Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters - Dick Winters, Cole C. Kingseed I am willing to grant, I guess, that Winters was a remarkable leader, but in this ghost-written autobiography he comes across as a sanctimonious prig. He gets leave in Paris then complains that he learns too much about the construction of the Eiffel Tower because it doesn't help him as an infantry officer. He refuses to drink or get laid or do all the things everyone else was doing because he didn;t want to disrespect his unit, his army, his family, his country, etc., etc. blah blah, blah.

Comparisons to Audio Murphy's autobiography will be inevitable. Ironically I think Murphy's is the more introspective and more humble. Winters, clearly a talented company commander and great leader, talks too much about how humble he was (as was noted by another reviewer.) Winters just isn't as good a writer as Murphy, either. That being said, as a companion book to the HBO series, it's almost a must for the real-life perspective on the events. Winters, without the HBO series, would have been lost to the dustbin of history. And that's a shame. I suspect there were lots of other very talented men who served by doing their jobs and getting wounded or killed in the process, who never received the recognition. So I like to think of this book as a memoir for all the troops.

I was a little puzzled by the lack of explanation about Winters' promotion to executive officer of the Battalion following the Ardennes. If he was such a great company commander, why would the powers that be kick him upstairs to where he had no command authority at all and whose job seemed to consist mostly of paperwork and presiding over courts martials of looters -- this was apparently a severe problem.

The biggest problem with this book, is its lack of broad perspective. It's really quite myopic. It's so clearly everything from the view of E Company, it's almost as if the rest of the world didn't exist. Now perhaps that's not fair because I suppose that's a reflection of the world as seen by a company commander during battle. I don't know, never having been one. It has been said that only if there are great challenges and crises, can presidents become truly great. I suspect that might be true of many war heroes as well. Without the crisis, they might have just been ordinary folks like the rest of us.

It's perhaps ironic but I kept getting the sense that had Sobel, the hated company commander during training, not made their collective lives so miserable in his attempts to wash individuals out, that perhaps they might not have become such a cohesive unit before and later in combat.

For perhaps another perspective: Biggest Brother The Life Of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led The Band of Brothers