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The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2003
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“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.”
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.”
“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
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by Belton Y. Cooper
True Tales of Combat and Adventure
by Richard C. Kirkland
WOODBINE RED LEADER
A P-51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater
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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?"
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Top Customer Reviews
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...
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!
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.
The Deadly Brotherhood is definitely worth a read with respect to the fighting conditions of the soldiers. I didn't find the book to be a "page turner" but it was an interesting and different view of the war.