Tom Hanks introduces the rousing 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. Arguably the bravest, most efficient, physically fit, and tight-knit group of soldiers the Army has ever produced, the 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 fought side-by-side-until Guarnere lost his leg in the Battle of the Bulge nd was sent home. Heffron went on to liberate concentration camps and rake Hitler's Eagle's Nest hideout. United by their experience, the two reconnected at the war's end and have been the best of 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.
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October 01, 2007
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