Customer Reviews: A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us
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on May 4, 2010
I have been part of an unofficial Band of Brothers network for nearly 10 years. In my job as a tour guide in Normandy I take people to locations made famous in the TV series and book and have spent the last decade assembling a collection of stories and character profiles of men from this now world famous company. Well with this new book and the author's others on the same unit, the back stories of many of the veterans are now available for fans all over the world to enjoy. The author's love and respect for the men he writes about shines forth in this book and his easy to follow warm writing style make this a joy to read. Knowing as I do some of the veterans and their families, I can tell you that they have been approached by all sorts of people to share their recollections over the years, and many have been turned away. Marcus however, has been welcomed into the Easy Company circle of friends and when you read the honest and profound stories the families have shared with him, you just know he enjoys their complete trust and respect. To have achieved that, and to have produced such a moving book from their anecdotes and interviews are testamnent to the author's sincerity and dedication.

The book is pitched at just the right level of detail too. We learn all about the men - their pre and post war lives, the lagacies they have left and we gain insight into their differing personalities, warts and all. Yet even when dealing with some of the negative aspects of their characters, Marcus maintains a dignified attitude. There is no sensationalising, no muck-raking and his prevailing respect for the veterans is commendable. You can also tell he has been selective with his retelling of anecdotes. It would have been all to easy to overfill the book with little stories, but in my opinion the impact of the main tales would have been lessened.

The best comment I can make is that this book makes you the reader, feel you have been welcomed into the families houses, and have sat and dined with them and allowed them to talk about their loved ones. It is a personal book, a powerful book and comes with my highest recommendation.
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on May 4, 2010
This is a great book that tells the stories of some of the surviving (and not surviving) members of the "Band of Bothers". This story is really touching as it tell about the backgrounds and life after the war of these different soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect America and her ways. The story is composed of four parts each taking a different section of the army and telling the story of some of the men who served in that specific part of the army. Part I: Enlisted Men, Part II: NCOs, Part III: Officers, Part IV: Easy Company's fallen.
The book contains twenty-six chapters and an epilogue. Each chapter is the story of a different soldier. Every story is recounted by a family member (sometimes more then one) which I think is a great way to do some research. These men are true heroes from my perspective: they sacrificed every thing they knew to fight for the freedom of America. We sometimes take our freedom for granted and it's really great to be reminded of these men who gave it to us.
One really good story is chapter 21 Part IV (1st sgt Bill Evans), I just really like this one part because it's a really good example of the sacrifice these men made: "I never met my great-uncle, as he was gone long before I was born [...] My grand-mother said he volunteered for the service so his brothers, who had children, might not have to go to war." This is a great example of sacrifice on Sgt Bill Evans part.
This is a must-read for anyone who has a family member who took part in WWII or who is interested by the subject of WWII.
By Elliot, age 14.
A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us
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on May 11, 2010
The author of two previous works recounting the lives of soldiers from World War II's famed Easy Company, Marcus Brotherton introduces the reader to those veterans whose stories had yet to be told in his latest effort, A Company of Heroes, a compilation of recollections shared by the families of 26 Easy Company veterans.

Having read the memoirs of well-known "E" Company members Major Richard Winters, co-authors Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron, Donald Malarkey, and Lynn "Buck" Compton, as well as Brotherton's We Who Are Alive and Remain and several other related books, I still had a hunger to know more about who these men are or were. Brotherton has satisfied that need with A Company of Heroes, the title of which stemmed from a letter written by Sergeant Mike Ranney to Major Winters.

A Company of Heroes provides insight into the character of each man, beginning with their lives as boys, developing into young men through the challenges of the Great Depression and leading up to volunteering for the Army's paratroopers. Additional details regarding six of Easy Company's war-fallen are exposed as well, and in some cases, shedding new light on the manner in which they fell.

In 1945-46, when the soldiers returned to their homes and families, they were expected to integrate back into their lives, disregarding the years they spent away doing the unexplainable work of war. They attempted to pick up where they had left off, or begin their lives as adults, having been transformed into men on the field of battle. There were no debriefings or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) screenings. No transition assistance programs. They simply received their mustering-out pay and news of a GI Bill.

