Monday, May 7, 2018

Leading the Band of Brothers

Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick WintersBeyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters by Dick Winters
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Major Dick Winters was a diligent soldier, caring humanitarian and just who you'd want to lead a troop of men into the worst of war zones.

He is most well-known from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks' World War II miniseries Band of Brothers, which dramatized the valiant efforts of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division from D-Day through to the end of the European stage of the war.

Major Winters' memoir takes a brief glance at his youth before diving headlong into his time with the army and his involvement in WWII. It finishes just as briefly, rounding out his post-war career and retirement, with a coda comprising some of the leadership topics he lectured upon for audiences towards the end of his life.

Winters' friend, the historian Stephen E. Ambrose wrote a great book about Easy Company's accomplishments. It takes a broad view of the war and the company as a whole. Then there are memoirs by other company members, such as non-commissioned officer Sergeant Donald G. Malarkey, which focuses much more on the men, their personalities and individual achievements. Winter's book is somewhere in between.

Beyond Band of Brothers is an officer's look at the war, and a very competent officer he was! The prose is soldierly efficient. Winters lavishes praise upon the men he served with and only occasionally he is critical. You can tell how damn proud he was to serve with these men, even when he's not flat out telling you.

I've watched the miniseries a number of times. I've read a few books about this company. I know the men's names. I know their faces. It is truly amazing what the went through. I'll always be thankful.

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