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Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Storyby William Guarnere
Synopses & Reviews
Tom Hanks introduces the ?remarkable?(Publishers Weekly) story of two inseparable friends and soldiers portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
William ?Wild Bill? Guarnere and Edward ?Babe? Heffron were among the first paratroopers of the U.S. Army?members of an elite unit of the 101st Airborne Division called Easy Company. The crack unit was called upon for every high-risk operation of the war, including D-Day, Operation Market Garden in Holland, the Battle of the Bulge, and the capture of Hitler?s Eagle?s Nest in Berchtesgaden. Both men fought side by side?until Guarnere lost his leg in the Battle of the Bulge and was sent home. Heffron went on to liberate concentration camps and take Hitler?s Eagle?s Nest hideout. United by their experience, they reconnected at the war?s end and have been best friends ever since. Their story is a tribute to the lasting bond forged between comrades in arms?and to all those who fought for freedom.
"Journalist Post, on assignment for Philadelphia magazine, met in 2001 with WWII vets Guarnere and Heffron to discuss their service and their portrayal in the soon-to-be-aired HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (based on the book by Stephen E. Ambrose). In this new book, Post has compiled the transcripts of her interviews to provide a personal history of the 101st Airborne Division's Easy Company, as well as the soldiers' own stories of growing up and growing old. Switching off between the two within chapters, Post allows Guarnere and Heffron to share narration duties as they recount their South Philly childhoods, their induction into Easy Company (Guarnere was there for the company's formation; Heffron joined after D-Day) and their work in it, from the disastrous Operation Market Garden to the frozen hell of Bastogne. The men also discuss their post-war lives, and those of their comrades; 60 years after meeting, these two men still call each other nearly every day, and their bond provides the volume its large heart. Both men are quick to point out that they're no heroes, just men with a job to do (despite the fact that they each received, and tore up, exemptions from service); they and their story are both remarkable, and a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Band of Brothers in print or on screen." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The rousing story of two inseparable friends and World War II soldiers portrayed in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" is a tribute to the lasting bond forged between comrades in arms--and to all those who fought for freedom.
About the Author
"In this surprisingly good knockoff of Stephen Ambrose's classic Band of Brothers (1992), two members of the legendary E Company give their version of events.
Interviewing Guarnere and Heffron for a magazine article coinciding with the 2001 HBO miniseries, the author realized she had the material for her first book. It reads like oral history, with each man chatting alternately for a few pages, but Post provides the firm editorial hand this approach requires. High- school dropouts from impoverished families in Depression-era Philadelphia, both men quit draft-exempt jobs to enlist in the Army's elite 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Guarnere, who signed up in 1942, delivers a lively account of the brutal, almost sadistic training. A quick learner with a talent for leadership, he was promoted to sergeant before the unit sailed to England in May 1944 to parachute into France the night before the Normandy invasion. Heffron joined his unit as it recuperated in England after the June 6 landing. The men quickly became friends, parachuting into Holland in September for an exhausting three months of fighting in the abortive Operation Market Garden. Their subsequent rest was cut short by December's Battle of the Bulge, and they participated in the legendary relief of Bastogne, where Guarnere was injured and lost a leg. Heffron continued fighting across Germany until the surrender. Each of them delivers a relentlessly gripping account highlighting heroism, sacrifice and terrible suffering without concealing a good deal of bad behavior. (Looting was universal, and paratroopers often killed prisoners.) Both men returned to Philadelphia after the war and revived their friendship, which still endures. A coda recounts the burst of fame they experienced following the 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan (based on a one-paragraph reference in Ambrose's book) and then the HBO series.
Veteran readers will be visiting familiar ground, but it's an irresistible story." — Kirkus Reviews
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