De community ruimte is een vrije online ruimte (blog) waar vrijwilligers en organisaties hun opinies kunnen publiceren. De standpunten vermeld in deze community reflecteren niet noodzakelijk de redactionele lijn van De verantwoordelijkheid over de inhoud ligt bij de auteur.

Band of Brothers, the Book

Band of Brothers, the Book

vrijdag 15 januari 2021 23:54
Spread the love

<a href=”” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img border=”0″ alt=”Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest” src=”” /></a><a href=””>Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest</a> by <a href=””>Stephen E. Ambrose</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Band of Brothers, the book<br />Today has been Januari 15th, we have one degree minus zero here in central Belgium; that is about fourteen degrees C less cold than the same night during the Battle of the Ardennes that came to an end in these very winter days, now exactly 76 years ago. <br /><br />I realized in time this winter this glorious chance to read about the feats and events. The Memorial last year in Bastogne, at the 75 anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, received a lot of attention. (I was unfortunately not able to attend the event. A friend of mine was present, and exchanged glaces with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who came to the Ardennes to represent the US Government. – Don’t mention the president that is falling out of the Oval Office and out of the respect of millions of citizens these days, just faster than ever before). So I set out in oktober, when the days where shortening, to read reports & stories and to watch movies about that famous last battle on the western front. <br /><br />This effort (and joy) kickstarted when I happened to find the movie Battleground Bastogne in a large second hand store in Rue du Midi in Brussels. (This film must have been one of the first movies about a war event, given to the public in 1949). In the following weeks, I watched three or four films about the formidable personality of Winston Churchill (e.g. “The Gathering Storm” and “The darkest hour”, and in the same tune, I ‘inhaled’ “Their finest” again). Furthermore, I looked in my dvd cupboard for ‘The Battle of Britain” and the “Battle of the Ardennes” (with Henry Fonda). I was especially thrilled to rediscover the movie “Patton” that I had seen some fourty years ago. Other movies that demanded full attention were “Dunkirk”, and the documentaries “Generals at war” (about Montgomery and Rommel in the famous desert fight) and “Oorlogsjaren. De Ardennen in beeld”.<br /><br />In the area of books, I read the richly illustrated big format book “De slag om de Ardennen”, a translation of the English study made in 2002 by Robin Cross. It is a wonderful book. I decided I wanted to read more in detail about the famous Battle taht took once place in the very nice, pure air & wood covered, pleasantly hill strewn part of my motherland, where I have enjoyed during a few years a glorious friendship with a seventy five years old local, the hunter’s guide (game warden) and ‘bucheron’ (Lumberjack) Roger François. That genial man told stories day and evening, when we sat near the wood stove in winter, or around light coffee in other seasons. One recurring theme being the famous German Counter attack. His home cottage is in Rendeux, not far from Hotton, where the bridge over stream Ourthe is one of the points where the German troops were halted inexorably, like at La Gleize (the fatal point to Pantzergruppe Eins lead by the infamous Col. Peiper). This became a reality after the well known intense military efforts and the sacrifices asked from soldiers and local citizens. <br /><br />One first book I turned to after reading Robin Cross, has been the third part of the ‘Intégrale’ of the graphic novel series “Airborne 44″ written ànd drawn in the fine, wonderful images by Philippe Jarbinet. He is a local, ‘un Ardennais”, and I was told the talented artist & story teller was present in the christmas time in 2018 at the meeting in the Museum at Bastogne, to meet up with his readers and fans. His recalling of the events is great, realistic, epic and sometimes endearing. I enjoyed the thrill of almost moving side by side with the GI’s and the German Soldiers in the snow and heavy frost, lingering in the Ardennes villages with their natural brick houses, and in the dense pine tree woods. <br /><br />Around that time, my appetite in this enterprise had grown voracious, and I went down town to find more books on this unique chapter of WWII. In the vintage bookshop of the Holland and Belgium chain “De Slegte”, I found “Band of Brothers” by Ambrose. I had seen part one and part two of the mini series and I must say I was as impressed and in awe as many a writer of a review about this book in these columns here has testified to be. <br /><br />To make this wonderful journey and this review ‘ad rem’ let me speak the following sentence. I can agree to a certain degree with the critics that air their dense disapointment about the writing skills of Stephen Ambrose where literary elegance rivetting story telling is concerned. But just like some other reviewers here, in some cases we speak about well read people who are writers themselves, I do not agree that Ambrose does not deserve his “stars”. I have now read the introduction, the chapter on their training (“Hi, Ho, Silver!” – the cry uttered during the dire and frequent ascending of the hill near their barracks under tiranic luitenant Herbert Sobel) and… the three blood boiling chapters on Easy Company in action in the snowy, bitter cold Ardennes against the German Pantzer Brigades and Infantry. <br /><br />It is true that the viewpoint of the author is certainly not enough about the German side. It is true that the quotations of the very words of the survivors that the writer has gone and collected, are not always inserted in the main body of the story with exemplary elegance. But, hey, this is a fantastic book! This is a gripping and awe inspiring tale. It is an arresting image you receive of a historic and mind bogling chapter of military history in Europe. I can write these words of praise hand on heart, and add that I find it a bit cheap and overly ambitious & even a bit agressive, to write the diminshing words that some here have chosen a few years ago. <br /><br />Nota Bene. I am a historian and publicist (= writer of articles on topical issues in a variety of domains) for different magazines and newspapers, I am holding a blog and have turned myself in some sort of influencial Flemish facebook affectionado, especially so since the Sweden and Belgium-born World Wide School Strikes for Climate Movement in the year 2019). Without being an expert yet on military writing, over the last few years I have read and assimilated several impressive war stories, the voluminous, fierce and fascinating “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes, former Lieutenant in Vietnam, being one of the first. <br />
<a href=””>View all my reviews</a>

Creative Commons

dagelijkse newsletter

take down
the paywall
steun ons nu!