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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,517 ratings  ·  110 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 firsthand account of life in E Company, 101st Airborne Division, crafting a memoir that resonates with the immediacy of a gripping novel.

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Published 2014 by Tantor Media (first published April 1st 1994)
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Dachokie
Jul 29, 2011 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
JD
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2-on-land
Great book about the daily life in E Company, 506 PIR during World War 2. The book came before "Band of Brothers" and was written shortly after the war which separates it from all the other E Company memoirs. Webster was not a "gung-ho" soldier and did not volunteer for assignments, but reading the book you can see he was still a good, duty bound soldier that survived the War, and the Army. He does not make war glamourous and there is not a lot of description of the actions he was involved in, b ...more
Meirav Rath
Dec 23, 2007 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.
Abby Jones
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting, boots on the ground, type book. Web is cynical and doesn't pull any punches about his feelings about the army. He's a good writer, and you will see many recognizable names and characters from Band of Brothers, but there are also a lot of holes filled in that the show just couldn't cover. You will also see how each of the characters in the show served more as an archtype than stuck point for point with their real life character. I wonder what Web would have thought of ...more
Chad Simons
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometimes cynical, sometimes company man, Webster pens quite a report on his experiences as one of the Band of Brothers. I have read a lot of these books, memoirs, and stories from 101st Airborne men from WWII. I have the utmost respect for them and their experiences. Most of the stories are inspiring, amazing, saddening, etc. I can not even begin to understand what these men went through.

Websters account takes away all of the bravado, all of the praise, and all of the fluff. He tells a real st
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Frederick
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a first-hand account of World War Two written by one of the men featured in the book and movie 'Band of Brothers'. He died long before that book was written, disappearing along with his boat in the Pacific in the early 1960s. However, his account has some unique qualities about it. He was cynical, Harvard educated, and very intelligent. And yet, he was one of those tough paratroopers who landed at D-Day. Its a very good account if you are a student of World War II. I strongly recommend ...more
Angela Hunt
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I had seen it before, in 2019, in a burst of patriotic fervor, I decided to watch the entire BAND OF BROTHERS series again. The early episodes are a bit confusing--a lot of characters, and they are hard to tell apart when they're all wearing identical jump suits and helmets. So when I had finished the series, I watched it again, mostly to appreciate the growth of the many different characters.

I was taken by Webster (David Kenyon Webster), who became a writer after the war. His book, PARA
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Dan Walsh
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read for Band of Brother fans. David Webster is actually one of the main true-life characters featured in the HBO WW2 series. Since it's a memoir, at times it gets a little laborious to read (skipped several parts because of this), but the perspective he shares is so unique and authentic, I still really enjoyed this book. You can see many of the scenes depicted in the series as you read.
Sanna
Jul 31, 2011 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
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Chris
Aug 28, 2012 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
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Danny Shelton
Sep 21, 2010 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.
Ciara
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙪𝙩𝙚 𝙄𝙣𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙮 - 𝘿𝙖𝙫𝙞𝙙 𝙆𝙚𝙣𝙮𝙤𝙣 𝙒𝙚𝙗𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧

• 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? •

One of my favourite tv shows right now is Band of Brothers. A HBO production about Easy Company in World War Two. One of the key characters portrayed in Band of Brothers is David Kenyon Webster. David Kenyon Webster was originally from New York in America. Webster fought with both Headquarters (Normandy
...more
Hannah
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had anticipated reading this book for a few months now. Webster was one of my favorites in the mini-series "Band of Brothers," so I was anxious to hear his experiences and personal thoughts on war.

Webster's memoir takes quite a different tone from the other books I've read by or about Easy Company members. Webster's view on war and how he talked of it was brutally honest. His view on the army was probably quite an unpopular opinion. But, he told the bitter truth; about the horrors that he had
...more
Elfear
Sep 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a pity this was never published while he was still alive. I think it would have made better sales than that book on sharks... But I guess the world wasn't ready to hear what real soldiering was like, the blood and the boredom and the chickenshit. Great writing.

