BAND OF BROTHERS by Stephen E. Ambrose


E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
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With his multivolume biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon now complete, Ambrose (History/Univ. of New Orleans) returns to military affairs (Pegasus Bridge, 1985, etc.) with this spirited account of one of the Army's crack WW II units. The 101st Airborne was "the most famous and admired of all the eighty-nine divisions the United States Army put in the Second World War," Ambrose notes. One unit in the "Screaming Eagles," Easy Company, was an elite group of paratroopers, self. confident survivors of a grueling physical regimen, adept in the use of weapons, and ready to fight for each other to the death. Ambrose traces how the group's esprit de corps was molded in boot camp under a martinet commander, then at Normandy's Utah Beach, in the disappointing Arnhem campaign in the Netherlands, in the Battle of the Bulge, and in the triumphant liberation of Hitler's Bavarian lair. Ambrose's writing style has all the elegance of a Sherman tank, but it really doesn't matter: the story of this company is riveting. The author captures many of the representative moments in a WW II soldier's career: the fear that, under some of the most intense shelling of the war, one may he approaching a breaking point; the suffering of freezing overnight in a foxhole while going hungry and without a bath in days; the elation of survival and success; disgust with commanders either inept or arbitrary; and a sense of brotherhood like that felt with nobody else in life. Hard-nosed, yet ultimately a celebration of grace under pressure in "the Good War."
Pub Date: June 1st, 1992
ISBN: 074322454X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992


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