74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
Band of Brothers has spawned a mini-industry of art prints, books and magazines and this book is the latest Easy Company work to hit the market. So if you have all these other books, is this new one worth buying? Well my answer to that is a big resounding YES.
As great as the TV series was and the original Ambrose book too, you always felt that for every featured character, there were others who's ommission meant we missed hearing their tales. Well here Marcus Brotherton offers us the stories, memories and anecdotes of 20 more Easy company veterans. Some were included in the TV series - Shifty Powers, Earl McClung and Herb Suerth Jnr, but many weren't and most readers will find the memories of Al Mampre, Dewit Lowrey, Hank Zimmerman and Norman Neitzke (for example) new and fascinating.
Marcus allows the vets to the talk about their lives from childhood to old age in their own words and style. But ordered into chapters covering from before the war into enlisting, training and combat in Normandy through to Austria and also their post-war years. This is not a battlefield study, it won't tell you which battalion was located at what point in any given campaign. It's all about the men and how they viewed the events that shaped the 20th Century. It tells of their fears and hopes, their pride and determination and the horrors and joys of serving in the European campaign in WWII - all in their own words and in easy to read short anecdotes some of which are also very funny.
But the best part of the book is the appendix, where the children of 3 Easy company veterans write passionately about their fathers. Michael Sobel writes about his father's negative portrayal in the TV show, George Jnr and Lana tell us about the Company's resident comic their father - George Luz. And Susan shares intimate memories of life with her father Burr Smith who after WWII continued to serve his country in further conflicts. These recollections alone are reason enough to buy this book, and I for one will treasure the book for years to come.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2009
First the Nation called on these men to give in the fight against the nazis. They endured their training, their burdens and hardships and the hell of war with humility and without complaint. They were all changed by the experience and some gave their lives. When the war ended and the unit dissolved they got on with their lives, found careers and started families. They kept the memory of what they did among themselves and preserved their wartime friendships through reunions, visits, and correspondence. A few of the men published accounts of their experiences; David Webster and Don Burgett among them. The writer, historian Stephen Ambrose told their story in the book "Band of Brothers." That story became the basis for the HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers" which was produced by Tom Hanks. The film's appeal brought a renewed interest and public desire to know more. The men continued to publish their stories; among them are Dick Winters (Kingseed and Alexander), Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron(Post), Jake McNiece (Killblane), Buck Compton (Brotherton), and Don Malarkey (Welch). And now through the efforts of Marcus Brotherton the stories of many more of these men are revealed to us. The book organizes their stories in chronological phases. The style creates an intimate experience for the reader to be able to nearly hear the men's spoken accounts in a very personal way. Thank you, Mr. Brotherton and thank you to the men who gave so much to the country and continue to inspire us and give "us who remain" the chance to hear their personal remembrances of war and life stories! Currahee!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2009
We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers (Hardcover)
(I would like to dedicate this review to the memory of Shifty Powers, who died in June,2009 of cancer.)
There have been many books written about the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Easy Company. Easy is the subject of an HBO miniseries, and is known the celebrated "Band of Brothers." The men, in their 80s, are now stars, and they are asked for stories, autographs, and memorabilia. There have been so many hounded for their individual stories--so many personal, buried stories--that they have become a part of the man, that is, until NOW.
"We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers," by noted American historian Marcus Brotherton tells these stories, and in the best way possible--by using personal narrative from each man. It is very hard to find war books that feel like you're sitting in your den and swapping stories with your buddy over a beer. It is what you find after Hollywood packs up its cameras and goes home, leaving you with the "I wonder what happened to...?" This book mops up some of the things "Band of Brothers" leaves behind. This shares the men's stories from Normandy, Market-Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine, and the Peacetime Force in Germany and Austria.
Because this is basically written BY the men of Easy Company, and edited by Marcus Brotherton, I give this book a five-star, thumbs way-up, rating.
Read it and weep. Seriously.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
We Who are Alive and Remain is the excellent latest effort in a kind of cottage industry of Band of Brothers books spawned by Stephen Ambrose's book and the HBO series. I have come to Band of Brothers fairly recently, and I admit to being absorbed in the books and the DVD set. Plus, we visited the D-Day sites in Normandy in late May, so all of this is more meaningful to me now.
Mr. Brotherton's book is billed as the "Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers" and that description is entirely accurate. Mr. Ambrose focused on Easy Company as a whole as did the DVD, but since then several books have been published about individual members of Easy. In this book, Mr. Brotherton gives us stories of war and post-war from 23 members of Easy Company that we have not read individual books about previously. The stories are direct quotes from the soldiers and are organized by chronological chapters. The book also has a very good section at the end called Memories of My Father written by children of three of the deceased members of Easy Company, I found the one written by Captain Sobel's son to be particularly interesting. Several other useful appendices round out the book.
If you are interested in Band of Brothers and the exploits of the men of Easy Company, you will very much enjoy the firsthand accounts in We Who are Alive and Remain.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
This book is a great read! Especially for men. I highly recommend it for a Father's Day gift cause for "the man whose got everything" doesn't have these real, vivid, pictures of courage and sacrifice.
