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The Lieutenants (Brotherhood of War #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  5,343 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
They were the young ones, the bright ones, the ones with the dreams. From the Nazi-prowled wastes of North Africa to the bloody corridors of Europe, they answered the call gladly. It was their duty, their job, their life. They marched off as boys, and they came back--those who made it--as soldiers and professionals forged in the heat of battle...
ebook, 416 pages
Published November 15th 1986 by Jove Books (first published January 1st 1982)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Joe recommended this book, I didn't want to read it because I thought it was another historical fiction book about war. This book is not about war at all, but about the characters Griffin masterfully creates. This book made me laugh nightly because of how it pokes fun of the military. If you've ever served, you've met people like these guys in the military, and you've been in similar situations as what they face. My favorite character is Lowell, a snot-nosed rich kid who gets kicked out of ...more
Johnny Williams
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Captivating-- This book -the first in the series- grabbed me like a narcotic--I knew I was hooked in the closing chapters and now own the entire series- to work my way through-

I had just finished reading the Badge of Honor series-- so was lured to see if like most authors Griffin has spent himself and was now just making money -- Heck no-- this book's characters are as deep, as unique and interesting as the last series-- Griffin gives you a little of each but deep enough to interest you-- this
Ira Livingston
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started this book, I was hoping along the lines of a Shaara historical fiction, but found it more along the lines of the epic scope and multiple characters of a Michener or Clavell novel. I thought the verbiage was too technical. However, the farther I got into the book I found that Griffin's characters were so multifaceted and deep that I got wrapped up in the story, technical jargon just enhancing the story.

The story begins in World War II and takes you through the post years of German
Mike (the Paladin)
I'll start by sating these are in general very well written books that paint day to day life for the central characters in the military...or maybe that should be, life in the military for the central characters. Sorry grammarians.

Anyway I like them. While I'm not big on books that concentrate on the "emotional" and "personal" lives of the characters (who loved who, how did they meet, what problems did they overcome, etc.) But in this case it doesn't ruin the book for me (and I know some of you w
Thom Swennes
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
The armed forces, especially the army, isn’t a profession, it is a calling. Its members are treated like the favorite sons of the nation as the country covets peace and glorifies war. Tom Clancy labels the Brotherhood of War as an American epic. At this time I can only speak of the first volume, The Lieutenants. This story begins in the North African theater of operations and soon concentrates on a post-war army. When five thousand Polish officers and cadets are discovered massacred and dumped i ...more
Matthew Esham
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I read this the first time when I was twelve or thirteen. I remembered bits and pieces and was glad to find it again.

It starts during World War II and spans the end of the war.

There are actually multiple stories in the book, each moving off in different direction and occasionally bumping back into each other.

My favorite is the story of Isle and Craig Lowell. I guess I am a romantic at heart.

When he thinks he has lost her after being sent to Greece and then ends up back in
Fred Lombardo
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This entire series allows the reader to live through such telling events in american history in way that few books can deliver, as it is seen through the eyes of characters that (though fictional) live those events. It starts in World War II, then to the communist attempt to take over Greece, the Belgian Congo, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. Actual history mixed with plausible character interaction make for an incredible journey for the reader.
The series follows the same characters through their liv
Theophilus (Theo)
Loved it and the whole series (1 through 8 so far). Does the Army really operate this way? It's a combination of "M-A-S-H", "Blacksheep Squadron", and "Winds of War" for a visual analogy. The series follows a group of soldiers from World War II to Vietnam. Their heroics and their failures in their military and personal lives. A West Point graduate, a clerk who is promoted to lieutenant because he can play polo, an enlisted Medal of Honor awardee who gets a battlefield promotion, and others. Exce ...more
Read like a glorified version of the West Point Stepford Wives. Polo playing Academy grads is what we all think of in the years following the end of WWII, right? My most favorite was the complete dismissal of Airborne forces in favor of Armor. Clearly, the author is envious. Legs: So dirty. So nasty.
Jim A
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a reread for me. First read this back in the early 80's.

