- Gebundene Ausgabe: 288 Seiten
- Verlag: Berkley Hardcover (6. Mai 2008)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0425219704
- ISBN-13: 978-0425219706
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 18 Jahren
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,7 x 2,6 x 23,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 165.310 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Call of Duty: My Life Before, During and After the Band of Brothers (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 6. Mai 2008
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"Second Platoon was indeed 'blessed' to have Buck Compton as our leader. He was a quiet and strong officer who, above all, listened and talked to all men under his command. I could never say enough to express my thanks and admiration for Buck Compton."
-William "Wild Bill" Guarnere -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
A member of the elite 101st Airborne paratroopers recounts his life, from his sports career at UCLA, to his experiences during World War II, to his post-war legal career as a prosecutor and his role in helping to convict Sirhan Sirhan for the murder of Robert Kennedy.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Alles in allen sehr empfehlenswert, wenn man den typischen amerikanischen Patriotismus hier und da überlesen kann.
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Unfortunately, while other books by members of E company are well written, this is not. Personally I blame the editors at "Berkley Caliber" who should have seen the problems and addressed them before this went to print. Some details are organizational and some do reflect Compton's style but both are things the editors should have looked to.
For example it is common with these books to start with some dangerous event and then after wondering `how did I get here?" you go back to the start of the life that led you to that point. Buck starts this way, talking about the first time he jumped from a plane, but then with shaky starts you are moved to Normandy and then his first fight where his gun jambs and then, after 20 pages and multiple false starts do you go back to his youth. The editor should have seen this for the mess it is and sorted it out.
At barely 250 pages this is a fairly short book, most of the others are around 300 pages but that is less my concern than how much, or rather how little, focuses on his time in Easy company. In a 250 page book Mr. Compton joined easy company on page 90 and by page 152 the war is over. Yes we want to know what happened to him before and after. What events shaped him and how to he got on after the war, but the war experiences should make up the bulk of this book. People bought it because of Band of Brothers.
What he does recount is often strangely at odds with what others remember. For example he talks about walking into Carentan without firing a shot while others have written about a fight to get into the town, most notably all other sources talk of Lt. Winters, the company commander moving around on a road swept with enemy fire, urging his men forward. 33 days in action are glossed over very quickly by Compton, in about 2 pages. What are life forming moments for others seem to have become only a blur to him, given as much space in the book at his participation in the 1942 Rose bowl.
At some point the editors should have stepped in and said something like "Uh ,Buck, can you thicken this up a bit, it's awful short on this stuff." Then again, maybe they did. Compton is a shameless name dropper. He wants you to know all the famous people he knew and some of it is relevant but some of it is gratuitous. It's cute that he palled around with a young Mickey Rooney or that he played college ball with Jackie Robinson. I appreciate the story of an exchange they have on a train ride, talking about a loose woman, but Buck then goes on to spend nearly a page detailing the very public history of Jackie Robinson in major league baseball. Then he spends almost 2/3rds of a page is about how a guy he knew in ROTC went on to be a big wheel in the CIA. Maybe this was his padding. His way of making the book thicker but by the time he tells you how he went through jump school with the brother of the CHiP's commander you just want to tell him to drop it or tell their stories instead of his own..
Strangely events that could have been fun, escorting the glamorous Roslyn Russell to a dance, are glossed over.
To be fair Buck did not get on well with some of the other officers in Easy company, and it may be that this is being reflected in his writing. One wonders why he wrote the book. He says he spoke to Stephen Ambrose for only 30 minutes and most of the stories about him are anecdotal from others and he needs to set the record straight but the overall effect is weak, and disorganized and for that I blame the editors who are supposed to see this sort of problem and fix it before the public shells out good money. Mr. Compton dedicated his life to public service and beyond being commendable this is an example for all Americans. Compton, like all true heros, denies he was a hero and people should not laud him for what he did but those who died in the war. But people who bought this book were looking for the story of one of the "Band of Brothers" not the prosecutor who put away Surhan-Surhan. Mr. Compton, in telling your story, in remembering those who never came back to tell their tales, that is how you could have best honored them.
Please do not take this that I am belittling Lt. Compton's service. The man could have sat out the war in a safe state side job but he wanted to serve his country. He joined and led some of the finest light infantry this nation has ever produced. He fought in Normandy, Holland and Belgium and saw his closest friends reduced to hamburger. Along the way he was awarded the Silver Star and 2 combat stars on his jump wings and left his blood spilled in the soil of Europe to help free the world and defend his home. That is the resume of a hero in my book. My complaint is with the way his book is presented.
