books Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest By Stephen E. Ambrose –

The take of Easy Company, 506 Airborne Division which became a movie staring Tim Hanks.A company who parachuted into the flooded fields of Northern France They lost many men on that morning of D Day Many were lost, far from their comrades They drown from the weight of their packs They became stuck in trees They were targeted by enemy fire.An incredible story, magnificently written.A true account of a division who lost many Starvation, exposure, and capture were rampant.They suffered 150 percent casualties Yet they continued with whatever mission was assigned They used clickers in order to locate anyone from their companies Often these ended in capture.This book uses the words of these men to pose the picture of battle on the western front There are real journal entries Their are interviews But most importantly, photography is included.Even though a movie was made, it cannot and never could compare to this incredible book by Stephan Ambrose.They carried on from Normandy to Hitler s Eagles nest With pride and dignity No complaints litter this book No laughter, no reminiscent stories We read only the true accounts of those brave men.An incredible literary achievement.A MUST READ. As Good A Rifle Company As Any, Easy Company, Th Airborne Division, US Army, Kept Getting Tough Assignments Responsible For Everything From Parachuting Into France Early DDay Morning To The Capture Of Hitler S Eagle S Nest At Berchtesgaden In Band Of Brothers, Ambrose Tells Of The Men In This Brave Unit Who Fought, Went Hungry, Froze Died, A Company That Took % Casualties Considered The Purple Heart A Badge Of Office Drawing On Hours Of Interviews With Survivors As Well As The Soldiers Journals Letters, Stephen Ambrose Recounts The Stories, Often In The Men S Own Words, Of These American HeroesForeword We Wanted Those Wings Camp Toccoa,Stand Up Hook Up Benning, Mackall, Bragg, Shanks, Duties Of The Latrine Orderly Aldbourne, Look Out, Hitler Here We Come Slapton Sands, Uppottery,Follow Me Normandy,Move Out Carentan, Healing Wounds Scrubbed Missions Aldbourne,Hell S Highway Holland, Island Holland, Resting, Recovering Refitting Mourmelon Le Grand,They Got Us Surrounded The Poor Bastards Bastogne,Breaking Point Bastogne, Attack Noville,Patrol Haguenau,Best Feeling In The World Mourmelon, Getting To Know The Enemy Germany,Drinking Hitler S Champagne Berchtesgaden,Soldier S Dream Life Austria, Postwar CareersAcknowledgments SourcesIndex Little good comes from war, however it does tend to create heros and leaders and show people how to love and depend upon their comrades The bonds built upon the catastrophic ruin that was World War II is the basis of Stephen E Ambrose s Band of Brothers.After watching the television miniseries a couple times through and really enjoying it for its humanity, I thought it was time I gave the book a go There isn t much difference between the two The timeline and events depicted in the series stay fairly true to the book, showing the birth of the legendary Easy Company as it goes through basic training, enters the war and fights through an almost endless array of seemingly impossible missions until the European theater came to a close Where the book and show differed was in the amount of detail and backstory that the book provided over the show It s not a lot of extra detail the stories of a few soldiers that had to be passed over for brevity s sake, as well as further personal details of the soldiers mainly focused upon but if you re a big fan of the show, you re a candidate to read Band of Brothers, an admirably penned work that squeezes what good it can out of some dark days indeed. How many historians does it take to write a bad book that translates into a great TV series While the deeds on Easy Company, encompassing the most famous American battles in the ETO, are a goldmine, mr Ambrose fails to preserve the thrill in print The participants don t come to life, even tough they are introduced with the standard sort of pre war bio in the body of the text and rounded up with a post war bio The heat of battle, ironically, is only felt in the icy cold of an Ardennes winterthey got through the Bulge because they had become a band of brothersWhat it has instead in abundance is an overkill of American gung ho As a companion to the series most post 2001 readers presumably watched it before turning to the book it barely manages to clarify or connect what the scenarists compressed or left out Does it do anything right Two things, perhaps People go in and out of focus as they are killed or transferred There is hardly a main cast that is in the thick of the fighting from Normandy to Berchtesgaden Winters was promoted to Batallion level, others take months to recover from wounds This feeling of blurry anonimity is best felt during basic training, when they re still jumps away from being anelite individual wearing Airborne wings Secondly, it shows that even the great WWII was ultimately only a few years out of a human lifespan of 70, albeit influential ones Some men made a military career that saw them in action in Korea and in command in Vietnam Many profited from the GI bill to pursue a college degree a succesful professional life, markedly within the fields of construction and teaching, which share a goal to improve people and the physical world they inhabit It s a noble sentiment On the other hand, some men closed the book on the army and did not stay in touch through veteran associations A few died bitter, a few let their demons pull the trigger.There is no Greatest Generation Only great people within a generation that took part in a large war And all the losers and assholes great people share every generation with as well as a draft And yes, that captain Sobel was one of those. This was so good Two thumbs up and a booya I d give it 6 stars if I could I saw the HBO series and loved it so I decided to read the book The book was great too because it gaveinformation on the war and the