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Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  1,857 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
David Kenyon Webster’s memoir is a clear-eyed, emotionally charged chronicle of youth, camaraderie, and the chaos of war. Relying on his own letters home and recollections he penned just after his discharge, Webster gives a first hand account of life in E Company, 101st Airborne Division, crafting a memoir that resonates with the immediacy of a gripping novel. From the bea ...more
Paperback, 472 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Dell (first published 1994)
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Dachokie
Jul 29, 2011 Dachokie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
Band of Brothers ... before Ambrose and Hollywood Intervened ..., December 22, 2010

Ever since HBO glorified this group of men, I have made it a point ... well, now it's a mission, to read any/all of the books associated with Easy Company. Reading Ambrose's book prior to the release of the HBO miniseries served as an appetizer to the main course (the 10 part series), but there was still plenty of room left for desert as I was hungry for more information about these men, their upbringing, their bo
...more
Meirav Rath
Dec 23, 2007 Meirav Rath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: World war 2 buffs, history buffs, Band of Brothers fans
Aah, Webster, how I love thee and thine writing style. If you want to clean your head from the Spanks cheesy American kitsch about perfect hero soldiers, Parachute Infantry is the right book for you. Webster's eye misses nothing and his writing shies away from no cock up, no chicken shit behavior and no silly soldierly mischief. It's a wonderful introduction to David K. Webster and his wonderful style of writing as well as a personal testimony of an American paratrooper in the second world war.
Sanna
Jul 31, 2011 Sanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Offers a different view on the story of the famous paratroopers that are best known as the Band of Brothers. Webster wrote his story between the war and his death in 1961 so he never got any part of the fame the HBO series earned him and his fellow soldiers. Having read other
novels about Easy Company men and seen the tv series several times (thanks to my hubby who is an avid fan), I have to say that Webster's novel is the most realistic one; a very rough, down to earth tale of
...more
Chris
Aug 28, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the WWII memoir of David Webster, who served with the 101st Airborne (with the famous Easy Company; he was a major character in the TV series "Band of Brothers").

It is a very different memoir than you usually see from veterans. Webster hated the army. He loved his unit, and served well, but he loathed most officers, hated saluting, and though that dug down into a ditch was the best way to spend your time under fire. In short, this is a memoir by someone who was willing to say what I imag
...more
Danny Shelton
Sep 21, 2010 Danny Shelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the largest supplements to Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers is this hidden gem. It was relatively unknown before Ambrose published his book, but is now getting well deserved publicity. It is the personal war narrative of David Webster from boot camp all the way through to the occupation of Austria. A well read and educated soldier, he attended Harvard before the war but dropped out to serve. Webster goes through all the events in detail and gives a rare 1st person accounts of the w ...more
Louise
It seems a bit harsh to rate a memoir as only 2/5 but I found this one disjointed and quite dull in parts.
Lisa  Shamchuk
Memoirs from a 'Band of Brothers' soldier - very honest
Hank Hoeft
Jul 26, 2016 Hank Hoeft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper’s Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich, by Pfc. David Kenyon Webster, is a memoir by another member of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, made famous by Stephen Ambrose’s book Band of Brothers and the subsequent HBO miniseries. I’ve read Band of Brothers, and I’ve also read Beyond Band of Brothers, by Major Dick Winters, and Easy Company Soldier, by Sgt. Don Malarky. Webster’s book is an interesting addition to this colle ...more
Fred
This is a great book. It's written by one of the Privates from E Company of the 506th who went on to be a journalist after the war. This book wasn't published until after Webster's death because publishers didn't think it fit with the image of what people wanted to hear about the war mostly. I can see that, it stands as a counter to Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers in many ways. There were a lot of things that Band of Brothers glossed over and didn't mention, and this would be the "tell all" t ...more
John Freeman
Dec 30, 2013 John Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, WWII buffs, military buffs
Webster is perhaps the best educated enlisted man in the famous Company E memorialized in "Band of Brothers". Led by Lt. Winters this company participated in some of the most famous actions of WWII including the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's last gasp and largest battle the US Army ever fought.

