Happy Independence Day! I feel a Martina McBride song coming on.
When I was a junior/senior in high school , my US History teacher assigned us to complete a World War II project, giving us twelve or so options as our subject. One of our choices was “The Life of a Soldier.” Well….I had recently had a discussion about the HBO Mini Series “Band of Brothers” with someone, I forget who, and I, being the clever person I am, thought, “Instead of writing a long paper or doing some project, I could just watch TV and report what I’d seen!” Genius! My friends, Alex and Becca, congratulated my genius and agreed to back me up when I suggested this idea to the teacher. I hopped up from my desk and bounded over to my teacher, Mr. Walker. He is one of my favorite teachers I have ever had, but he was always fairly cynical and frank and not always classy in his speech. (In hindsight, this is probably why he is one of my favorites.) I can just imagine his internal groan as I practically skipped to his desk with what I’m sure could be described as a gleeful and girly air about me. I asked him about “Band of Brothers,” he stared at me and approved although I’m sure he was only okay with it because it is a 10 hour series and I would be spending plenty of time on it.
Anyway, I had never seen the series before, and while I probably spent more time on the 10 hours, plus recording the battle information down and describing the life of the soldier, than if I would have just written a paper, it was so worth it! I would say I fell in love with Easy Company, but those words don’t seem right. There are so many people, including Katie and Monica, who have read the books and watched the series and feel an overwhelming connection with the men of Easy Company. These men are not perfect. Honestly, I probably would not have been friends with some of these men because our personalities would have clashed, but even so, these guys are heroes. I am so glad that they have been appreciated through this Stephen Ambrose’s book, the HBO series, and now their memoirs and biographies. It is a beautiful thing to see men who sacrificed so much and fought for their country and the world, men who died and who live on only in the memory of their families and the men who served with them, be appreciated and respected.
This is a really round about way to get to my point: I just read Shifty’s War, a biography by Marcus Brotherton, about the sharpshooter Darrell “Shifty” Powers from Easy Company, and I loved it!
If you don’t know who Shifty was to Easy Company, he was a Southern gentleman: hard working, humble, and good natured. He was an excellent shot (I do declare!). Brotherton’s book is written from Shifty’s perspective despite the fact that Shifty did not write this. Normally I would have disliked a book like this because I would have felt lied to or deceived since there is no way we could know if Shifty would have saw or heard an event or conversation, but Brotherton gives a chapter by chapter explanation of where he took storytelling liberties. The experience of reading this book is similar to watching the series. For example: A soldier may not have said that one line, but it did happen at Bastogne somewhere, so we’ll put it in this particular scene so people can get a better idea of what the soldiers did and said.
I could keep going on and on and on about why I liked the book, but unfortunately it’s getting late in the day. 4:30 comes too early most days!