So far, these books have included autobiographies by Dick Winters in "Beyond Band of Brothers", Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron in "Brothers in Battle", Donald Malarkey in "Easy Company Soldier" , and Lynn "Buck " Compton in "Call of Duty". David Kenyon Webster had earlier written his war autobiography in the 1950's, and this was finally published in 1994 with help from Stephen Ambrose as "Parachute Infantry". In addition, a separate biography of Dick Winters - "Biggest Brother" - was written by Larry Alexander.
Reading all of these books and re-watching the HBO movie series on DVD has a Rashomon-like quality. Details of how things happened in E Company's WWII campaign change from one storyteller to the next. Like Rashomon, from the differences in the stories, it is possible to glean insights into the characters of each of these men and how they wanted to remember themselves.
As mentioned by other reviewers, of all of these books, this one by Buck Compton actually has the least amount of information about E Company's actions during WWII. It does turn out to be an excellent study in the life and times of the Los Angeles area from the Depression all the way through the 1980's. In particular, the section on Compton's career as an LAPD policemen and then district attorney read like something out of "LA Confidential".
Buck Compton lived an incredibly full life - he was a child actor in Hollywood, a UCLA baseball player and a lineman for the UCLA football team that won the Pac-10 and went to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 1943, a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne during WWII who won a Silver Star for his role in destroying a German artillery battery in Normandy, a plainclothes policeman for the LAPD, and an LA district attorney who prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Robert Kennedy. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan to be a judge on the California State Court of Appeals. Finally retiring to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle, he would become a "poor man's Rush Limbaugh" (in the words of one of his daughters) as a conservative radio talk show host.
Ultimately, though, it was Compton's brief time with E Company that made him famous enough to get his autobiography published.
An analysis of Compton's time with E Company:
The discrepancy between Compton's recollections of the battle at Carenton and the accounts of others in E Company is easily explained. It is clear from Compton's book that, after the Brecourt assault, he somehow became separated from the rest of E Company in the general confusion of Army maneuvers as the soldiers moved to attack Carenton. Thus, he arrived late to Carenton, after the battle was over, and his account describes only the post-combat scenes of destruction and carnage. Compton's account does jive with all of the other BoB accounts - Compton's name never appears in any of the other descriptions of the attack on Carenton, as it is now clear that he simply wasn't there.
The attack at Brecourt would be the highlight of Compton's combat efforts. His only other contributions to E Company consisted of getting shot in the buttocks almost immediately when the shooting started in the Holland campaign, and then getting caught in the hell of Bastogne as E Company was sent out to hold the perimeter against a constant German artillery fire.
Which brings us to the uncomfortable topic of Buck Compton's moment of "combat fatigue" at Bastogne.
Although Compton firmly denies that he suffered a PTSD-type breakdown at Bastogne, there's a lot of evidence in his own account in this book that after the successful assault on the German guns at Brecourt, he rapidly lost his taste for fierce combat. Ambrose, in fact, states in his book that none of the original E Company men would ever charge as recklessly into battle as they did at Brecourt. Their initial enthusiasm for combat would rapidly be replaced by a general sense of self-preservation as they saw how many of their buddies were getting killed.
Compton's own version of the event at Bastogne puts the blame on Lieutenant Dike, E Company's useless replacement lieutenant during Bastogne. He states that he ran off the line to find Dike, and later raged about Dike's absence. Despite his explanation, the weight of the evidence from the other BoB accounts is that, yes, he did suffer a PTSD breakdown, becoming unable to function in his role as a second lieutenant for his unit after witnessing the carnage inflicted by the German shelling. The whole purpose of the military command structure is so that there is always someone to step in to take over in another soldier's absence. Other survivors of the shelling such as Carwood Lipton and Donald Malarkey would step in to hold E Company together.
Compton was not an original Toccoa man, having joined E Company in England. He had not suffered through Captain Sobel as the others did. And so his level of bonding with the rest of E Company was not as tight, something that becomes clear from a close reading of this book. After his best friends Guarnere and Toye were mangled in the German shelling, it appears that he lost his closest ties to E Company.
Contrary to the "happy ending" depiction in the HBO series, Compton did not return to E Company at the end of WWII. Officially recovered from trench foot, he was given orders to go back to E Company, but, on his way, stopped in Paris, and there met an old friend who transferred him to another unit that was engaged mostly in playing Army baseball and football.
He states that in hindsight, he should have gone back to E Company, just to set the record straight about his character, but I think the reality at the time was that he knew that his closest friends in E Company were gone by then - dead, wounded, or transferred - and that E Company was now filled with replacement soldiers.
