Anyone hooked on Stephen Ambrose's HBO series, "Band of Brothers," won't want to miss these stories from the 506th Parachute Infantry. The author interviewed 20 surviving members of Easy Company, and their remembrances of WWII combine in an audio collage of the men's backgrounds, training, transport, combat, homecoming, and lives after the war. George Wilson distinguishes the men with varying accents, tone, and pacing. He melds their individual stories into a blend that flows easily, with each voice and description contributing to an authentic picture of what the war felt like to the men who fought it. For the most part, the men record their memories without emotion, but Wilson conveys the tension, loss, and camaraderie on and off the battlefield.
Here, revealed for the first time, are stories of war, sacrifice, and courage as experienced by one of the most revered combat units in military history. In We Who Are Alive and Remain, 20 men who were there and are alive today - and the families of three deceased others - recount the horrors and the victories, the bonds they made, the tears and blood they shed, and the brothers they lost.
©2009 Marcus Brotherton; (P)2009 Tantor
If you're an avid Easy Company reader and you've read everything else, you'll find a few nuggets buried in this work. It was pleasant hearing about the familiar places again: Curahee, Foy, Carentan and the rest. The author describes this work as his effort to give a voice to every soldier who was on the Easy Company roster whose stories have not been told. To use a baseball analogy, if you're a big fan of a World Series winning team, you might want to know the first hand stories of everyone who was on the roster during the season, regardless of how brief or how uninteresting, but chances not. That is what the author has done here, in the form of first-person responses to his questions. But rather than hearing their own voices, those voices are narrated in about 20 or so different accepts. The narration by George K. Wilson is brilliant, but the overall effect is a bit ridiculous. At the end of the book, there are a few interviews with children of Easy Company soldiers recalling their fathers. The interview with Herbert Sobel's son is very interesting and revealing and I gave this review one extra star just for that interview. If you haven't read Band of Brothers, this book is definitely not for you. Otherwise, read any or all of the other good biographies of Easy Company soldiers, including the book by the same author on Lt. Buck Compton, before reading this book.
It's important to realize that this is a collection of short interviews of different men who served in Easy Company, rather than one continuous narrative.
While fragmented, considered as a whole, with other related material, this fills some interesting gaps.
I wouldn't recommend starting with it, but it is worth a listen to anyone interested in learning more, after seeing the miniseries, or reading other related works.
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