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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 25 April 2004
I thorough recommend anyone who has read Band of Brothers to read thisbook. Band of Brothers whilst an excellent book was put together from thememories of those who served in Easy Company some 50 years after the endof the war, and interpreted by American patriot Stephen Ambrose who onoccasion lapses into dewy-eyed romanticism. Webster's book was written inthe early 1950's from his personal memories and using his own letters andis a more raw account than the often rose-tinted spectacle served up bythe TV series. Webster tells it like it is, fully admitting his fear ofbattle and hatred of life as a soldier. It is as fresh and a sobering aread as anything written today.
I don't know why in the last episode of Band of Brothers when describingwhat each soldier went on to do no mention was made of Webster writingthis book. If they had it would provide a facinating reference for fans ofthe series and another perspective on the experiences of the 101st.Perhaps there lies the answer.
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on 10 January 2017
I have been an avid reader of all things connected with "Band of Brothers" since the TV series came out. And now, here is where it all began.

I do not think that David Webster is given his proper dues in either the TV series or Ambrose's book but when I read this I can see where it all came from. Webster wrote this shortly after he experienced everything that was going on. There was no looking back in later years and possibly revising thoughts about actions.

Webster wrote this book when it was all "fresh" and untainted by modern thinking. Some of the things he writes of will possibly not go down too well with some "lovers" of Band of Brothers", but to me, it is definitely all grist to the mill. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, who knows?) the man could never have the chance to revise his original story for he met with a very sad fate at sea.

Having read and re-read both David Webster's story and Major Dick Winters, my honest opinion is that Webster gets much nearer to the thoughts and feelings of the men on the front line.
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on 27 November 2015
This book is excellent if read in it’s true context.

To imply that Webster was not a “soldier of any distinction” is, in my opinion, unfair. It must be remembered that (at the time) this “boy” was only 22 years of age.

I don’t believe that he avoided his duties, as anyone else in the same situations that he found himself in would have most likely felt the same way, that is the urge or desire to survive, that is probably an emotion felt by most human beings faced with war and the possibility of being killed at any moment.

The instincts and feelings of many boys or young men sent, whether voluntary or not to war, in whatever year or time are similar, take for example a more recent memoir, Blood Trails: The Combat Diary of a Foot Soldier in Vietnam by Christopher Ronnau. Reading this it becomes clear that even with prior training, nothing can truly prepare a person for real combat and, when seen through the eyes of the people going through these new, totally alien and sometimes traumatic experiences it is not surprising that self preservation and fear become part of the experience.

It is easy to sit in an armchair and read a book, and then pass comment, especially on another persons fear or trepidation. I would speculate that if it were you being parachuted into a hostile environment with the other side intent on killing you, you would also experience fear and trepidation, not everyone is a brave super hero, many young men went to war to do their duty, and as far as I can see, Webster did it.

Would you, for example (pages 92 & 129) relish running towards a suspected enemy position, across open ground, knowing that if the enemy were to open fire on you the most likely outcome would be that you were wounded or killed? In my opinion this is true bravery and also the carrying out of duty as a soldier is expected to do.

As for the criticisms of Webster’s attitude and, for example, holding up the rest of the company on one occasion by taking his time, well Webster had time and time again experienced his superiors ordering them at the double, to comply, and then to be left standing around doing nothing or being told to stand down again.

When it was necessary to act with speed he did so (page 161) which shows that this intelligent man knew when delay did not matter and when it did.

So, after experiencing and surviving bombardment by artillery and many other combat experiences would you not express feelings of (pages 210 - 212) being grateful to be alive?

You have to understand the feelings and thoughts of this young person in combat and put them into perspective, (page 220) gives an explanation of his general attitude and it clearly shows intelligence on his part.

And, again, yes, without doubt, a brave man, (page 249) where he was ready to confront death for the sake and lives of others around him.

As others have pointed out, this book was written shortly after the end of the war long before the band of brothers series was produced and this is apparent in the way it is written.

