Brotherhood in Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers” essay

The war is the most terrible thing that can ever happen. The battle of field is the place where you stay with your fears and only other soldiers who stand shoulder to shoulder with you can help your overcome these fears and be brave.

All the feelings are exaggerated in the war, you see your life in a new way. You feel that those who fight together with you are so close and so dear that nothing can weaken this bond. War friends are as thick as thieves because they have experienced what you have when you serried together before the fight. You have seen the war all together as it was in reality, you looked in the eyes of the death together. “What is not replaceable is the esteem of comrades, but to the replacement soldier, just arrived, there is no comradeship, so there is nothing to hold him to his post” (Ambrose, 117). If you came through the war together, nothing would separate your after this serious life test. Stephen Ambrose devoted his series of books, and “Band of Brothers” among them, to the theme of war friendship.

The book is so impressive and interesting because it is not just a documentary; it is a collection of personal stories based on real interviews with former Allied soldiers. The author presents his readers a group of brave people who come through destruction and death, sufferings and pains of the war, enjoinment and happiness of the victory and, as a result, are united by the common bondless feeling of friendship and respect.

Ambrose tells us a story Easy Company of the 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne. “Easy Company, like all units in the American airborne divisions, had been trained as a light infantry assault outfit, with the emphasis on quick movement, daring maneuvers, and small arms fire” (Ambrose, 5). A group of soldiers started its way in summer in 1942 and later took part in Easy Company in Holland and Ardennes. This division had a long way through whole Europe. “The company had taken sixty-five casualties in Normandy, so its total at the end of November was 120 (some of these men had been wounded in both campaigns), of whom not one was a prisoner of war” (Ambrose, 119). They participated in so many battles that it is difficult to name all of them.


They fought bravely after parachuting in France on D-Day morning and in Holland during the Arnhem campaign. In the battle of the Bulge they were surrounded by the enemy but could hold the line and even start the counterattack and they captured the Bavarian outpost. Their deeds are titanic and it was mainly their war brotherhood that helped them to survive and overcome all the difficulties and horrors of the war.

They used to be usual boys who drank French wine and knew nothing about the war. However, the summer of 1942 changed everything for them.

The author, being the master of word, creates a true-to-life story about a group of men. The images of the main characters are so vivid and multi-dimensional that they make readers come through everything together with them. Readers laugh and suffer together with them.

Ambrose’s view is very interesting because he presents a combination of fiction story with real historical data. This helps the readers not only to get an important data about past events but also to understand true thoughts and feelings of people, who participated in the war. Ambrose explains his choice of Easy Company 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne by the fact that they represent typical participants of war:

Interviews Ambrose took from the participants of war actions were transcribed by his friend and became a row material for this book.  Ambrose took interviews from real participants of 101st Airborne including Richard Winter, its commanding officer.

The book has become an important phenomenon of American historical literature. It can be explained by the growth of interest to the history of the country and by the way Ambrose presents events. He does not hide truth about the past and does not try to make things look better than they are. He tells that truth about the difficult times people had to go through the war and show what it took them sometimes to survive and to save their dignity. Despite difficult life conditions and constant threat to their lives the members of the Easy Company Regiment did not lose ability to create close friendly relations. The war did not make them cruel and heartless. Even vice versa, it showed true human characteristics feature which can be revealed only in the stressful situations.

The type of relations which emerged between the members of Regiment expand the notion of ordinary friendship.

Brotherhood is the best characteristics of the union they created. The title of the book perfectly illustrates the importance of this relations for all people who participated in the terrible events. “Band of brothers” is a title which describes the relations between this people, underlines how war united absolutely different people and made them closer to each other than friends and relatives. “Comradeship is by far the strongest motivator – not wanting to let his buddies down, in the positive sense, not wanting to appear a coward in front of the men he loves and respects above all others in the negative sense” (Ambrose, 117).Brotherhood is a union which acts like one organic whole. The members of this union act for the good of their community and all this community acts for the common good. At the same time the members of this community do not lose their individuality and free will. They are directed by higher objective and this realization becomes more important than personal ambitions and even fear.  Ambrose writes the history of E Company, the history of its members. At the same time this history becomes the history of WWII. The life of members of Easy Company was not an exception during the war. Bravery and self-sacrifices became a norm of life for the people who defended their country in WWII. The actions of E Company are so valuable and close to other people because the author does not described them as fearless heroes. “So was Christenson. He couldn’t understand it, until he counted up. He realized that he had fired a total of fifty-seven clips of M-1 ammunition, 456 rounds. That night while trying to stay awake on outpost duty and trying to calm down after being so keyed up, Christenson pissed thirty-six times” (Ambrose, 98). He describes all the horrors of war and natural reaction of people who meet death, destruction and pain. The members of E Company are usual people but they turn to better parts of their personalities and it helps them to pass through the horrors of war and not lose their humanism. It is evident that these people also experience fear but they also find inner strength to overcome it and to fight. This is the nature of true heroism, described by Ambrose. Real heroes do have fear. They are different from the rest of the people because they can continue acting despite this fear. People who become united by the ultimate goal help each other to overcome this fear. Each of he members of E Company remembers that he is not alone and it creates a double effect. “That officers and men broke under the constant strain, tension, and vulnerability is not remarkable. What is remarkable is that so many did not break” (Ambrose, 118). On the one hand, each member of the company acts taking into account the interests of this union and acts for the common sake even in the cases when it hurts him personally. On the other hand, each member feels strong support from the other members of the Company and knows that he can count on them any time and in any situation. The author proves this by giving descriptions of soldiers after the war. Despite they parted and did not meet often after the end of war, the feeling of emotional attachment and brotherhood they shared during the war did not disappear after it was ended.   The interview of the author with the members of the Company after the war proves this. The stories of men show that events of the past did not lose their meaning and importance for them and relations they had with their friends during the war will never end even if the are separated and do not meet often.

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