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The Review of ‘Band of Brothers’ by Stephen Ambrose Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019

The book Band of Brothers written by Stephen Ambrose explores the experiences of soldiers who fought in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that was often nicknamed as Easy Company. The action takes place within the period between 1942 and 1945. To a great extent, this work is aimed at showing the hardships and challenges that these people overcame and how they became close friends.

This is the main goal that the writer wants to attain. It should be noted that the author creates a chronological narrative describing the training of these people and their further activities during World War II. It should be noted that Stephen Ambrose is a famous historian who wrote numerous books on various aspects of the U.S. history.

A significant part of his research was related to the military history of America and the participation of the country in various wars. Nevertheless, one should bear in mind that Stephen Ambrose has often been accused of historical misinterpretations or errors (Hoffer 176).

This is one of the limitations that one should bear in mind. Still, despite these criticisms, the book is still worth attention because it throws a new light on the life of American soldiers during World War II. It is difficult to say that Stephen Ambrose is biased when he describes the main events witnessed by soldiers. However, one can definitely see that he definitely tries to emphasize the courage of the troopers.

To a great extent, he wishes to demonstrate that the Easy Company is an example of bravery, ingenuity, and patriotism. Yet, Stephen Ambrose does not want to idealize these people; instead he stresses the idea that they could set aside their personal objectives and self-interests. He describes them in the following way, “They resented having to sacrifice years of their youth to a war they never made…

But having been caught up in the war, they decided to be as positive as possible in their Army careers” (Ambrose 17). This is one of the main arguments that this historians makes. To a great extent, Ambrose’s presentation of facts may not be permissible for a researcher or scholar who tries to be as objective as possible. In many cases, historians should distance themselves from people and events that he discusses.

Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that Stephen Ambrose acts as a popular historian who wants to appeal to many readers. This is one of the distinctions that people should take into account. On the whole, it is possible to say that Stephen Ambrose attempts to remain unbiased in his discussion, and he does not reject the ideas that can contradict his views.

This is why professional historians should not reject Band of Brothers as a valuable source of information while doing research about the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment or American involvement in World War II. Additionally, close attention should be paid to the sources that the author uses in his book.

It is possible to argue that Stephen Ambrose relies primarily on the first-hand accounts given by people who were the members of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (14). In the author’s opinion, this dialogue with the direct witnesses can be of great value to a historian.

Furthermore, this scholar uses official documents that are related to the creation of the military unit and its battle history. He does not refer to the books and articles written by other scholars. It seems that this is a significant strength of this book because Stephen Ambrose presents his own interpretation of the events.

More importantly, he gives voice to people who took part in various battles. It should be noted that these people can tell readers not only about various military operations and battles. They can also tell about the senselessness and cruelty of war.

For instance, these people can tell readers about such practices as looting or the execution of people who refused to obey the orders of the commanders (Ambrose 143). The interviews with these people can be very informative for people who are interested in the history of the United States and the military forces of the country.

Overall, one can say that Stephen Ambrose uses mostly primary documents. It is possible to argue that the author’s use of sources makes the book more interesting. This is the most distinguishing feature of this work. One should take into account that this book is an example of popular history which means that the writer should create a text that can engage the audience.

Very often, these people perceive historical books as a form of literature, rather than only academic work. Thus, the task of an author is to combine the objectivity of a scholar with entertainment. It seems that Stephen Ambrose successfully achieve this goal. On the whole, he is able to combine his own writing with the interviews given by veteran soldiers.

Secondly, the author described various battles in great detail. This is one of the reasons why Band of Brothers is a best-selling book. However, it should be taken into account that this book contains various abbreviations that may not be familiar to people who do not know much about the Army, for instance, one can mention OCS (Officer Candidate’s School), ROTC (Research Officers’ Training School) and many others (Ambrose 17).

Certainly, Ambrose explains such terms when he uses them for the first time, but in many cases they are used more than once. This is one of the reasons why the text can sometimes difficult to read. However, despite this weakness, the book remains very interesting and engaging even for an unprepared reader.

It is possible to say that Stephen Ambrose has been able to attain the objectives that he intended to reach. In particular, his book enables readers to gain insights into the lives of people who fought and died for the country. More importantly, the author is able to demonstrate how and why these people became close friends.

This work is based on the personal accounts of who were directly involved in many military conflicts. This is the main reason why this book is worth attention. Although this work is full of military terms, the writer takes much effort to explain these notions.

Additionally, Band of Brothers can be of great interest to professional historians and those people want to learn more about America’s participation in World War II. By combining personal narratives with historical objectivity, Stephen Ambrose managed to create a powerful story.

Works Cited

Ambrose, Stephen. Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, Washington: Simon and Schuster, 2001. Print.

Hoffer, Peter. Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, Fraud American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, New York: PublicAffairs, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Review of 'Band of Brothers' by Stephen Ambrose." July 2, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-review-of-band-of-brothers-by-stephen-ambrose/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Review of 'Band of Brothers' by Stephen Ambrose'. 2 July.

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