The series, The Brotherhood of War, is more about the brotherhood than it is about war. While some of the novel does take place during WW II and immediately after, it really is more about the developing relationships between the warriors.

I am not sure if my expectations were set too high given the generally high reviews from its fans, but I felt this book was more a table setter for the series than a book that stood on its own as a great read. That said, I plan to continue with the series, so it will be interesting to see if my opinion changes as I get further into it.
Justin Roberts
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the very first book that I've read by W.E.B. Griffin and I think it's the best one. I actually like the characters of Craig and Sandy and how they bonded. After this book, all the other books of Griffin has almost exactly the same romance theme. It felt as though the main protagonists always seemed to be adored or followed around by virgins, prostitutes, young widows, or cougars.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read!
One of the biggest contributors to this is the character development. Yes, there may be a handful but their relationships and connections to each other all lead to an ending I could not have been happier with.
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Excellent book! The characters were unique and believable. The plot had several surprising twists. And despite the serious nature of most situations in the book, it was really funny.

The only negative is that there was a lot of military abbreviations, which you had to get used to.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a below average soap opera. The author has written oodles of books in at least two series, and they have high ratings so i thought I would try it. Felt strung along because the book ends as a chapter would, not a novel. Equivalent to an average romance novel, but for boys.
Matt Floyd
Jun 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very boring book. I thought I'd be reading a historical fiction book about a company of men and their experience of war and conflict.

What I found was a boring book about guys hanging out once the war was pretty much over. I didn't finish the book because I was so bored.
Brad T.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, 2016
Love this series. I re-read this series about every 5 years.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book I have read in ages. I had forgotten what a brilliant writer W.E.B. Griffin is.
Could not put it down, and now, I see I have six more I need to buy to continue the series. However, you can read this book, and not be upset at the end, as you can live with it, it does not leave you hanging, but joy oh joy, when you find you can continue reading about the families.
Story, the military as it use to be. These days are gone. WWII until the finish, story involves several families as they progre
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
I enjoy reading stories about wars whether fiction or non fiction. The World Wars, Civil War, Revolution, Vietnam; I find them all interesting. Needless to say The Lieutenants by W E B Griffin, the first book in his “Brotherhood of War” series caught my eye right away. From the description I read it sounded something like the HBO docu-drama Brothers in Arms by Spielberg and Hanks, which I enjoyed tremendously.

The audiobook was definitely not what I expected, however. Rather than an intense sto
This is the first installment of Griffin's "Brotherhood of War" series about Army officers from the end of World War II until the 1980s. In "The Lieutenants", the Brotherhood accept commissions in the US Army and serve in the post-WW II army from 1945 until 1950. One of the brothers is a rick young man who was drafted into the Army in the waning days of WWII and is commissioned as a Lieutenant because he is an expert polo player and needs to be an officer to play on the General's polo team. Anot ...more
I oscillated between not wanting to put this book down and wanting to throw it against the wall.

