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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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The New York Times Book Review As a member of just such a unit...I am impressed by how well Mr. Ambrose has captured the true essence of a combat rifle company.
The Times-Picayune A valuable and fascinating record...In these pages, the reader can vicariously walk with the men of E Company, suffer and laugh with them.
Publishers Weekly This is a terrific read for WWII action buffs.
About the Author
- ASIN : 074322454X
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Media Tie-In edition (September 6, 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780743224543
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743224543
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 0.8 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #98,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book seemed to be about 50/50, as it focuses not on the overall big picture of World War II, yet a select group of Airborne infantry – The Easy Company of the 101st Airborne division. Back in the thick of the war around 1942, someone had a bizarre idea: Why not have a host of soldiers jump out of an airplane with a parachute right into the thick of battle? This sort of idea is only for the toughest of the tough, and when the soldiers begin their training, they don’t actually see combat until D-Day. There’s a lot of preparation for such a tactic.
Once we’re in battle with Easy Company (in addition to D-Day, the other major skirmishes they jump into are Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge), the author manages to keep the story more focused on the human element of battle as opposed to strategies and objectives. This is mostly a good thing. It’s good because it makes a much more compelling story. It’s not good because a ‘compelling story’ doesn’t mean it’s a happy story. This is a war. In fact, I’ve never read a book that describes the horrors of the battlefield quite like this one. Yes, there’s the horror of bullets flying over your head at all times and seeing your best friends killed in front of your eyes, but there’s also the horror of lack of food, dysentery, weeks of living in filth, and foot ware so inadequate that your forced to endure soaking wet feet in subzero snow. It’s impossible for men to live through this without changes to the fragile psyche.
Strangely, I never felt connected to anyone in particular in this book. The cast of characters in this drama is huge, and it was incredibly hard for me to keep track of who was who. Some names stayed consistent throughout the book, but in a war, sadly, a lot of men get killed, so it seemed that every pause in the action meant that there were several fresh faces and names for the reader to assimilate. Again though, this wasn’t a detriment. Suffering is suffering, no matter whose name is attached to it.
Easy Company also plays a pivotal role in the eventual capitulation of Berlin in 1945. The European war is over, and the soldiers go way off the deep end with their alcohol intake and debauchery. Things get very uncomfortable in some circumstances. Too much whisky and guns don’t mix well. As I mentioned, though, such inhumane conditions cause one’s spirit to become tragically altered. Why should soldiers care about kicking a German family out of their house so they can live in relative comfort? Wherever this family ends up won’t be nearly as bad what they endured for months in a slimy fox hole. And it WAS their side that started the bleeding war. So….
I came away with tremendous respect for any solider that has ever been in combat. True, that respect has always been there for me, but when a tale is told with such gripping realism, it makes you appreciate the sacrifice all the more. Kudos, also, to Stephen Ambrose for telling the tale so well.
If you ever served in the military, you’ll recognize yourself and others in BAND OF BROTHERS; especially the officers. There are good officers, but it’s the bad officers that you never forget. Command leadership during wartime is difficult and unforgiving if an officer is not up to the task and does not have the respect of those under his command. BAND OF BROTHERS should be required reading at the military academies, ROTC classes, and OCS. The leadership of Major Dick Winters is what every officer should attempt to emulate.
BAND OF BROTHERS is unique because it gives the readers an insider’s look at the formation, organization, training, operation, tactics, leadership, comradeship, etc. of a small combat unit from its inception to the end of the war. BAND OF BROTHERS takes the reader on a very revealing three-year personal journey through World War 2. The PTSD that these men went through after World War 2 changed them forever. Stephen Ambrose gives closure to the book by telling what happened 50 years later to those who returned home.
BAND OF BROTHERS revealed to me that the movie “Saving Private Ryan” was based on Fritz Niland of the 101st Airborne Division who fought on D-Day. Niland’s two brothers died on D-Day and a third brother was presumed KIA in Burma (later found to be a POW). After the deaths of his brothers, Niland was ordered from combat and returned home.
Top reviews from other countries
***** Update. After reading some of the negative reviews on here I felt I had to comment. Yes its written by an American, so yes it very much has an American slant on both what "Easy" company did and about the whole war. To be honest as he was probably initially writing for American readers that is to be expected. I am sure the are inaccuracies in it as well, but then most history books the are, they are always a personal interpretation of the facts. If you truly want an accurate account of any historical time you need to read several books about the same subject and then can take an informed view about whats been written. Yes of course during the war thousands of men exhibited the same courage and determination, from the USA, UK, France and the Germans and other nations, but this book was just about one set of men "Easy" company from the USA.
Part of me wishes that this book was longer, that each of the Chapters contained multiple view points so that we might have gained more insight into what exactly happened . But realistically the approach used in this book is more than enough when combined with the Miniseries .
I have watched the series in excess of 15 times, met the actors at a reunion in Normandy, and followed some of their careers since BoB helped kick if off. I know chunks of the script by heart, but still found this book incredible as it goes into more detail and gives more facts than any tv series ever could.
Easy are among the heroes of WW2 from an incredible generation that will never have any come close in the future with the type of melts society produces now.
I thoroughly recommend this and the series to match