These are the stories of 20 of the surviving men from E Co, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, the original Band of Brothers. It's a companion piece to Ambrose's book, and if you've read the original or seen the DVDs on HBO, be sure to get this. But it also works as a stand-alone book, even if you're brand new to the subject.
I've got a son who's a sheriff's deputy, and he and I are both long-time fans of the Band of Brothers, and of well-told military non-fiction like this. These are stories of bravery, grit, determination, courage, brotherhood, and loyalty, and anyone who's in this line of work or knows somebody who is can relate to this.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2009
Marcus Brotherton's "We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers" is a collection of oral histories from members of Easy Company, 506th - the subject company of Stephen Ambrose's famous "Band of Brothers."
This isn't a book with a narrative that was written by the author; instead, it is a collection of transcripts from members of Easy Company who had not yet given their oral histories. The selections are arranged by subject in chapters, so you can read each member's memories of Toccoa, for instance, or the Battle of the Bulge. Finally, the book ends with three stories by children of three deceased Easy Company members, including one by Captain Sobel's son.
The stories told are great to flesh out more of the stories behind this famous company. However, reading the raw histories (versus Ambrose's narrative, or seeing the miniseries) shows some of the problems with oral histories, as some of the veterans remembered stories differently from what has been portrayed in the book and the miniseries, or had different opinions of some of the important characters (such as Captain Sobel).
This book is a good read for diehard fans of Easy Company. However, because it doesn't tell one complete narrative and is the perspectives and remembrances of a handful of members, readers should already be familiar with the Easy Company story either from the book or the miniseries.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2009
Buy this book! This is a wonderful collection of personal stories and memories of WWII by the men who survived it, several surviving members of Easy Company, known to everyone as the Band of Brothers. The best part, of course, in my unbiased, humble opinion, is the appendix where four adult children of three of the predeceased veterans, myself included, shared their personal memories of their fathers. Virtually everyone says this is the best part of the book. I was very honored to be able to share my father, Burr Smith's life story in this book. This is a must have for any collector of WWII books.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2009
Having read all of the recent books recounting the history of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, I find this an important contribution to the history of that unit and the history of World War II. I was privileged to be on a Band of Brother' tour accompanied by Frank Perconte, one of the original Tocoa members of Easy Company and a contributor to the book. The author, Marcus Brotherton takes you on a journey through WWII through the eyes of 20 members of Easy Company. Each tells his own story of that journey. If you enjoyed reading the "Band of Brothers" along with the other books about Easy Company, you will definitely enjoy this book. It is an interesting and easy read.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Upon finishing this book, I have read the entire lot of books written by or about the individual members of Easy Company (including Ambrose's "Band of Brothers"). Looking back, I am glad I read this book last because it essentially ties the individual memoirs and the television series together by detailing the lesser-known members of the unit. More importantly, it is the only book available that provides insight to the life of Capt. Herbert Sobel ... arguably, one of the more important members of Easy Company's legendary history.
Fortunately, there is still enough interest in the "Band of Brothers" to allow the men of Easy Company who weren't highlighted in the television series to tell their stories. "We Who Are Alive and Remain" introduces the reader to approximately 20 men of E Company 506 ... in their own words. The book is organized chronologically from the men's pre-war lives to present day with each chapter representing a pivotal moment in the unit's history. There is no superfluous text to connect the stories, just straight-forward, raw commentary from the men themselves. Some provide elaborate details of events while others need only a few words to express their experience. Their stories provide both supportive and alternative views to many of the events featured in the television series. We are also introduced to a wide-range of new personal experiences and opinions that provide a clearer picture of Easy Company.
But, what really separates this book from others is that it acknowledges Capt. Herbert Sobel as a member of the company and finally sheds positive light on the man savaged by the HBO series. An entire chapter, written by Sobel's son, is dedicated to detailing this enigmatic man's life before, during and after the war.
If "Band of Brothers" opened the door to the world of Easy Company, then "We Who Are Alive and Remain" can be viewed as a poignant closing of that door. It is a sad fact that this amazing generation of people is leaving us at such a rapid rate. I am grateful for any opportunity that allow these men and women to tell their stories ... we need to enjoy it while it lasts.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
"We Who Are Alive and Remain" traces the life stories of 20 of the original remaining Band of Brothers, from their growing up years in various parts of the country through basic training and World War II to their lives after the war.
The book is told in oral-history style, similar to how Babe Heffron's and Bill Guarnere's book was done. I really got a sense of knowing these men, what they were really like, what they really thought and felt, and who they really were during the war and are today, all these years later.
I think this book excels in its authenticity and rawness. I felt like I was actually sitting down with these men, hearing the stories firsthand.
I've seen the HBO series "Band of Brothers" and I really loved it, and this book will appeal to anyone who has seen this series. Even if you haven't seen it, you'll like this book!
I'm also going to pick up a copy for my dad for Father's Day. This is the type of book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a strong story about courageous men who gave their all.