Thursday, May 28, 2015

Beyond Band of Brothers

Beyond Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters

The more I read about the 101st Airborne the more I admire these young men who jumped into Normandy and fought their way into Germany. Few of them were older than their mid twenties, fresh out of college or school when they joined up, and they had to learn to grow up fast.

Winters' book makes the forth I've read, Band of Brothers included. Winters was one of the best leaders Easy Company had and well liked by most of the men. (Wild Bill wasn't too sure about him at first because he was a Mennonite and he expected Winters would freeze up in the first fight. Buck Compton and Winters didn't get along for some reason, but most everyone else liked him.)

Telling his story, Winters describes life before he joined the war all the way to the time he left the army and finally built his home on a quiet piece of land where he lived out the remainder of his days.

He writes his book in a very blunt fashion. He tells what happened and what he thought during the battles. He talks some about how he became angry right before the war's end and how he almost stayed in the army, giving up his dream of a farm until he wasn't accepted to go to the Pacific.

A quiet man, Winters only drank once in the war. (I think it was once. I don't remember him every writing about another time.) It happened after one of the battles. He was known as avoiding any kind of alcohol, but after his first battle he sat down and drank something and shocked some of the men - which I think amused him. He also lost his temper a couple of times, something else which also shocked them.

As the war went on, Winters lost some of his quietness. He even admitted to getting a moment of revenge on Sobel, who made his life miserable in training, and enjoying his revenge a good bit. So even though he was quieter than some of the other men, Winters had an mischievous streak which I had fun reading about.

Out of all the books I've read, Winters has a more gloomy feel to it. I think he was haunted all his life by the men who didn't make it out of the war. And that only made me love him even more.

Over all I'd suggest his book to anyone interested in Band of Brothers. (I'd also recommend that whoever reads it also reads Buck's. Since the two didn't get along it is nice to get both their stories, it helped me get a better understanding of both men rather than hearing about one from the other.)

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