Webster was a man with an attitude. He had a problem with authority and was choleric. His negativity colors every page and sometimes comes off as whiny but he's excused because he always did his duty and w
...more
Jon Hauer
Dec 08, 2013 Jon Hauer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author's purpose in writing this book is to capture in memoir format what it was like to be a Paratrooper in WWII. He wanted to show what he had to do in order to provide people with a first hand example of what WWII was like.
The theme of this book is action and war. The reason I say this is because the book is a memoir of a paratrooper who had to take out the Nazis in Normandy on D-Day. David Kenyon Webster was the actual paratrooper and he wanted to express the amount of stress,action, an
...more
Paul
Jun 30, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in World War II history at the individual soldier's level and with a specific interest in the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. David Kenyon Webster spent much of his combat service in the unit featured in Band of Brothers: Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The book Band of Brothers was followed by the highly popular HBO mini-series of the same name. Since that time, there have been several books written by and about v ...more
Amit
Dec 06, 2010 Amit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David belonged to rich society. An intellectual but not a kind of typical soldier. He joined army for satisfying his desires to explore new things. In this book, he did not sing the praises for infantry. He highlighted a system which was more a kind of political but the series of events made it successful. He mentioned about casual approach of leaders and reprimanded them. He also mentioned about his own casualness very practically.

During the last pages; he became more frustrated about point sys
...more
Chris Brown
Jun 28, 2014 Chris Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book by an interesting fellow. By his own description, Webster was a "goldbrick", doing the bare mimimum to get by. He lost no sleep at being one of the least effect soldier in his battalion--examples: a Harvard student who was never promoted above private first class; while some wounded troopers slipped out of the hospital to re-join their units, he appears to have used bureaucratic chaos spent two months bouncing around in replacement depot; and many other examples.

It is interesting
...more
Tavore
Feb 02, 2013 Tavore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-history
Reading this book is like getting to know Webster personally. Apart from the detailed descriptions of his days in the war, his emotional insights of the men around him, the situations that threw them together, and his own views of the war made it a really nice read.

I read it after seeing the HBO series, I was somewhat let down knowing that most of the HBO characters won't be in it, but I'm really glad I picked it up anyway. I read Ambrose's Band of Brothers and I think the two books are very di
...more
Steve Parcell
Exceptionally well written autobiographical account of one of the Band of Brothers campaign from D Day to the end of World War 2. Webster did not fight in Bastoigne as he was in hospital after a bullet in the calf. But nonetheless he describes the switch from monotony to the sheer horror of war very well and it is an excellent read.
We have a lot to be thankful for to our buddies across the pond and it is to Winters and his band of Brothers from Easy Company I give a big salute.
The only reason i
...more
Tom
Aug 22, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book as the author is familiar to me through the HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers." However, unlike the series, Webster came off as a less than likable guy. He showed an utter contempt, in general, for all officers and non-coms. He bitched, griped, and was never happy. But at times, he showed a tender compassion for the enemy, he befriended a former Nazi Captain who ended up waiting tables in the Company mess hall. He was outraged but the policy of coming into a town and tossing peo ...more
Jolene
3.5 stars.

Loved the overall story, and I can tell that Webster is a fantastic writer. Some of the scenes he wrote really came to life in my mind. But while listening to the audiobook version of this, I felt that if I missed one detail I would be really confused for the rest of the chapter. It also wasn't structured in a way that completely made sense. The story ends and then there is an hour or so after that with the narrator reading the letters he wrote home, which repeated multiple parts of th
...more
Ashley
As a HUGE fan of Band of Brothers, it's a no-brainer that I would eventually pick up this book. Unfortunately as much as I look up to the paratroopers of Easy Company, I felt that Webster's account of the war fell a little short.

Webster is a brilliant writer, being a Harvard student and all, but some of Webster's descriptions and details were a little too drawn-out and complicated to picture the actual scene. It felt like reading a personal diary of him rambling on and on without a set timeline
...more
Nikie Elwood
Feb 16, 2011 Nikie Elwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a history nerd and proud of it! I love Stephen Ambrose's book, Band of Brothers,and I've always been intrigued by one of the men in the book, David Kenyon Webster. I found a little treasure of WWII books at the library and checked out Parachute Infantry. Webster, a wealthy, Harvard literature major, joined the paratroopers as a private. He volunteered because he felt it was his duty, but he hated the army and wasn't shy in letting everyone know it. He wrote his war memoirs in the late 1940's ...more
Josh
Jan 18, 2016 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the majority of the book. It gives you perspective coming from a guy who, despite some moral objections and even times when put in direct danger by a careless officer, understands he has to follow orders. His frustration stemming from situations like that, with officers and the army, made for an interesting read. His descriptions of combat and especially letters home were high points.

