Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Blog 21 - Brothers In Battle, Best of Friends

This book came in my amazon order last week and I devoured it ahead of my tbr.

If you are familiar with either the book or hbo series BAND OF BROTHERS, this is the story of 2 of those men - "Wild Bill" Guarnere and Edward "Babe" Heffron. I haven't read the book by Ambrose but I did get the series on DVD and it changed me. So I was really looking forward to hearing more from a few of my favourite "characters".

The foreword is by Tom Hanks and is truly lovely, and the epilogue is by Robin Laing and Frank John Hughes - the actors that played Babe and Bill in the series. Again, wonderfully done. The book is then "written" by Robyn Post.

I was wondering how this was going to be done, as Robyn is a reporter. I liked the format a lot. It really felt like Robyn was just the conduit through which the men spoke. It was all in the first person, and divided into sections mostly - Bill or Babe. Since Babe wasn't at Camp Toccoa or D-Day, those parts were Bill. And since Bill left in Bastogne, the parts about Germany, Landsberg and the Eagle's Nest were all Babe. But we started in Philly pre-war and ended in Philly post-war and it all felt like sitting in a living room with the men and just listening to their stories. It was a format I thought really worked. As I read the stories, I could visualize the same occurences during the show. As well there are pictures in the middle of the book. You really get to respect the casting job done for the series when you see them. There is one pic in particular that has Dick Winters in the background, looking at the men. It is like looking at Damian Lewis who portrayed him. The posture, everything. The actors really did work hard to do the men justice. It's phenomenal.

The men are adamant that they are not heroes. That the boys that didn't come home, the mothers and fathers that watched them go and the medics and chaplains are the heroes. But anyone who has watched BoB or reads this account will disagree.

I will never forget the bonus feature of the premiere in Normandy when Tom Hanks says, "In the words of Don Malarkey, 'so brave, so brave as unbelievable'. "

That really holds true here.

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