Gained some perspective from a left-leaning highly educated man who had a love-hate relationship with combat life, but completely detested non-combat soldiering. He was bitter drunkard. He loved the outdoors and especially the water.
...more
Mark
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t actually finish this one, as I just wanted to hear about the paratroopers’ experience up to & including Normandy. The story then continues to Operation Market Garden, the Bulge, and Germany itself as we all know from watching Band of Brothers. This is the story comprised from the amazing letters one of the soldiers sent home. We remember this soldier as “the Harvard guy” in Band of Brothers.

I liked the book because it’s more raw & real than Ambrose’ work (not surprising). It’s not jaded
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James
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different kind of memoir from a marginal soldier. Webster clearly did not want to be in the Army but did what he thought was necessary for the times. His candor at the idiocracy that sometimes exists in the military is not often found except in books like "Helmet for my Pillow" (Which is much better written) . While an interesting read I found him to be a bit of a whiner and moaner who I probably would not have liked very much on a personal level. Regardless, it is a interesting read and shows ...more
Mike Seiber
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read the Band of Brothers book as well as seen the mini series countless times. I have thought Webster was one of those people that more needed to have been fleshed out about himself, even in the episode that he was the feature character. This book filled in so many details that happened on the lines that the others do not get across, from how he felt about the army to his interactions with his fellow soldiers. I highly interesting read.
Iain
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-wwii
An excellent account of life in the American Army during World War II, but it's not for everyone. To begin with, Webster recounts very few episodes of combat. What he excels at is giving us a picture of day-to-day life. And in doing so he gives us a vivid sense of how ragged America's infantry formations were at war's end. He also leaves us despising both American officers and those in the Army's rear echelons.
Jean Dupenloup
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
A fascinating memoir about the horrors of WWII and the courage of American paratroopers.

I picked up David Webster’s book about after watching the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers.

I was not disappointed. The book is well written, emotional at times, and a real window into the psychology of soldiers risking their lives in an incredible manner to liberate Europe.

A great read and an important historical testimony.
Esequiel Contreras Jr
Daniel Webster had a unique talent for expressing his emotions.

His distaste for the military officers and the rules of war played havoc on his intelligence and he seems to articulate those thoughts in very meaning manner. Those officers he did like were far and few between and typically men of valor who led from the front.
Brook
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
This book written by David Webster is different from any other Easy Company soldier memoirs I read. It is written long before Band of Brother book, maybe when the memory was still fresh, therefore has tremendous details more than others. For example, he could remember and try to retell what his company commander said in mission briefing before D-Day. A small incident he experienced could last several pages long. I usually found myself lost in seas of details.

David Webster was originally in Fox C
...more
Michael Delaware
A gripping first hand account of the experiences of an American Paratrooper in Europe during WWII. The author offers insight into the daily life of a soldier from D-Day to the fall of the Third Reich several months later. The memoir is sad, humorous, frustrating and nail biting as he takes the reader through his experiences that so few today have known.
David
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Really good. This is different than most memoirs of soldiers. He is very matter of fact about his fate. He does not have a word of false bravo. Most of his actions reports are concerned with being careful and then the bullets stop flying finding food. He covers all the small details of prep and equipment.
Jane Thompson
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
World War II Story

This is an interesting book. The story is full of the essential to combat and the author tells the truth more often than the reader would like
It is well written and teaches one about the basis of life in combat.
Lesley
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii-era
I think what I liked most about this book is that it was written so soon after the war (compared to the others who wrote theirs late in life) that it seems more honest. I think a lot can be lost over several decades after the war and Webster captured some of what’s missing in the others’ memoirs.
Brent Kassing
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honest and Interesting

Having read lots of WW2 book I came about reading this one following watching Band of Brothers. A refreshingly honest experience of the war. Bother the good and bad of life in the army.
Darik Horn
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nicely complements Band of Brothers

This book is worthwhile if you wanted more after reading the Band of Brothers book or miniseries.

Webster didn't feel the triumph or camaraderie that is a theme in other works.
Bonni B
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Webster's prose and experiments in narrative tense make Parachute Infantry an interesting read. As a fan of his character in Band of Brothers, I was not disappointed by this insight into the real man's experience of war. (And I have to say, they nailed his whiny persona pretty well!)
Robert Hendry
I thought the parts about the combat period of the war were so-so. The part that I did like, which bumped it from two stars to three for me, were his descriptions of his experiences post Nazi surrender in Austria. Maybe that is because it is the first time I had read a first hand account of this.
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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
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