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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2003
I picked this up and read it in what seemed like an hour, but it was a very uneasy experience. The simple matter of fact presentation belies the fact that this book is packed to bursting with physical and psychological terror, told through the eyes of a 19-year old American farm boy thrust into the vanguard of the Normandy Invasion in 1944.
The book covers the period from his induction into the new paratroop regiment to the end of his fighting in Normandy through injury. The initial phase of his training outlines the brutal training regime and vividly illustrates the "who cares?" attitude of all involved. (for example, when he breaks his leg in a training jump, he is left to crawl home on his own)and then the initial deployment to England for further training. The whole exercise is enjoyed by the young recruits as if it was a big outward bound course, and the ironic detachment of the young men is illustrated when they witness a German torpedo attack on their own ships - they cheer the Germans for their audacity as they watch the ships sinking.
The entire first half portrays the process whereby the young men are violently reduced to a point of blind obedience and conditioned responses - they pass their spare time playing dangerous practical jokes on each other, and going into town to have violent fights with rival regiments and the military police; failing that they fight with each other.
The last half of the book concerns the actual combat experience, and it is a visceral and graphic account of the horrors of war. Even so, the narrator's over-riding characterisation of himself and his friends always seems to be the desire to do a good job, and not let the side down, even to the detriment of their humanity.
Burgett's accounts of the actual order of battle are not particularly clear, but his descriptions of individual events are terrifyingly vivid. He particularly brings to life the sounds and smells of the battlefield as much as the sights. If you want to know what combat is like, read this. If you want to find out how soldiers function under such circumstances, read this. It will probably shake every stereotype you have been exposed to before.
It also stands as witness testimony to the criminal acts of war, and the inevitable consequences of forcing soldiers and civilians alike to share in such numbing violence and brutality as should be experienced in any number of lifetimes. Yep - this is war!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A book which concentrates on one member and his friends of the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day and the following 6 days of chaos,determination and savage fighting.
This is a story of one man from the day he joins this unit, through the training in The States, billeting in England and then finally the drop into action.
It is very much a personal account and his memories recall stories of humour,heroism,sacrifice and graphic portrayals of the real horror of war. The latter point is most exemplified at one point in the book where they are attacking across an open field and his friend running near him is hit by a shell which removes the top half of his body, leaving the legs to run on for a few more steps !
A book which I could not put down and would thoroughly recommend to anyone who is interested in personal accounts of this period in our history.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2003
This is a fabulous memoir of one man's WW2 service from his training to his homecoming after the final victory. If you enjoyed reading and watching 'Band of Brothers' then this is a must. It recalls 'A' Company, 1st Bn 506 PIR through their war service. This first book is an action packed account of D-Day and the weeks of fighting which followed. It is an honest, violent account which, although obviously a memoir, reads and flows like a novel. It is NOT a book about how the Americans won the war but a story of international brothers in arms. I could not put it down and went on to read the rest of the books. I'm sure you will too.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2006
An excellent book that I was unable to put down once started. Burgett tells it how it was for a young paratrooper in Normandy. Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2009
I am sorry to admit that only came across this book after having read Band of Brothers when it first came out.This book knocks spots off Band Of Brothers any other Airborne memoir.Please read the other books by Mr Burgett, they are just as good, if not better.Mark Bandos books on the 101st are equally superb and well worth a read,its a pity he has had not had the recognition he deserves.If you find Mr Bandos web-site you will be rewarded by many pictures of Mr Burgett looking at least 20 years younger than his real age!Another good read is Gregory Orfaleas book on the 551st Parachute Infantry Regiment and Fighting with the Screaming Eagles by Robert Bowen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2005
Extraordinary story of personal and unit heroism. With men like this how can you lose
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on 5 November 2014
What a book. As an avid reader of non-fiction WWII era books and the more modern Iraq/Afghan books, I am always looking for an account that really places you there, living and breathing the action and drama. Burgett does that is spades, partly due to his almost nonchalant attitude to the whole thing. They were there to do a job and they got on with it.

What he does so well is provide really good (and sometimes distressing) detail, but not in a glory seeking or headline grabbing way. He is almost casual in his descriptions and feelings towards what he saw. Apart from the gripping descriptions of battle, what he sees, smells and thinks, along with the imense sense of purpose, really gives you a pretty raw account of war on the front-line.

For those of you who want to read between the lines a bit more, you see Burgett change from a teenager with no fear, to a battle hardened paratrooper, detached almost from reality, with only really one mantra; kill or be killed.

The book gives a great insight into the comradery with his fellow 'troopers and the whole Band of Brothers analogy. They really would die for each other. Some of the descriptions of what Burgett saw (and did) are so graphic and almost unbelieveable, you end up reading it 2 or 3 times just so that it can sink in.

This book does not glorify war, there are no egos in play. It simply shows how dirty, messy and disorganised war can be. There are no real `winners` and on both sides people suffer. It's a gripping read and makes me grateful for the sacrifices that people made and the fact it should never happen again in my lifetime.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2000
Curahee is a great book, iif your looking for an accounting of the Battle of Normandy. This book is also very entertaining. I couldn't put it down until I fell asleep. This book lets you know about real characters, and creates a realistic environment. Donald did a fine job of reccolecting is memories on to paper.If I could I would give this book ten stars.
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on 20 March 2013
I really don't know what to make of Donald Burgett! Once I had started reading I could hardly put the book down and it was an unbelieveable read. The brutality of the battle of Normandy I have read about before and it is at its sharpest here. However, the way the author writes almost matter of fact about 17 comrades who died in a plane crash in training (a plane he would have been aboard but for injury)was a shock. I could not help wondering how brutalised his training had made him? Given the accidents the author had in training and the many narrow escapes he had in Normandy, I have no idea how he survived! Just one of the lucky ones I guess?

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to read one of his books, the rest will follow soon.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2007
After reading many books on the Airborne this books stands out way ahead of the rest.

It makes you feel that you are there in the thick of it.

Just gets better every time I read it.

The remaning books in the collection are also very good.

Mark Brothers. UK.
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