This book describes events as they really happened from an ordinary soldiers point of view.
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on 24 October 2006
After Band of Brothers, reading this book gave me a greater insight into the life of a solder during world war two. Webster writes immediately after the war, and so has yet to comprehend the 'bigger picture' of what he had achieved. There are no reflections on the nature of war, nor how the conflict shaped the future of Europe. What you get is an honest account of life on the front line. After this book I went back and read Band of Brothers. Both should be required reading for any one interested in the history of war, and how history is 're-written' by the passage of time
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on 19 September 2003
For fans of Band of Brothers, both the book and TV series (Speilburg/Hanks) David Kenyon Websters memoirs of his experiences in the 506th PIR are more than a complementary read.
Not only a young and gifted writer, his observations and opinions give a much better insight into the story of E company.
In fact do not be fooled by the TV series Band of Brothers, as good as it is, it has been changed significantly and does not always show events as they really happened, but rather re-hashes through a mixture of Ambrose's original book, interviews with other veterans and Websters personal memoirs. I would recommend this book highly to anyone who watched episodes 8 and 9 of Band of Brothers and wants the true detail behind Websters experiences and his fellow soldiers in company E in Germany. His account is personal, emotive and cuts through the Hollywood perception of guts and glory. Webster tells it his way, a war of fear and personal survival, a struggle with courage and inner strength.
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2009
This differs from all of the other Easy company biographies due to its more personal and immediate nature. Webster was an aspiring writer who effectively chose to be a grunt rather than an officer. That said he was also a self confessed goldbrick who never volunteered for anything. In this respect you have to impressed with his honesty. I think if it had been written in the past decade it may have been more cynically heroic. And frankly this book is all the better for that.

Webster does indeed write well without the conversational style of those books ghost written by jounalists with an eye for the main chance. What sets it apart from the other Easy company men is that he wrote it long before Ambrose generated a cottage industry. In fairness all of the memoirs I have read have merit but this offers a depth and a colour that the others simply don't and I beleive this to be entirely due to it being pre Band of Brothers and being closer in time to the actual events.

A must read.
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on 30 September 2014
A good, interesting read. Written well, and I felt as though it was by someone wishing to describe their experiences, as opposed to shift book sales.
Marked down as 'four star' instead of five, as I felt that some of the earlier defining (to me, anyway) periods of the war were covered in far less depth than the latter stages of the conflict, which were almost blow-by-blow at times.

Refreshing to read about the war by someone who makes no bones about not wanting to be there, or embellish things with heroic details.

Enjoyed reading about the post-victory period, right up until leaving the army.
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on 18 April 2014
If you read and enjoyed Robert Leckie's Helmet for My Pillow (also excellent), David Webster shared a similar cynical, rebellious and anti-authoritarian attitude towards the military and was all the more heroic for it. Like Leckie's book this is less of a history (there's no order of battle or discussion of strategy); this is more about the experience of life in combat or all the living in between.

If you want platitudes and patriotism, they aren't here. This is more humane and touching than any of the other books I have read on the subject.
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2008
I generally agree with the other reviews as the book's easy to read and flows very much like a novel (I wonder a little how accurate it is - There's a lot of detail in there that seem like they must have been 'dramatic reconstruction', especially in terms of dialogue, which to be fair is what helps the flow - but I'm nit picking here).

That said, it gets slow and repetitive towards the end and could be a good 50-100 pages shorter in my view.

That said, a very good counterpoint to BoB and better, in my view, than Dick Winter's Beyond Band of Brothers which simply seemed to retread to Band of Brothers.
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on 6 September 2014
Having read several books on the 'Band of Brothers' story this book impressed by its depiction of someone who only did what he had to and was not considered a particularly heroic soldier by 'BoB' standards - most of the other books on the subject were co-written by ghost-writers - but David Kenyon Webster was a writer as well as one of the 'BoB's' who had the skills to tell his own story and does so with clarity and apparent honesty that is very refreshing. A very good read and heartily recommended.
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