On the downside, there were a few sections that really dragged and I wasn't always sure I was going to
...more
Mandie
Jan 04, 2010 Mandie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, bio
Another book by an Easy Company soldier, but what is different about this one is that the author, David Webster, died in 1961, long before the book and mini series "Band of Brothers" came out, so he did not experience the fame that many of his comrades recieved. His book is an unselfconscious reflection of his time fighting in Europe without any hint of revisionism. I found Webster's observational style narration reminicent of Meursault, the narrator of Albert Camus' "The Stranger". His contempt ...more
Andy
May 24, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-two
This book covers the same events(and with a number of the same people)as "Band of Brothers" so I almost felt like I had read this before. His writing has an observational style that conveys the monotony of Army life and his view of the people around him. You don't get a good sense of the bigger picture of the war, just his firsthand observations. I felt the pace fizzle out about halfway through as the fighting slowed down, the last 100 pages take place after VE day and mostly concerns everyone' ...more
Julie Snow
My grandfather was a paratrooper in the Pacific during WWII. He gave this book to my dad saying that it was quite accurate to the life. My dad, who served in Vietnam, gave the book to me.

To be honest, this book isn't a quick read. It is very detailed and is slow during much of it so I wasn't sure how easy it would be to finish but I did end up getting into it. I learned a lot about the actual life of a soldier at war, not the glorified, sensational life that you usually read about or see in mov
...more
Matt Fernwalt
May 22, 2008 Matt Fernwalt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about what an English major from Harvard endured during World War II. He could have spent World War II as an officer or in a combat support branch. Instead, he volunteered to serve as a combat infantryman in the U.S. Army airborne forces. His desire to fight the Nazis was more than fulfilled through combat jumps on D-Day and later behind German lines. Himself wounded, Webster buried more than a few of his close friends. Webster brings this world alive for the reader with his amazing ...more
Lee
Mar 27, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who spent 10 years in the Army (OIF Veteran), what fascinated me most about this book is that it was the war told from the perspective of a private instead of an officer. Enlisted and officers have somewhat separate experiences in war, it seems. It's very interesting to see some of the same events described in Ambrose's Band of Brothers told exclusively from a low-ranking soldier's point of view. You get some of the raw bitterness, confusion at the absurdity and sense of helplessness ...more
Kyle Ramsey
Dec 04, 2015 Kyle Ramsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I really enjoyed Webster's account of what it was like to fight with the Paratroops. His account hits the high points of D-Day, Holland, and going into Germany as well as accounts of how down time is spent in England. Webster was also wounded twice and shares his experience of the trip from the front lines back to England.

Throughout the book he is torn between the duty he feels toward his friends and his country, and his disdain for army politics. Parachute Infantry gives a real life glimpse in
...more
Chris Z
Dec 27, 2014 Chris Z rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
It really is a shame that the PFC Webster portrayed in the HBO Band of Brothers hardly resembles the soldier himself. This is a good look at what life was like for the enlisted paratrooper, he is very honest in his critique of himself as well as his fellow soldiers and officers and the Army in general. The miniseries portrayed his return to the unit after Bastogne poorly, like he was an outcast and disliked by the other Camp Toccoa vets which is far from the truth as they welcomed him back like ...more
Chuck
Mar 27, 2013 Chuck rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Webster was unable to get this memoir published immediately after the war. It was only in the 1990's that it found its way into print. The introduction suggests that it was rejected because it wasn't sexy enough, in the broadest sense of that term. After reading it, I would say that it was because it's just not that interesting. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the memoir, nor about Webster's experiences in the war. For a more compelling description of an individual's experience in ...more
Mike
Jun 21, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This is a memoir written by David Webster, as the dedication reads, to his wife so she could better understand what he experienced and how he dealt with that experience. After the war Webster became a writer so this book is well written. It also has a freshness to it, and since he wrote it soon after the war, his recollections were untarnished by time.
If you enjoy WWII history, I highly recommend this book.
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Born June 2, 1922 in New York, New York
1937-1940, Attended the Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut
1940-1942, Attended Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1942-1945, Rifleman, 101st Airborne Division
1945-1961, Journalist (reporter with Wall Street Journal, L.A. Daily News), writer, public relations (North American Aviation, Systems Development Corporation, Pacific Ocean Park), sales
Interests:
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“Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.” 10 likes
“Was there any meaning to life or to war, that two men should sit together and jump within seconds of each other and yet never meet on the ground below?” 7 likes
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