And, unlike Ambrose's description of E Company as a tight brotherhood of friends, Compton would later, at an E Company reunion, be accused by a drunken Lewis Nixon of being a coward. Malarkey would come to Compton's defense (an identical account of this event appears in Malarkey's book).
And so, like all Hollywood movies, like most of history, like Rashomon, the truth is far, far more complex than it seems at first. This has been true for the story of E Company as well.
It is not for us, noncombatants, to judge Compton's character - his service in WWII required far more bravery than most of us could ever muster. Compton is a fine American, who did more than his share in WWII, and then later accomplished even more as a public servant for the state of California. His many other accomplishments in life may in fact have encouraged him to forget about his brief moment in WWII with E Company (he was with them for only for about one year).
The book ends, somewhat jarringly, with Compton's career as a "poor man's Rush Limbaugh", and his fierce diatribe against socialism. As this review is already far too long, I will just say this - he definitely got this part wrong. Socialism and free market capitalism are merely opposite ends of an eternal struggle between doing what is best for all people in society (including the poor and incompetent), versus the need to reward individual initiative and drive. Societies that run to the extremes of one or the other have always been terrible societies. Our goal as Americans should be to find the best balance between the two.
This is, however, not a war book, although it does cover Lt. Compton's time in service. It also covers his youth, his college years, and the years he spent after the war as a police detective and lawyer. In this light, it provides a great deal of information about the man, and his experiences.
I liked this book and think it's well worth the time to read. But I found it quite interesting because it is the only example of a book that follows the life of a paratrooper after the war in any great detail.
However, if you're looking for a military history book you might enjoy Don Malarkey's fantastic book about his experiences as a paratrooper serving with Lt. Compton. Between Malarkey's bravery and Compton's leadership they were a rare team.
Over all, this book is a quick, light read you could finish over a couple of weekends. If anything it proves one thing. That generation refused to give up when the times were hard and got worse.
I have read most of the books written by or about members of Easy Company. I do the same thing every time; that is, to approach it with the idea that the material will expand the information in the Ambrose book, and bring even more details of the fighting. That's not exactly the case here.
Reflections on Band of Brothers deal mostly with Mr. Compton trying to correct inaccuracies in the mini-series or clarifying events that are depicted that didn't actually happen. I found some of the effort to correct the mini-series sort of squashed my fun as I had accepted the HBO series as accurate. I'm fine to now know that some of the events are made up, but it doesn't in any way make me appreciate the series any less. Rather, it adds clarity and helps explain the truth behind some of what we see on the screen.
Really, the real joy of the book had little to do with Band of Brothers. I was fascinated to read of Mr. Compton's early career as an actor. I was inspired by the way he worked to get on with his life after the tragic death of his father. Some of the most interesting reading was the coverage of life after the war. The people he came into contact with and the events he was involved in were just terrific reading.
My favorite part of the book was the rant portion at the end. It was nice to read what someone as experienced with life as Buck Compton thinks about the state of our nation. I'd like to make that section required reading for all high school students. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in modern culture or contemporary political science.
If you're looking only for another re-telling of Band of Brothers, this is not your book. If, on the other hand you want to read about the life of a true hero, one of the Band of Brothers, this book is a must for you.
I have read many works concerning Easy Company:
* Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters - by Richard Winters
* Brothers In Battle, Best of Friends - by William Gaurnere, Edward Heffron, Robyn Post
* Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich - by David Kenyon Webster
* Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest - by Stephen E. Ambrose
Reading all of these efforts provides those interested in this specific company of the Screaming Eagles (101st A/B) with a very complete picture (and contradictions).
Regardless of what is stated in the title of this book, some reviewers still complained that Mr. Compton didn't provide enough coverage of his WWII experiences. What more could a reader need to know about these men? What hasn't been told? What still needs to be told?
After reading Call of Duty, I was confronted with some real facts about these amazing men: they were ordinary American citizens. They had lives prior to the outbreak of war and those that survived lived their lives to the fullest after the war. Mr. Compton is no exception. His life prior to the war was far different from Winters, Gaurnere and Heffron. He grew up in Los Angeles rubbing shoulders with Hollywood actors, played sports with future legends and California governmental giants.
Compton's post-war life was far from ordinary. From his time on the streets of LA as a detective (while attending night law school), his job in the LA County DA's office and his time spent as an appellate judge. He was far from ordinary yet he wasn't too different from his E Company brothers.
If you read the other offerings (listed above) before you read Call of Duty, you will have an appreciation for this book.