Rediscover: Band of Brothers
This coming June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when U.S., British and Canadian forces landed in Normandy, in Nazi-occupied France. In the run-up to this milestone, Shelf Awareness will highlight some of the best books about D-Day.
Military historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose (1936-2002) was inspired to write his most popular book, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, while attending a reunion of Easy Company veterans in 1988. During interviews conducted for the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans (now called the National WWII Museum), Ambrose was struck by the lasting bond still shared by these aging soldiers. In 1992, after incorporating more interviews and input from Easy Company survivors, Band of Brothers was released to rave reviews, becoming Ambrose's first bestseller. Its 2001 adaptation into a 10-part HBO miniseries (for which Ambrose was an executive producer) brought the story of Easy Company to an even wider audience.
Band of Brothers tracks the training and combat experiences of a parachute infantry company through the D-Day invasion, across France, Holland and Germany, all the way to Hitler's hideout in Berchtesgaden. Easy Company's parachute drops into Normandy and the Netherlands, their besiegement in Bastogne, among so many other perilous operations, shows what ordinary men were capable of when called upon to serve. A 25th-anniversary edition, with a new foreword by Tom Hanks, was released by Simon & Schuster in 2017 ($17, 9781501179402). --Tobias Mutter