From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.
They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.
They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.
This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal -- it was a badge of office.
Having watched the Band of Brothers series 11 years ago, I was delighted to find that Stephen Ambrose wrote a complementary book to the TV series.
This is an awesome read (with a great audiobook narrator) about a specific remarkable paratrooper company and their journey through World War II from training through to taking Hitler's Eagle Nest. It provides a good balance of in the moment battle description and a sobering look at the war and it's effect on the men's lives.
Turns out the author is the same guy who was interviewed 30 years earlier in World at War on the BBC (best doc series on World War II hands down)! I thought he was pretty awesome then and still is now.
Keep in mind though that it's easy to tell he is very pro-American, and subtly puts the American solider on a higher plane than all others. I don't think this is intentional, I believe he genuinely feels that way, and it doesn't get in the way of the narrative too much except to make it feel a little unreal at times....Continua
I was mostly disappointed by the narrative choices of the writer. What these great men did is still great, but the tv show accomplished to both summarize and bring out their heroism in a way that the book doesn't. Honestly, I don't give a crap about all that military crap, and there's too much of it for me to stand it beyond page 106....Continua
... you will love this book! I'm a big fan of Ambrose and this is one of his finest. All the greatness, as well as the flaws, of this exceptional group of WWII warriors is here, just more in depth. Through the writer's exceptional skill, you will come away from this experience feeling as though you have known these men personally....Continua
Fascinating. The HBO special was a good watch as well.