These critical reviews of Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose are pretty heavy artillery, and its worth noting that they’re savaging the book, not the subject. Easy Company 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was certainly a “Company of Heroes”, but then again, so were many other units.
My Great Uncle died at the Battle of St. Lo, and he was in a Tank Destroyer unit of the 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead!). Many other units went on the line on D-Day and never really left it, unlike Easy Company, which had two major “rest” opportunities. Again, this doesn’t diminish the personal heroism of those that served in Easy, but they didn’t necessarily have the hardest war, the highest casualties, or the best leadership among the many units that fought in the European Theater. What they did get was the attention of a “name brand” author, Stephen Ambrose, and these Scathing Reviews of Band of Brothers focus on the critics opinions of HIM, not the men of Easy:
Pure drivel. If one wishes the honest re-telling of history & not self-serving distortion or histrionic hyperbole, stay away from Stephen Ambrose. After reading a few of his books I crown him the Jackie Collins of historical fiction. Why one star? It’s the lowest rating they offer.
Mr. Ambrose barely gets the reader involved. His recounting of a heroic bayonet charge, or an assault down a fire swept causeway, gives the reader as much feeling for what it was like as me describing my breakfast with the phrase “I ate breakfast.”
…this poorly-researched book offers little more than the standard episode of the old TV series COMBAT! …Unfortunately from the viewpoint of historical accuracy, the book is hopelessly riddled with errors, exaggerations and vicious slander.
…and a hat tip to my favorite WWII movie, Battleground (1949):
If you would like to read a WW II novel about an airborne regiment written by the Easy Company Public Relations man, this is your book. I suggest saving your time, rent Battleground, and call it a day.