography, Winters refers to the correspondence with his wartime pen-pal, DeEtta Almon sparingly.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ben on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most of this book is repetitive to Band of Brothers, the Stephen Ambrose novel, but this is the first time Major Winters has told the story of the 506th PIR in his own words. Those of us already familiar with the former know a lot of what Winters is talking about here, but it's still interesting hearing Major Winters tell the story from his point of view. Major Winters not only voices his opinions about the 506th PIR, but also gives a lot of good advice within these pages, most of it geared towards becoming a better leader. Also, there are a few tidbits that appear from time to time that I hadn't known about before. One of these such tidbits was the information that Albert Blithe did not die in 1948, but fully recovered from his wound and went on to have one of the most illustrious military careers of anyone in Easy Company.

A truly compelling read from cover to cover, I recommend that everyone in America read this book, whether or not they even remotely care about what Winters and the 506th PIR went through. Not only does Major Winters tell his story, but he fills these pages with the important knowledge of skills you cannot learn except from practice. Major Winters was and is an excellent leader and role model, and truly defines the word HERO.
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