Band of Brothers
FOREWORD TO THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
AS THE RED-LETTER VERSION of the Gospels puts extra attention on those certain passages most important to that story, Band of Brothers shows Stephen Ambrose’s high regard for, and his faith in, the words of the brothers themselves. The historical record of Easy Company of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division is written neither in the grand tactics of military planning nor in the collective events across the nations-wide fronts of World War II. Rather, the saga of Easy Company is meted out in the days, even the hours, from the formation of the outfit at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, through the horrible months begun in Normandy, and not completed until they took the Eagle’s Nest; in the memories told by the likes of men named Carwood, Buck, and Wild Bill.
There is no question of Stephen’s bona fides as a historian. Band of Brothers holds its own on the Ambrose shelf of books. In it, he shows himself to be, again, a great chronicler of history, a teller of authoritative, intuitive, and heartrending stories. Magnificently, Ambrose demonstrates the most important quality for any scholar or writer—as a listener.
I found it impossible to be a distant observer of the lives of the men of Easy Company as heard and written by Stephen Ambrose. Their stories—the history they witnessed, the history they made—are the redlettered memories of the days of their youth, words that landed in the golden ears of a great writer who knew wheat from chaff.
March 2, 2017