Many of the "Brothers" in A Company of Heroes married and started families, but had virtually no outlet in which to deal with the demons of their war service, except to drink. Very few of them discussed their wartime experiences with their family members, and some never reconnected with their Easy Company brothers.

What was most intriguing was a recurring theme of the inadvertent damage dealt to the soldiers' families. Brotherton, intuitively bringing together the stories of these particular men, captured the residual suffering caused by what is now known as PTSD. Many of the veterans' children spoke of fathers who were distant, silent or numbed by years of overindulgence in alcohol.

One incident with Robert Marsh epitomizes the challenges facing many of the men of Easy Company, and of veterans of war in general. Marsh's daughter describes an episode in which the house is utterly destroyed in a drunken rampage as he relived painful memories. In another occurrence, Marsh's wife interrupted an apparent suicide attempt, the act understandable now as headlines routinely report the struggles of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

While troubles were prevalent amongst the Easy Company veterans, not all of the accounts of their family lives were negative. Herman "Hack" Hanson's daughter felt that her father's success was due to his ability to speak about his experiences. Steve Toye's remembrance of his father (Joe Toye) typifies what most children of WWII veterans recall of their fathers - that these men were tough, loyal and patriotic, full of flaws but did the best with what they had.

One of the most poignant images of the book is a photograph of Robert Marsh's great-granddaughter standing with her hand on his headstone which reads, "Gone But Not Forgotten."

There are many instances in A Company of Heroes where inaccuracies (portrayed in the television series or in Ambrose's book) were corrected or rumors dispelled, such as the story of Lieutenant Ron Spiers shooting and killing one of his own men. Although Major Winters touched on Albert Blithe's life beyond 1948 in his memoir (the year in which the HBO series purports Blithe finally succumbed to his injuries sustained in France), Blithe's son tells of his father's career in the Army long after the war, and his early death at the age of 44.

A Company of Heroes exemplifies the great efforts of WWII veterans'family members being undertaken to capture and record the details and personal experiences for future generations. Fans of the Band of Brothers series will enjoy getting to know these 26 Easy Company members, but this book has even greater value for the children and grandchildren of World War II combat veterans. They will learn that many who share similar life experiences, and their fathers and grandfathers, are heroes.
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on May 9, 2010
Because my father, Robert Burr Smith, was a member of Easy Co. of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army in WWII, made famous in Band of Brothers, I have made it a point to read every new book that comes out about the veterans, whether it be a personal biography, travel guide following their footsteps through WWII's Europe or interviews with the men and their families. I participated in Marcus' last book, "We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers" and was eagerly anticipating reading this new book. I have not been intrigued by a book this much in a long time. The personal stories are very honest and raw. Marcus treated his interviewees obviously with much respect as he coached very intimate details of these heroes personal lives, sometimes shockingly so. The book revealed to me a picture of a lot of pain, both physical and emotional, that many of the men of Easy Company profiled in this book must have felt after the war. Many of the men seemed to emerge from the war emotionally sound and moved on. Many just couldn't shake the nightmares and demons and carried them through into their family lives. I was simply riveted by each story and read only one at a time so I could savor what I was reading. I know many of the interviewees and still learned many new stories and facts I had never heard of. The pride the men felt in being "original Toccoa men" was a theme constantly mentioned. Those of us whose fathers were "original Toccoa men", the original group that trained together and bonded so closely from the very beginnings of Easy Co., know how tight those bonds were and would last for many of them until the end of their lives.

I believe anyone interested in WWII history but especially those who can't get enough about the men of Easy Company will be delighted with these very personal life stories from the family members who loved them. An absolutely fascinating look at the lives of men who fought in WWII and what happened to them. For those families who were lucky to spend many years with their relative and hear the stories first hand, to those that didn't come home, their lives made a lasting impact on the families they left behind for generations to come.