First, the good news. Historical fiction, done well, leaves the reader wanting to learn more about the time and events. Rather than focusing on World War II, Griffin uses the war only to set the stage. The bulk of the book takes place in the years immediately following the war. The action is set in Greece, Germany, and the US. Thus the reader is taken through the Greek Civil War, the division of Berl
Brent Ecenbarger
I read this book based on a recommendation from a neighbor, somebody I am certain is more the target audience than myself. Although I've never read much of this genre before, it certainly is for the most part accessible, and it amazed me how little action is actually involved in the book. Instead, the author basically tells the story of three soldiers (Belmon, Lowell, and Felter), their wives, and a few supporting characters. The inside cover mentions MacMillian, Ilse, and Barbara as being major ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Lieutenants” by WEB Griffin is a book that looks at the US military organization at the end of The II World War and the immediate years after. This is a really cool book. I read a lot of history books and I have to say it is one of favorites. Griffin creates some really interesting characters and he presents them from both angles, he shows theirs strong points but at the some exposes their shortcomings. It also touches on some very interesting historical facts, for example the not well know ...more
Al Datum
Think of this book as a soap opera for military fiction fans. There isn't all that much combat, and even when there is it's usually over fairly quickly. Instead, the focus of these novels is on the characters who go off to war, emphasizing their intellectual and emotional struggles, their relationships, their careers and their aspirations. Told generationally, this book starts in WW2 and ends up with its focus on a communist incursion into Greece. There are many characters, and future volumes pr ...more
Angus Whittaker
I was surprised, reading this novel, that it was not about World War II. I am currently on book IV of the Brotherhood of War Series, and there have still been maybe one or two battle scenes between these four books. This is not a criticism, merely an observation of an interesting take on a military thriller. The Brotherhood of War series is irrefutably a character-driven series, and all good writers know that a character-driven book with poor characters will collapse. And, while there are some f ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Post-WWII Europe and the Greek Campaign-Birth of the Green Berets. LTC Bob Bellmon is captured by the Germans in Tunisia and sent to Stalag 17-B in western Poland, only to find Peter von Grieffenberg as his camp commandant and mentor. After capture by the Russians, 2Lt Sandy Felter encourages COL Phil Parker to launch into Russian zone and free the Americans, with Grieffenberg taken by the Russsians to Siberia. MGEN Porky Waterford finds Private Craig Lowell as his polo pal and direct commission ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Griffin & the American Epic (Audiobook)
The Brotherhood of War series superbly captures the times, people, and military of from the tail end of WWII through the Vietnam War.

It follows several characters throughout the series (per Wikipedia) which make me very happy as I am rather fond of a few of them at the end of this first book. I enjoy a series where you have a chance to get to know the characters more than most single books can portray by taking them through several years of their lives.
Andrew Herbert
Well-written (that is, grammatically correct), but the characters are one-dimensional, there's no plot discernible in the first 300 pages, and most of it seems to be centered around ridiculous ideas and ideals. I guess I just don't get it. How is this rated so highly?

The book is oddly compelling. I read big chunks of it over a few nights. I got about half way, and then just wondered why I'd wasted my time. The middle of the book centers around a polo match?! It goes on for a long time, with no
Apr 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot going on in this book with story lines that intersect one another. I am probably be unfair to this book but after reading Band of Brothers, this book seems slow and at times pointless. While true this book does offer another take on the whole war story as we know it, it feels like it was aiming to tell too much. Only until I got half way through the book did it really consistently perk my interest.

So if you read this book, be prepared for drama halfway through the book and more exc
Sarah Carter
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I was on a rollercoaster with not just this series, but all of WEB Griffin's because yes, I've read them all. Cover to cover. Formulaic and predictable, but un-put-down able.

He manages to create likeable, if semi-unrealistic characters, that had me desparate for the next in the series, until the last in each series, which had me slowing down as I didn't want it to end.

Did I enjoy them? Absolutely! I'd read them again too! But I felt a little grubby after reading them, as if Id been c
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W.E.B. Griffin is one of several pseudonyms for William E. Butterworth III.

From the Authors Website:

W.E.B. Griffin is the #1 best-selling author of more than fifty epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other best-seller lists. More than fifty million of the books are in print in more than ten languages, including Heb
More about W.E.B. Griffin...

Other Books in the Series

Brotherhood of War (9 books)
  • The Captains (Brotherhood of War, #2)
  • The Majors (Brotherhood of War, #3)
  • The Colonels (Brotherhood of War, #4)
  • The Berets (Brotherhood of War, #5)
  • The Generals (Brotherhood of War, #6)
  • The New Breed (Brotherhood of War, #7)
  • The Aviators (Brotherhood of War, #8)
  • Special Ops (Brotherhood of War, #9)

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