Easy Company Soldier
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 28 Jan 2015
Full Title: Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from World War II's "Band of Brothers"
Don Malarkey became a famous name among WW2 history enthusiasts after the release of the television series "Band of Brothers". Much like his fellow comrades Dick Winters, Bill Guarnere, and others, Malarkey wrote his own book to tell the story from his perspective. Easy Company Soldier told of his youth, the paratrooper training, the fighting in Europe, and friends gained and lost. The book opened depressingly, describing his thought process, swaying between remaining on the front lines to be with his buddies and shooting himself to end his war. In subsequent chapters, I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride, exhilarated when he completed the impossibly long march from Atlanta to Fort Benning in the southern United States, concerned when he began losing feeling in his feet during one of Europe's coldest winters, and hurt alongside him as he lost his close comrade Skip Muck. Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers had already detailed the history of Easy Company in great depth, and Malarkey (along with co-writer Bob Welch) added little in that respect (however, he did make several historical corrections to the television series, which had taken much liberty in altering small events for entertainment value); nevertheless, he revealed significant insight to his emotions and thought process, some similar to his comrades, others made him unique among all other uniform-clad GIs.
I had reviewed the book in its audio book format. John Bedford Lloyd did a good job reading the book. Malarkey wrote the book in a rather serious tone, and Lloyd's performance did the words justice.
Easy Company Soldier was a great memoir of a fighting man, regardless of Malarkey having been famous or not. This book dove deeply into his very psyche, thus providing a wonderful study of the absolutely terrible toll of war on a young man.
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal