Socialist Worker

Brothers in arms?

by Weyman Bennett
Issue No. 1771

IT PERHAPS seems strange to be watching a TV series about war as the US and Britain set off on another bombing crusade-but Band of Brothers, a Second World War drama with a budget of £80 million, hit our screens last week.

It tells the true story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, on their journey from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. What is unusual about the series is that it is written from the experiences of the common soldier.

Writer Stephen Ambrose relies on thousands of oral histories and interviews, and he tells many of the soldiers' stories in their own words. This makes the watcher feel like he or she is getting the full story of war from the ground.

The Easy Company survivors describe the hell and confusion of any war. The senseless death of the nicest kid in the company when a souvenir Luger goes off in his pocket. A commanding officer executing a soldier for disobeying an order not to get drunk.

The killing of a German prisoner of war who speaks with a US accent and comes from the hometown of one of the soldiers reinforces the pointlessness of war. Band of Brothers leaves you with the fact that people who do the fighting and the dying are ordinary working class people.

Band of Brothers is on BBC2 on Fridays at 9pm.

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Article information

Sat 20 Oct 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1771
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