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Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends Paperback – October 7, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Post, on assignment for Philadelphia magazine, met in 2001 with WWII vets Guarnere and Heffron to discuss their service and their portrayal in the soon-to-be-aired HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (based on the book by Stephen E. Ambrose). In this new book, Post has compiled the transcripts of her interviews to provide a personal history of the 101st Airborne Division's Easy Company, as well as the soldiers' own stories of growing up and growing old. Switching off between the two within chapters, Post allows Guarnere and Heffron to share narration duties as they recount their South Philly childhoods, their induction into Easy Company (Guarnere was there for the company's formation; Heffron joined after D-Day) and their work in it, from the disastrous Operation Market Garden to the frozen hell of Bastogne. The men also discuss their post-war lives, and those of their comrades; 60 years after meeting, these two men still call each other nearly every day, and their bond provides the volume its large heart. Both men are quick to point out that they're no heroes, just men with a job to do (despite the fact that they each received, and tore up, exemptions from service); they and their story are both remarkable, and a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Band of Brothers in print or on screen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“[A] must-read for anyone who enjoyed Band of Brothers.”
Publishers Weekly

“[An] irresistible story…relentlessly gripping.”
Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425224368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425224366
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Canellis on October 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For true Band of Brothers fans, "Wild Bill" Guarnere and "Babe" Heffron need no introduction. Although the foreword by actor Tom Hanks is a sincere and fitting tribute (both men think very highly of Hanks), it was not necessary to help promote this wonderfully written book. Journalist Robyn Post gives us Heffron and Guarnere in the rough with South Philly colloquialisms in tact. Five years in the making, _Brothers in Battle Best of Friends_ (a more fitting title would be impossible to conjure) joins the memoirs of Dick Winters, David Kenyon Webster, Donald R. Burgett, and a host of other histories of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II.

Post brings her readers right into the men's living rooms. One gets the impression that Bill and Babe are sitting across from them in an easy chair sipping a beer, recounting their amazing experiences. Post arranges the book nicely. Though both men grew up only blocks apart in South Philly, they would not meet until Babe joined Easy Company in England after the Normandy battles. Recognizing Babe's South Philly accent (for those who ever had a friend from Philly, you know the accent) the men became fast friends. Guarnere ensured Babe was placed in Joe Toye's squad because he knew Toye would take care of "the dirty rat." Both men soldiered through Holland, the bitter cold and horrendous fighting at Bastogne where both Toye and Guarnere were horribly wounded by the same artillery round and both men lost a leg. Babe then carries the narrative to war's end, while Bill recounts his journey through recovery and the physical and mental readjustments he overcame, all the while "just happy to be alive.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Anthony W. Coulter on October 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The real hero's of WWII didn't come home according to Babe Heffron. Well Bill and Babe have heroically told the stories of those men for 63 years. Right out of Damon Runyon these two characters, as labeled by a priest, through thick and thin have survived the Depression, Third Reich, health problems and all that life can throw at them. No sissys here, they both are giving and caring beyond the point they would admit. From foxhole to hole in the wall,the story of their loyalty, honesty and true devotion to each other is unparalleled. It is one of the greatest gifts that we have from their generation and it is a testimony that todays society can certainly use. Robyn Post's book has brought to the public the heartfelt tale of two different men who, damn the consequences, are buddies forever.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Oaster on November 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a WWII buff, I watched the HBO series Band of Brothers, and eventually bought the DVD version, and I also read the Stephen Ambrose book prior to watching the series. These are good introduction to this book.

This book gives Bill and Babe's first hand account of what they went through during the war, and how the hardships of battle bonded them together even to this day.

The Ambrose book and HBO miniseries while excellent, they pale in comparison with the story being told in the first person, by men who were actually there.

These are two ordinary guys from South Philadelphia,who never knew each other prior to the war, but because of it are best of friends.

If you want to read an excellent first hand account of two real Band of Brothers, pick up this book. You'll laugh and cry, but most of all you will see how the horrors of war can bond people together.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Truthteller on October 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fine account of the exploits, adventures, and mishaps of two of the better known members of the "Band of Brothers" extolled in the the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries (based on the book) of the same name.

The book stems from the interviews by a journalist in 2001 of "Wild Bill" (aka "Gonorrhea" and one of the two "natural killers" in Easy Company according to Major Richard Winters in his autobiography, "Beyond Band of Brothers") and "Babe" (who joined Easy Company after D-Day and lived through Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at the end of the war) in connection with an article she was writing about them and the then upcoming HBO miniseries.

Each chapter contains their life stories (and those of other members) as told separately through these interviews, from both of them growing up poor in Philadelphia, to both of them ignoring their draft exemptions to volunteer, to their training and combat experiences, to their continuing post-war friendship ("Wild Bill" was shipped home after losing a leg in the Battle of the Bulge), to their belated renown as heroes.

I viewed this book with some trepidation as yet another spinoff from what is now a cottage industry of Band of Brothers material but I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting it was to learn more first-hand information from both of these warriors about their WWII experiences and lives both before and after the war. (Particularly revealing are frank admissions of certain acts that have been widely downplayed, discounted, or dismissed for generations. But without these admissions, no one will ever understand what these men went through and what war is often like no matter what side you are on. History cannot be studied or understood in a vacuum. It is these admissions that are, perhaps, their final act of heroism.)
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