Ambrose may well have been a 'pre-eminent' historian, but I feel that what he recounts here isn't done in a strictly historical fashion. For my tastes, there are too many errors, and far too much of the history of the 101st appears to be seen through rose-tinted glasses. There are a few things that are seen in the HBO series, which is based on the book, that does make me wonder why Ambrose writes in the style he does. Is it that he likes to write in a style that 'connects' the average reader with his subject matter, i.e. in a more novel-like style, or is it that he writes for the big screen? For instance, Major Dick Winters didn't have the flashbacks as described in the TV series, neither did he shoot a smiling boy. Joe Liebgott wasn't Jewish at all, a fact revealed by his son, in the book by Marcus Brotherton - 'A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us'. Albert Blithe didn't die of his wounds shortly after the war, but very much later, and not of his wounds. These may be small things, but for a supposed pre-eminent historian these are inexcusable, and make me question whether I'm reading history, or the author's version of it, written in a style that Hanks & Spielberg could translate onto the big screen?
This in no way diminishes what Easy Company did as a unit, but Ambrose implies they were the best. The war was played out among soldiers just as good from many nations, Germany included.
In his preface, Ambrose admits that with his book 'Pegasus Bridge', he made too many errors, and by not allowing the drafts to be scrutinised by those that were there, he denied himself the chance to have made a better, more accurate book. With 'Band of Brothers', the veterans did see the drafts, yet still there are glaring omissions and additions (in the HBO mini-series) that are simply not true. So, to say this is more a work of 'embellished' history, rather than an historical account of one units' journey from D-Day to Victory is possibly more fitting.
It's a 'ripping yarn', and deserving of your dosh, but do read other stuff (notably anything by Mark Bando) if you really want to know about the 101st, and the many other brave companies of fighting soldiers, not just Easy Company. I also recommend anything by David Kenyon Webster (who Ambrose borrows heavily from), George Koskimakis and Donald Burgett by way of a more honest assessment of the war, and the individual deeds of members of the 101st Airborne, as well as the men of Easy Company, 506th Regiment.
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