men involved If you have not seen the series, watch it Then you can call me and tell me how awesome I am for recommending it to you The really great thing about the show and the book is that it is not all about war It is the very accurately true story about the men of E company and the bonds they formed, and I m not even all about forming bonds with dudes. Rare indeed are the occasions in which I am forced to proclaim an adaptation of the source material to be not just superior, but vastly so And here we are, with me feeling duty bound do do exactly that Paratroopers of Easy Company, in the square of Sainte Marie du Mont, Normandy June 7, 1944 Let me be frank right at the start Ambrose s deficiencies on display as both a writer and historian are truly baffling to behold, and become glaringly obvious once one manages to detach these from the admittedly inspiring nature of the subject treated And that is in essence the problem, the dilemma if you will The only thing that does somewhat save this book IS the subject the story of the elite military outfit exclusively composed of volunteers of Easy Company, which played such a crucial part in the Western European theatre of war It performed the function of Johnny on the spot in the most significant operations during WW II D Day, Operation Market Garden, The Battle of the Bulge and, as icing on the cake, the capture of Hitler s own Eagle s Nest in Berchtesgarden They went through abject hell, suffered enormous casualties, and many who came out at the other end alive would remain scarred both physically as mentally Without such a grand tale to work with, I can t imagine Ambrose ever having gained the prominence that he had Naturally, it would be grossly unfair to him to put him down too severely He seems like a nice, decent man, and well meaning His effort in looking up surviving Easy Company men, interviewing them, and collating all that information was and remains invaluable What is irksome though is that I firmly believe someone else should have actually written this book A first obstacle is Ambrose s prose, which comes up short It s blunt, stilted, disjointed and lacking in elegance This becomes especially obvious whenever he quotes directly from one of the men of Easy Company, David Webster, a Harvard man and aspiring writer at that time Webster s prose is alive, vibrant and perceptive, unlike Ambrose s, which is just serviceable on the whole, and really quite terrible in certain passages Additionally, the book is bereft of any tension or drama It has no narrative momentum, no vividness How you don t manage to make this at least somewhat exciting, I have no idea As a great admirer and repeat rewatcher of the Hanks Spielberg helmed HBO miniseries, it was interesting to compare and contrast, but while going through the book a nagging thought kept interjecting why was this considered a great, universally acclaimed book even before the miniseries existed Am I living in an alternate dimension or something What am I missing Frightful experience, let me tell you And now we come to its value as a work of military history Ambrose was a historian in a professional capacity , arguably the most important element Again, not a pretty picture Hero worship, jingoism, inaccuracies, contrived extrapolations and conclusions riddle the text Ambrose s perspective is just far too skewed It reads like an officially sanctioned hagiography, which no self respecting historian should ever want to be associated with A suspicious hint of this is inadvertently given in the book s afterword would putting it in the foreword have scared off the serious military history enthusiastsI have circulated the manuscript of this book to the men of Easy Company I have received a great deal of criticism, corrections, and suggestions in return Winters and Lipton especially have gone through it line by line This book is, then, very much a group effortSo there we have it Gone is detached objectivity, relegated to a black hole of oblivion In fear of not wanting to offend his subjects one supposes, by then, having become his friends Ambrose gives way to their own vision of what his book should be, and compromises the integrity of the work as a result Unforgivable One other, final, thing that made me cringe was its pro war rhetoric, which I am particularly sensitive to Ambrose seems to have no problems with presenting a portrait of war as a somehow adventurous undertaking, where boys turn to so they can become real men Needless to say, this is a childish notion I m personally friends with a retired, very experienced paratrooper who was in Rwanda during the brutal 94 genocide, and I can t imagine him ever uttering such a foolish statement In fact, he would slap me to the head were I to do so And I wouldn t reproach him at all for it Dangerous sentiments of that kind have gotten a lot of young, naive boys needlessly killed since the dawn of humankind Not all is lost, however For those interested in the story of Easy Company , I would direct you to the excellent HBO miniseries and its poignant accompanying documentary if you have not already seen it, as there you can see and listen to these men describe their experiences directly A marked contrast with the soldiers described in the book In front of that camera they are somber, pensive, meditative Their sense of loss, pain and regrets patently noticeable by the catch in their voices, their revealing mannerisms It is an infinitelytouching, meaningful experience than the one Ambrose managed to deliver. The last few chapters were truly unbearable in their intensity As the soldiers discover for the first time what the real cost and cruelties of the war they fought was, we too are forced to try and understand this unimaginable thing called war that can never be understood even by the ones that fought in it, let alone by posterity looking back.There are some things in life that can only ever be expressed in one way silence a deep and anguished silence that cries primievally in disbeilieving defiance War a devastating but