Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.
They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.
From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. 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.
Ambrose ( Pegasus Bridge ) narrates in vivid detail the adventures, misadventures, triumphs and tragedies of a single U.S. Army infantry company over its span of organizational life. Formed in July 1944 and deactivated in November 1945, E Company was one of the most successful light infantry units in the European theater. Its troops saw their first action on D-Day behind the Normandy beachhead, took part in Operation Market Garden in Holland, held the perimeter around Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and were the first to reach Hitler's Bavarian outpost at Berchtesgaden. The book is enlivened with pertinent comments by veterans of ``Easy Company,'' who recall not only the combat action but their relations with their officers (one company commander was a petty tyrant of the worst type, but his oppressive ways had much to do with the unit's impressive esprit de corps ) and their impressions of the countries through which they campaigned (hated the French, loved the Germans). This is a terrific read for WW II actions buffs. Photos. Military Book Club main selection; Literary Guild alternate.
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In Their Memory
You owe it to yourself and to these brave men to read this book. Get to know the men of Easy Company, remember their sacrifice, and honor their memory.
An extraordinary read
This was a great, fascinating telling of some of the USA's greatest heroes... It is thrilling, frightening and touching in parts.
More importantly it introduces us to men we have mostly now lost to old age, when they experienced three amazing years, volunteering to serve their country and watching each other's backs. The only regret I have have after reading this is that I cannot thank most of the men in this book (and believe me I'd love to send a number of letters) because I discovered their story too late. But I can at least carry the memories of what they did for me, you and our great nation forward. I'm in the debt of their service, and the great service done by the author in telling their story so it isn't lost to the ages.
The Band of Brothers HBO miniseries led me to this book; both the TV eppisodes and the books are extraordinary and highly recommended.
Thank you Easy Co., for your service and sacrifice in WWII!
Great book well recommend
Read this when I was 13, after watching band of brothers in 2010. I can't explain this, this book is amazing. Mr. Winters was a great leader and this book just proves it. It is a small thank you for what these men went through to protect something bigger than them. I love this book and the miniseries. Read this if you love world war II or history at all. You won't regret it!