- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 37 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: March 9, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007IUNRT6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
The HBO TV Series follows the sequence and key events, actions, emotions of the book very accurately. So if you like the series then the book will not disappoint but add greater depth and understanding. Having watched and enjoyed the series twice, some of the scenes that I thought were 'dramatised' for good TV - were revealed in the book as fact, it happened etc which made the book worth its weight in gold.
Overall it is a great book and an amazing story, crafted by a master story-teller!
Stephen Ambrose tells the remarkable true story of E Company, just such a group of guinea pigs. E Company fought with distinction at Normany and in Holland, plugged a key gap in the Battle of the Bulge, and was in on the rather haphazard, MASHian ramsacking of the remains of Hitler's little paradise in the Bavarian clouds.
The heart and soul of E Company was Dick Winters, a soft-spoken, teatotalling (NOT the norm) and kindly CO who works his way up to major by war's end, and who had the occasional Seargent York / Incredible Hulk moments, when Germans fall to the dozen. But after Winters has been promoted out of (much) direct action, Ambrose's spotlight falls more commonly upon the NCOs who provide the backbone of the company from the Battle of the Bulge on. Ambrose sugar-coats nothing: he relates acts of cruelty, drunken folly (too many to count), random acts of fate, and sheer stupidity, injustice, corruption (the front-line troops were robbed blind, and they robbed the locals), and incompetence. Though I have to say, Winters is the only character who really comes alive for me, along with a young writer from Harvard who refuses to be promoted, but does his job and writes competently about what he sees. (I think Ambrose exagerates his talent a bit, but that's fine -- he was at the right place at the right time with a competent pen, that's good enough.) Also Lieutenant Sobel, the hard-case CO against whom the troops rebel, and who gets left behind in England, and grows bitter. The others have their moments on stage, exit left, and are gone. By the end of the book, it's a bit hard to keep track. One comes to realize that with its high casualty and replacement rate, Company E has pretty much replaced all its original cells and we're talking about a new group of men almost entirely.
Ambrose was not, in my opinion, a great styllist. I was reading Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff at the same time I read this, and there is no comparison. Wolfe is truly brilliant. What Ambrose succeeds at most remarkably, is his act of historical reconstruction. This book involved interviewing survivors of E Company on or about 1990, some 45+ years after the fact, along with relentless gathering, reading, and sifting of written reports.
As an historian of religion, I found the undeniable success of Ambrose's methodology particularly interesting. Some skeptics claim that the human memory is too frail a reed, too unreliable and suggestible, for historical reports written decades after the fact to be trustworthy. I think Ambrose shows them wrong. Given that the gospels were written under somewhat similiar circumstances -- 35-60 years after the fact, based apparently on the eyewitness testimony of many once young men (mostly) who had traveled together for a few years and experienced and witnessed traumatic and remarkable events -- I think Ambrose's success (despite occasionally contradictory sources) should give those skeptics pause.
Read the book, and experience World War II from the front lines, as it was really fought. (Without needing to sleep in frozen foxholes with artillery rounds blowing up trees over your head.) Highly recommended. (Along with Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff.)