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The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Gripping . . . These men were common warriors who fought with uncommon courage and thus shaped the destiny of our great nation.”
—FORMER SENATOR BOB DOLE


“A RIVETING AND EXTREMELY WELL-RESEARCHED ANALYSIS OF THE VIOLENT WORLD FACED BY THE AMERICAN GI DURING WORLD WAR II . . . Anyone who wishes to understand the experience of our citizen army of fifty years ago should read this book. Highest recommendation.”
—ERIC BERGERUD
Author of Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific

“Do you want to know what the World War II foot soldier felt and how he fought? What he ate and how he liked it? What his life was like during periods he was not in combat? The Deadly Brotherhood goes a long way towards answering such questions. . . . Each chapter contains a wealth of supporting comments. This approach produces an extreme degree of authenticity. . . . This fine book provides a comprehensive understanding of a World War II infantryman’s troubles and travails.”
—Military Review

“An exciting, moving book told in the words of those men who actually fought the enemy face-to-face on the front lines—the infantry, combat engineers, armor, and Marines; those unfortunate souls for whom war was a minute-by-minute struggle against terrifying odds.”
—E. B. SLEDGE
Author of With the Old Breed


Look for these thrilling books of American heroism at war

DARBY’S RANGERS
We Led the Way
by William O. Darby
with William H. Baumer

DEATH TRAPS
The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II
by Belton Y. Cooper

WAR PILOT
True Tales of Combat and Adventure
by Richard C. Kirkland

WOODBINE RED LEADER
A P-51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater
by George Loving

From the Inside Flap

In his book "Men Against Fire, [historian S. L. A.] Marshall asserted that only 15 to 25 percent of American soldiers ever fired their weapons in combat in World War II. . . .
Shooting at the enemy made a man part of the "team," or "brotherhood." There were, of course, many times when soldiers did not want to shoot, such
as at night when they did not want to give away a position or on reconnaissance patrols. But, in the main, no combat soldier in his right mind would have deliberately sought to go through the entire ear without ever firing his weapon, because he would have been excluded from the brotherhood but also because it would have been detrimental to his own survival. One of [rifle company commander Harold] Leinbaugh's NCOs summed it up best when discussing Marshall: "Did the SOB think we
"clubbed the Germans to death?"
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; New edition edition (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891418237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891418238
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chad R. Reihm on October 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Despite what other reviewers may have said, I believe this is a much needed addition to any WWII library. Overall 'The Deadly Brotherhood' is a well written book that contains almost everything you need to know about a GI's life during WWII.

The book is divided into sections that discuss a variety of topics from a GI's food and weapons to what it was like to actually face a german tank with a rifle or see 10 screaming japanese running at you with bayonets fixed. It discusses things that most WWII writers assume you already know...For example what is the difference between a C,K, and D ration or between a Schu mine and a bouncing betty? How was the army organized and what exactly are the different types of weapons the GI used? What was the difference between combat in the Pacific and in Germany? Questions such as these and more are answered. True, for the seasoned WWII reader much of this will be common sense knowledge, but for those who want to understand the basics of combat infantry during WWII, this book is for you.

Most importantly, the author tries to stay out of the way and let the vet talk. Most of the book is a comment by the author followed by the quote of a veteran, so you get to hear many stories told here for the first time.

Once again, a great addition to your library...
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Format: Paperback
This book focuses on the World War II infantry soldier. McManus does a great job of balancing facts, context, and individual soldiers' memories of the war, including excellent presentations on soldiers' food, equipment, weapons, fighting conditions, attitudes, leadership, and motivation -- not to mention a detailed refutation of a "scholarly" study of how most soldiers avoided combat.
Now, as one reviewer said, if you've read 100 books on World War II, everything you read on the same subject has some repetition to it. But if you've only read 20 or 25 books, like me -- or if this is going to be your first book on World War II -- this book will be well worth reading.
McManus especially manages to convey that American soldiers were effective and proud, while staying away from the "American soldiers do no wrong and defeat every enemy" fallacy, and avoiding portraying combat as something glorious.
The passages on fatalism were well-done, as soldiers realized that the probable outcomes for them consisted of getting killed, wounded, or captured. Wounding was preferable. One soldier writes, "My glove was blown off and a big spurt of blood reddened the white snow.... I could not believe this had happened to me. I was not meant to be shot. Acceptance came slowly as two medics worked on me. My thoughts turned to good thoughts. I was still alive. I should have been killed. I was OK and I was getting out of this frozen hell." And another soldier reports, "Sgt Glisch came walking by me, heading rearward. There was a hole in his helmet and blood running down his face -- a face that was covered with a boyish grin. That million dollar wound! I felt left out, and wished I had a bullet through an arm or a leg."
If you're interested in human nature, US history, psychology, conflict, armed conflict, warfare, and/or World War II, this is a great book!
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By A Customer on March 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Deadly Brotherhood examines the role of the infantryman in WW2. In a fairly readable volume, McManus shows us what the average "dogface" went through in the war, in both theaters.
What motivates a man to suffer deprivation upon deprivation, then rise out of his foxhole, advance 20, 30, maybe hundreds of yards, under fire, seeking out the enemy soldiers who have been suffering similar deprivations? We who weren't there will certainly never know, but McManus has provided us with a very readable book that examines that question. I think anyone interested in the infantry's role in WW2 will find this book worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover
There is no fault to find with the personal stories of the combat veterans. The author makes a mistake on page 132 when he says that there were sizeable U.S. surrenders to the Germans at Elsenborn Ridge. He is likely thinking of the surrender of the 106 Div. during the battle of the bulge. The Elsenborn Ridge was held against the Germans by the 99th Div. and there was no surrender.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is well written and though provoking. Though this book is not written as a first-hand account,(it tells the stories of many) it is detailed and interesting. Though some think it's uninteresting, this book is not for entertainment, but more for the study of the American combat soldier in WWII. There are funny stories and compelling truths about the grunts who fought in Europe and the Pacific. McManus is one of the professors at my University and teaches a few courses about combat soldiers. He really knows his stuff and this book shows it! I also met a man who was quoted several times in the book, and McManus portrayed him perfectly! For anyone who is truly interested in more than just the story of a few soldiers, this book is a must read!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
With so many thousands of books published on WW2, it's very rare to find something that sticks out from the bunch. This book is one of those books. With detailed looks from soldiers; lives during the war, this book is an interesting read. It is on par with the HBO Band of Brothers television shows, and if you liked those shows, then you will like this book. Not the best book on the subject, but one of the better ones I've read in a long, long time.
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