eerily beautiful thing that is an embodiment of the worst of mankind but still brings out the best in men.So much better than the TV series No timeline tricks, no visual trickery to distract you, but the pure unbridled horror of war and thrill of danger and strategy The book manages to take you into the thick of the action, into the ditches and the gun fire better than the show. FINAL REVIEW I was a little forgiving early but it got too much I have just had to write about a few of the many absurdities of this book 130 pages in and will finish this but if it does not improve it will be lucky to get a 2 star rating This author called the German soldiers Jerry, babbled about the British army taking tea and attempted to put on a affected accent On page 172 it reads The Germans managed to achieve surprise on a scale comparable with Barbarossa in June 1941 or Pearl Harbour Or and not put a date to Pearl Harbour Or even why put a date to Barbarossa Not trust your readers to know what Barbarossa was Easy Company is forgiven with a boys will be boys attitude when they have their leave pass s revoked for appalling behaviour, on the other hand others No such leeway Page 172 and 173 Apparently The surprise was achieved, like most surprises in war, because the offensive made no sense For Hitler to use up his armour in an offensive that had no strategic aim, and one he could not sustain unless his tankers were lucky enough to capture major American fuel dumps, was foolish.The surprise was achieved, like most surprise in war, because the defenders were guilty of gross over confident Later the American generals in the Allied camp had no experience of defending against a German offensive It gets worse Consider the above comments on the Battle of the Bulge and then later on page 191, after the Siege of Bastogne is broken we get lots of further Pop History for Patriots with some nonsense about the US army lacking man power because they did not raise enough Infantry Divisions to fight seemingly lavish deferments I kid you not by the Germans pre war in the areas of Industry and Farm Labour, and Fathers But previously he had praised Eisenhower who is nearly always referred to as Ike, nearly but not always who.blasted Hitler s assumptions by bringing into play his secret weapon Trucks and trailers over the still majority horse drawn German Army Ike ordered them to drop whatever they were doing and start hauling his reinforcements to the Ardennes We are reliably informed that the response was incredible It was mobility with a vengeance It actually reads as if he had ordered the trucks and trailers themselves the writing is that poor Back to the Pop history for Patriots on page 191 we then get that it was all a question of timing because..Monty, commanding the forces all American on the Northern shoulder of the bulge, stalled and shivered and made excuses, so it did not happen Contradictory statements and a poor delivery are making this one of the worst books I have ever read Did this really get such a high 4.1 rating here on Goodreads Is this how forgiving we are of so called popular history Page 181 The men looked like George Washington s army at Valley Forge, except that they were getting fired upon, had no huts, and warming fires were out of the question Page 182 The bullet his Gordon in the left shoulder Many of these errors Though instead of thought My copy of this absurd book is 9 years after release and all of these errors should have been corrected Did they not employ an editor Sergeant Christianson is called Christianson throughout except for a sentence on page 185 when twice he just becomes plain old Chris Page 205 Ambrose writes that The Germans sent over some mail This mail is in fact a shell and it is a dud Apparently Lipton just looked at it and Mann lit a cigarette Page 210 Ambrose writes Back in 42 the question was, Can a citizen army be prepared well enough to fight Germans in a protracted campaign in Northwest Europe Hitler was not the only one who answered no Also on Page 210 Ambrose writes At this moment Speirs arrived, breathless He managed to blurt out to Dike I m taking over Sergeant Lipton and others filled him in He barked out orders, 2d platoon this way, 3d platoon that way, get those mortars humping, all out with those machine guns, lets go And he took off, not looking back, depending on the men to follow They did I actually snorted out loud at this My snort then become uproarious laughter after No one could locate one guy especially, who had stopped movement at a corner with two hits Then Shifty Power, the man who spent so much of his youth spotting for squirrels in the upper tree trunks in the Virginia mountains, called out I see em and fired I suppose spotting for squirrels in the upper tree trunks in the Virginia mountains in your youth was bound to be useful for something one day and as Popeye Wynn made comment You know, it just doesn t pay to be shootin at Shifty when he s got a rifle Page 213 and Monty had apparently done a bit of shilly shallying but Eisenhower ordering Taylor to attack and then Taylor ordering the rather tired Easy Company to attack because of Eisenhower s order but because of the lack of troops due to there being no reserves because of limited mobilisation that caused there not being enough troops to go round Easy Company are paying the price Well something like that anyway Page 219 Ambrose writes of the victory of US forces over the Germans and at the end a long rambling rhetorical paragraph we learn that this victory was all a superb feat of arms The next line then states The Americans established a moral superiority over the Germans I would suggest that moral superiority over Nazism is a given prior to the war anyway To actually imply that this was only established after a victory late in the war is nonsensical This is one of the most idiotic points of view I have ever read in any book I have read about WW2 He has followed this up with moral superiority also being based on better methods in training, selection for command and