Band of Brothers WW2 Stephen Ambrose Book Review

Excerpt from Book Review :

Band of Brothers, Stephen Ambrose (1992) is talking about the experiences of World War II veterans (who are a part of the D-Day operations). It follows the creation, training and combat experiences of Easy Company. They are with the 506th Parachute Regiment, 101st Infantry Division. The author is taking a biographical and historical perspective when looking at the lives of these men. His primary focus is on helping readers to understand the challenges they went through and the significance of their contributions.

To achieve these objectives Ambrose is concentrating on several different ideas to include: sacrifice, bravery, camaraderie, loyalty, the importance of these events and what they are teaching everyone. The combination of these elements is providing the reader with a greater understanding of key aspects on World War II. This is the point that the individual will see the sacrifices, struggles and difficulties the various characters were experiencing. When this happens, future generations will appreciate what occurred and have a sense of respect for these men. This is the purpose for Ambrose writing the book, as he wants to tell their story, honor them and provide a historical account of what occurred.


The way that Ambrose makes his argument is to use a journalistic style that is incorporated with chronological views. This is achieved by discussing what happened from a larger historical perspective. Then, using the interviews and descriptions provided by Easy Company members to tell a larger story about how everything was unfolding. The different parts of the book tie the numerous events together by showing how the company and individuals grow. It is at this point that Ambrose will pull back and look at what happened from a bigger perspective. This takes place by using the interviews and historical accounts to provide a better understanding of what happened.

For example, throughout the book, Ambrose will discuss these ideas by showing how the men grow and unite. The first three chapters are highlighting this, with everyone learning different skills and changing from civilians into paratroopers. At the same time, they face sadistic treatment from a cruel commanding officer (i.e. Captain Sobel). This helps to unite everyone and create a strong bond about the challenges they will encounter in the future.

In this part of the book, Ambrose is showing the struggles that the individual went through to become a paratrooper. This is achieved by talking about the experiences everybody endured and what factors pulled them together. In chapters three and four, a historical perspective is taken by showing Easy Company on their way to England. As they are a part of the largest invasion force ever planned, with an uncertain outcome. These views help the reader to see the significance of what is happening and understand the sacrifices that were made.

To tie everything together, Ambrose will focus on the unit before and after Normandy. When Easy Company first arrives in England, many of the drills and games are serious. Yet, most people have a jovial attitude about what is occurring. This is used to illustrate the importance of numerous events, their role and how this changed everyone.

Evidence of this can be seen in chapters five through ten. In his part, Ambrose is showing how the unit is motivated to do their duty and make a difference. However, there is also the realization that some people will not be coming back. After the landings in Normandy is when they are changed by war. This occurs with everybody seeing their friends, comrades and innocent civilians die. For many, this leaves emotional scares about making a difference. Yet, there is a longing for them to go home and live a normal life.

As the book progresses, it seems like this will be an easy goal to achieve. Then, as the winter begins, is the point that the Germans regroup and counter attack. This is illustrating how war is changing everyone and the way they look at themselves. What is holding many together; is the belief that it will be over shortly. This is shattered on December 18, 1944. In this aspect, Ambrose is illustrating the way these events are transforming people and the most common attitudes during the fall of 1944. This gives historical and personal insights about what is unfolding.

To illustrate the final changes, Ambrose talks about how the Battle of the Bulge and going through Germany transformed the company again. This occurred with the veterans realizing that they will be going home soon. But, they do not know where or when. While at the same time, new replacements are shocked by horror and carnage. In chapters 14 through 17 there is a slow adjustment with less fighting and more luxuries. This creates a sense of anticipation in wanting to go home and lots of people with nothing to do. These factors caused Easy Company to continue experiencing casualties from automobile accidents and other events.

Moreover, the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen in the future only adds to these worries. Then, on a late summer day, everyone is informed that war is over and they will all be going home. This incorporates feelings of relief with having a sense of accomplishment. The combination of these factors, are used to show how Easy Company evolved and the way they dealt with numerous challenges. This is augmented with a historical and journalistic approach to tell a larger story about the war. When this happens, the reader has a greater appreciation for the sacrifices everyone made and how this shaped contemporary society.

These elements are showing that Ambrose is taking an objective approach in telling the story of Easy Company. However, his impartiality changes, after he has detailed conversations with the men about their experiences. This is when it becomes a story of the unit and what everyone went through. While at the same time, it is looking at these events from a historical vantage point that is in awe of the various accomplishments. This is showing how everybody was transformed during the course of their training and the way different experiences shaped their outlook. Once this takes place, the reader has a deeper comprehension of the war and the people who fought it. This is when they will have an appreciation for the time period and the lessons it can teach future generations.

Critical Analysis

The author succeeds in convincing readers about how his conclusions are correct. This is taking place by showing specific dates and providing conversations between key figures. This adds a sense of realism to the background. At the same time, having a discussion about the significance of various experiences helps everyone to see Ambrose's insights very clearly. This make the work appear to be historically accurate with no deviations.

Evidence of this can be seen with information uncovered from Gardner (2009). He found that everyone did normal tasks as part of their contribution to the war effort. It was not until after the battles are over, that society appreciates the sacrifices of veterans. This helps to improve the historical accuracy of what is happening by corroborating key events with different interviews.

Moreover, Stein (2011) determined that this is what helped to motivate everybody to do more. Where, they did not know the outcome of the war and were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. This turned the tide of many battles. At the same time, different events were associated with attitudes and beliefs about the results. Once the war was finally over, is when everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. This is from a desire to take control of their own lives. Yet, they were waiting for the war to run its course.

The information from these sources is showing how the events and outcomes are factually accurate. This is because Ambrose interviewed many people and he is providing the backdrop for what is happening. However, these viewpoints will become different when Ambrose is swaying the opinions of the reader (by making their sacrifices appear to be larger than life). Yet, in reality these were ordinary people doing their jobs. It was not until much later, that everyone appreciated their dedication and the examples they set.

As a result, Ambrose is taking a personal and historical view of these events. During the discussions about their meanings and the various feelings is when his views come across. In this aspect, Ambrose has a sense of respect for the men of Easy Company. This is reflected in words he uses to depict them and the actions they are involved in.

Furthermore, the author's evidence is substantial. This is because Ambrose is using the interviews from the men of Easy Company and then compares them with each other (to tell a larger story). Once this takes place, it increases the accuracy of the information and ideas which are presented. Moreover, the footnotes and biographical references are historically accurate in supporting the thesis. This is because these accounts are showing the narratives of Easy Company…

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