Band of Brothers

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Book cover of Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Book description

They fought on Utah Beach, in Arnhem, Bastogne, the Bulge; they spearheaded the Rhine offensive and took possession of Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden. Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Band of Brothers as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

My students always identify with the story of E Company and its march across northern France and into Germany. As part of the 101st Airborne Division, the members of E Company parachuted into France as part of the D-Day invasion and then participated in a failed attempt to cross quickly into Germany in Operation Market Garden. At the end of 1944, Germany attempted to break through allied lines in the Battle of the Bulge, with E Company engaged in the crucial battle for Bastogne. Finally, inside Germany, E Company helped in the assault on Hitler’s alpine retreat called Eagle’s…

The source material for the HBO miniseries and a fantastic glimpse at a unit that had a knack for being in the middle of some of the biggest parts of World War II in Europe. Easy Company gives us a front-line soldier’s look at D-Day, The Bulge, and even post-war life as they roll into the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain refuge. If the author is a bit of a cheerleader for “our guys,” he can be forgiven, I think, considering the extraordinary courage and sacrifice we witness on the part of the men of Easy Company.

Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers is the account of the men of a remarkable unit who fought, went hungry, froze, and died, a band that took 150 percent casualties and considered the Purple Heart an initiation. The book rests upon interviews Ambrose conducted with former members of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The interviews were conducted as part of a project to collect oral histories of D-Day for the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. Ambrose tells the stories of the survivors and fleshes out the soldiers' journals and letters, often in…

By focusing on the members of one company of parachutists, Ambrose gave life to the experiences of real human beings caught up in a war none of them wanted. As the dust-jacket copy says, “This is a story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated, 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.” This is the book that…

From Flint's list on D-Day airborne operations.

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