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Good book, leaves a bad taste.
on 23 September 2008
While I agree with many of the other reviewers here that this is a good first hand account of a young soldier's experience of WW2. I cannot, however, agree with their sentiments that this book changes the portrayal of Webster in the Ambrose book and subsequent mini series or portrays him as a soldier of any distinction.
The writing here is that of a young man who wanted to be a writer and so viewed events through that prism. He appears to be very descriptive, honest and have very detailed recollections based on his letters and journals.
However in describing himself so honestly he reveals a flawed protagonist; he describes his wound (when shot) in terms of causing minimal damage but providing maximum escape from combat, he lets a fellow soldier who cant swim go on a water-bourne patrol in his stead and generally avoids putting himself out at all. He appears to look down on most of his fellow paratroopers and relates with glee deliberately holding up the rest of the company because a superior officer told him to hurry up.
Having read several other accounts by E company soldiers this seems at odds with the 'band of brothers' attitudes that prevailed in that company.
If you read the excellent "Easy Company Soldier" by Don Malarkey (who saw more front line combat than any other man in E) you begin to see how the other men felt about Webster and how they regard him in hind-sight.
So here we have a well written book by a man who portrays himself in a fairly damning light, I appreciated the writing but came away not thinking much of the subject, and that is at odds with my other experiences reading books of this type.