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

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,384 ratings  ·  61 reviews
David Kenyon Websterâs 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, 468 pages
Published October 29th 2002 by Delta (first published 1994)
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Band of Brothers by Stephen E. AmbroseBlack Hawk Down by Mark BowdenLone Survivor by Marcus LuttrellUnbroken by Laura HillenbrandFlags of Our Fathers by James D. Bradley
Best Non-fiction War Books
168th out of 845 books — 1,098 voters
Currahee! by Donald R. BurgettEasy Company Soldier by Don MalarkeyThe Longest Winter by Alex KershawFlags of Our Fathers by James D. BradleyBiggest Brother by Larry Alexander
BEST non-fiction NOVELS
9th out of 22 books — 10 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dachokie
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Chris Brown
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
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.
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
Jan 26, 2014 John Freeman rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Amit
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
Jon Hauer
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
meine505
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
Cathleen Bonville
Listening to audiobook and enjoying it thoroughly. Know that this was written before Band of Brothers mini series makes it even better. Webster does not seem to hold back his thoughts in this memoir. He tells it as he remembered it. No Hollywood style heroes just real men making real mistakes, showing courage and being scared in real war. Totally recommend this to all fans of HBO's Band of Brothers and all those interested in military history.
Tom
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
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
Jim
I really enjoyed reading this book. I've read multiple books about the Band of Brothers and it was interesting reading the views from David Webster. I thought it was dragged out a little too far and could have probably ended a few chapters prior to the actual ending. Nevertheless still a great book.
Gordon Holloway
Don't read this book as a history of the campaigns of the 506 PIR. Webster never intended it to be. Read this book because it is very well written and gives a very honest account of what a rifleman felt and did in the airborne in WW2. Because it was written very shortly after the war, it definitely has a very honest feel to it.
Chris Johnston
I've watched the tv series Band of Brothers many, many times and this book is written by one of the men who serves in the 101st during the Second World War. If you want an insight into what it was like to be a standard Parachute Infantryman and the frustrations that come with it then read this. Stories of brotherhood, horror and the structure of the armed forces are plentiful.
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
Nikie Elwood
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
Ray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy
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
Mandie
Jan 18, 2010 Mandie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Daryl Thompson
Ejoyed reading this front line approach to the invasion of Europe. Dragfged some but also had some good personnel effect
Lee
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
Peter Gale
Considered to be the equivalent of Eugenes's With the Old Breed.
It covers the European campaign following Easy company.
Chuck
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
Chris Z
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
Matt Fernwalt
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
Glenn Banks DDS
I was thinking this was the book that I read part of in high school English class. But the parts I remember from way back then was not in this book. Either I am remembering wrong or there is another story about a parachuter in WWII. I did in joy the story though.
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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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“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?” 6 likes
“Twelve years ago, when I was 10, I played at being a soldier. I walked up the brook behind our house in Bronxville to a junglelike, overgrown field and dug trenches down to water level with my friends. Then, pretending that we were doughboys in France, we assaulted one another with clods of clay and long, dry reeds. We went to the village hall and studied the rust rifles and machine guns that the Legion post had brought home from the First World War and imagined ourselves using them to fight Germans.
But we never seriously thought that we would ever have to do it. The stories we heard later; the Depression veterans with their apple stands on sleety New York street corners; the horrible photographs of dead bodies and mutilated survivors; “Johnny Got His Gun” and the shrill college cries of the Veterans of Future Wars drove the small-boy craving for war so far from our minds that when it finally happened, it seemed absolutely unbelievable. If someone had told a small boy hurling mud balls that he would be throwing hand grenades twelve years later, he would probably have been laughed at. I have always been glad that I could not look into the future.”
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