I am currently hooked on to books and Movies which have World War II as their central theme. And when we talk about World War II, how can we forget the book 'Band of Brothers' written by Stephen Ambrose.
The book is an International Bestseller in which the author pays tribute to the men of Easy Company, a rifle company which is part of the 506th Parachute Regiment , 101st Airborne Division of U.S. Army. Easy Company along with Dog, Fox and Battalion HQ companies made up the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
The book starts with the rigorous training of 140 men and seven officers at Camp Toccoa, Georgia who are part of the Easy Company in the summer of 1942. They came from all walks of life and all corners of the country. The book describes the intense training to toughen up the soldiers.What made their bond strong was a intense desire to kill Germans and do their country proud.
By late spring of 1944 Easy Company had become an elite company of airborne light infantry. They saw their first combat action on early morning of D-DAY (Day when Allied forces landed on Normandy beach in France).
The book covers the epic journey of this company from training in Georgia to the dangerous parachute jump on D-Day to the fierce Battle of Bastogne (a town in France) where the company came under heavy fire from Germans. Lying in the cold and freezing weather in the forest at Bastogne was the breaking point for the entire company. The sense of brotherhood in difficult times and to see your friends die under enemy fire was the toughest test which the company had to withstand. They lived and suppressed feelings which were always there, fear of dying, fear of wounds, fear of putting the lives of your men in danger. They saw their officers break down, strong men who were trained to lead.
The Epic journey continues after capturing Bastogne onwards into Germany and finally to 'Hitler's Eagle's Nest' in Berchtesgarden. The Author has interviewed many survivors of Easy company and the entire book is filled with narrations from the soldiers. The entire story moves on the recollection of these men which is interspersed through out the book.
The Author describes these soldiers as breathing, living humans with their prejudices and short comings. Though they come across as heroes, you can always see the frailty and human emotions which makes the book such a wonderful read.
Stephen Ambrose has written a wonderful book, a piece of history which we all must read. He has given us the opportunity to peek into the life of soldiers and how life was during World War II. The sacrifices made by Easy company were tremendous and I salute them.
Mini Series Review
For all those people who would rather see it than read the book, HBO has made the book into a 10 part mini series which is produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
I saw the series first and then read the book. The series is a must see, it has been shot very realistically. You become a part of Easy Company and identify with the men. The series has followed the book to a T. Every part starts off with the surviving members of Easy Company describing the events in their own words and then series continues.
A must see TV series for all the movie buffs and people who enjoy watching history unfold in front of their eyes.