Susan Finn
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on March 18, 2013
Being a Band of Brothers fan, I picked up this book. It is supposed to provide a little more insight into the home lives of certain men from Easy Company. I didn't really enjoy the book as much as I expected, because more often than not "Grandpa didn't like talking about the war" so there was much speculation by the family members about the veterans true feelings about his wartime experiences. I liked Robert van Klinken's chapter because there were numerous excerpts from his personal letters, but became bored with other chapters which became redundant about where they went to school, where they worked, etc...The chapter on Ronald Speirs was also particularly disappointing due to any real knowledge of the man besides the basics that could be searched on the internet by anybody. The book also rehashed a lot of the stories already covered in Band of Brothers and other works. This book did, however, clear up some of the mistakes that were made about several of the men in the BoB series and Ambrose book. I also didn't think that the interviewing of family members who never even met their relative added any insight into who the men really were.
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on June 15, 2010
I'll keep it simple. If you enjoyed the Band of Brothers series, or any of the books written about this amazing group of men, then you're going to enjoy this book.

A Company of Heroes is another first-rate offering from Marcus Brotherton, author of "We Who Are Alive and Remain" and "Call of Duty". Although they've all been good, I dare say it's his best of his Band of Brothers-related books. Like a couple of other reviewers said, Brotherton treats the men and their families with respect and dignity. It's also a book filled with awesome stories that will make you laugh and make you cry! It's well written and an easy read.

If you want to read a book that will inspire you, and make you more thankful than you've possibly ever been, then this would be a great one to get. I'm going to get an extra one for my dad for Father's Day!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 11, 2010
Marcus Brotherton has written a book that can stand alone...without seeing or reading `Band of Brothers'. He explains, for anyone who might not know, who these men from the 101st Easy Company were and a list of the books published about this group of WWII fighting soldiers. It is amazing how many authors assume that every reader would be familiar with his subject and forgets this type of preface.
This however is really not the story of the war. It does tell how many of the men enlisted and occurrences during the fighting, but it is mostly about their lives after, what they did with themselves and how the war affected them. It is told by their sons and daughters, some friends and other relatives who remember the men and what they were told by them.
Some mistake are corrected, Albert Blithe's son campaigns to fix the fact that his father did not die in 1948. There are smiles to be had -a father telling his son about being told to fix his bayonet and him thinking, "this stuff only happens in the movies", only to see that exact moment portrayed in the HBO series. One son is touched and astounded to meet a lady who had his father sign her autograph book as he was walking down the road in Holland after the Market Garden jump.
This is so representative of a generation of men that went off to fight WWII, not just this company, but what happened to all of the men and women in and after WWII. Some led happy lives with joyful marriages, others fought alcoholism, divorce and nightmares.
Some might be disappointed that Winters is not included in this collection, but there are 26 others whose stories are told. Pictures are included, an index, a list of those killed in action, known members of easy Company, as well as a diagram of Easy Company's placement within the 101st Airborne.
An epilogue repeats Stephen Ambose's two questions that sum up what these men have answered: "To whom do I owe thanks that I should live in such opportunity?", and "Will I have the courage when the time comes?" Questions for all time, that one can see in how these" ordinary" men lived.
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on July 15, 2013
This was written by people who had known or was related to members of Easy Company. It was interesting to read of those who were not covered in Ambrose's book but with that said, it wasn't about their personal memories but those who know them. It was an ok read but not as I expected.
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on September 20, 2012
I am a World War II history fan and like a lot of people was hooked by Stephen Ambrose and Band of Brother's in particular.

This book is great because the stories contained therein are from the perspective of the actual combatants themselves, or those who survived. It's another follow up to the "Easy Company" story which has been proliferated ever since the HBO Series came out and introduced them to the world at large.

You won't go wrong with this book.
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on October 7, 2014
I saw the movie and read the book. I was amazed at the trials and tribulations these Men went through. The stick together they had is amazing.Most people(like me have no idea what they went though)

If you have not read any of Ambrose books,and they are of plenty.You surely need to read his excellent writting.He was one of a kind !
When he passed we lost one of American authors.
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