democracy producing better soldiers than Nazi Germany Considering the authors willingness to make excuses for previous setbacks this is just hypocritical Also recall that at this point in time Nazi Germany was also fighting on the eastern front as well as in Italy In fact it was being beaten by a Stalinist regime on the eastern front that Ambrose could hardly consider Moral or Democratic But if the truth be told the less than moral and hardly democratic Stalinist regime made a larger contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany than any other Allied nation Lets just say that what Ambrose has written is possibly debatable He actually kills off any point in his absurd Moral superiority nonsense in the next paragraph alone by forgetting what he had previously written He supports this Moral superiority by quoting Sergeant Rader who says I almost killed a Kraut prisoner for laughing at me after I got to the town, only to have someone grab my M 1 and shout Sarge, he has no lips or eyelids He lost them on the Russian front, frozen off This is an absurd analogy Sergeant Rader admits that he would have killed the prisoner if not for the missing lips and eyelids In fact it took a comrade to take the M 1 off him to stop the possible killing of the prisoner Add to this that Ambrose had previously discussed the killing of German POW s AND one member of the company, Liebgott if I recall, was kept away from prisoners because he could not contain himself I would like to make it clear that I make no judgement as to the rights or wrongs of Easy Company, Ike Monty , General Taylor or military tactics etc I do make a judgement on Stephen E Ambrose ability as a historian This is an appalling book Easily one of the worst history books I have ever read In fact forget history alone as a subject, this is one of the worst books I have read period I am genuinely staggered as to how this book is popular Maybe the TV series Many relate to the characters portrayed, visualise them Is that it Interestingly I have wondered if it was just me that found this all too much That I was missing something and that it was really a good book and I was just being too picky I decided to research this book a bit further and there are accusations of plagiarism Some have done deeper research into the specifics of Easy Company at war and there are seemingly many mistakes made by Ambrose to be pointed out It seems that at aacademic level, shall we say, there are some who are very uncomfortable with what is presented in this book I for one am not surprised I am no historian, a lay reader only with a general love of history With that in mind if someone as far down the food chain such as myself can spot an utter lack of objectivity, to say the very least, those with farability than me will be able to tear this book to shreds and tear it to shreds some have done Rightfully so I say I have about 100 pages to go and will finish it I suppose having not seen the TV series except for the first two episodes I want to know what happens I also have Ambrose s D day book and am considering reading it as a form of personal mental torture side by side with another D Day book, maybe Beevor s, just to compare I am not going to write any about the content of this book All I can do is warn reader beware The word appalling hardly does justice to this abysmal piece of work I am giving this a begrudging 1 star, if I could give it less I would. Ambrose s Band of Brothers is probably the best ever true WW2 novel I have ever read It makes an excellent vacation read for those who enjoy this genre It deals with the individual men of Easy Company, 506 PIR, 101st Airbourne Division Through Ambrose s portrayal of the men s lives and ordeals he shows how a group of men become not just pals, but brothers we see the formation of the company through training then on to D Day, Holland, Bastogne, Germany and Austria The ending of the novel Not to give too much away is possably, for some, a very emotional and powerful closing to the book I would highly recommend it to all. I m shocked to learn that Ambroses taught history The military history analysis is pretty poor to appalling He s good when he talks about Easy Company and relates stories Though he states that the book is very much a group effort with the men from E Company, so how much of that credit goes to them is anybody s guess, and some events were anonymised and possibly left out to protect people Whenever he attempts military analysis of the actual way battles, his thoughtless MURRIKA propaganda grates like hell His core thesis appears to be that democratic soldiers what he terms citizen soldiers necessarily outfight those under fascist totalitarian systems which obviously flies in the face of the fact that it was the Red Army that broke Nazi Germany s back not exactly a democratic system to be found anywhere Not a hint of irony or awareness in his thesis I guess it would wrinkle his propaganda too much.What I found interesting was the amount of looting and casual violence in Germany, which gels with other sources I ve read What I found eveninteresting is how Ambrose condemns Germany s mistreatment of people, but totally excuses similar behaviour from his subjects looting for fun and profit, shooting of unarmed, surrendered POWs Not a hint of applying the same critical measurement to all sides.Ambrose nicely feathers his wooden, lacklustre account with liberal quotes from a number of decent to good military historians who are farinsightful than he is such as Keegan.Overall, the show does a great job putting all this on the screen, so you can skip the book What the show left out it usually left out for good reasons I read this book for any gems that were left by the wayside, but it s not worth it, in my opinion.The has another big flaw that rankles me especially All the German is wrong misspelled If you can t be bothered to get it right, just leave it out Parading around badly spelled, agrammatical German is doing nobody any favours.I m giving further books of his a pass.