Band of Brothers: Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne was one of many cohesive units which served with distinction during World War II.
First brought to the public eye in 1992 by historian Stephen Ambrose’s book, “Band of Brothers,” these soldiers, then in their 70s, became internationally famous by the HBO miniseries under the same name produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
While many of us have watched the miniseries multiple times and still watch it when it comes on television during the patriotic holidays, there are many who have not seen the miniseries or read the book. Difficult for us die-hard fans to fathom!
If you haven’t watched the miniseries, you’re truly missing out on one of the most critically acclaimed and most beloved pieces of television in recent memory.
But there’s upcoming generations who are not getting exposed to the stories of WWII in schools like in decades past.
Sometimes, WWII is condensed into just two days of instruction. A frightening simplification of the complexities of WWII when it has been proven time and time again, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”
This adage is showing signs of life when it comes to a recent study featured on CBS News in April, 2018: More than one-fifth of Millennial’s in the U.S. — 22 percent — haven’t heard of, or aren’t sure if they’ve heard of, the Holocaust. We are too quickly forgetting our history.
The sad reality of losing these humble men of Easy Company hit Chris around 2017 when we had lost Dick Winters, Buck Compton, Bill Guarnere, Babe Heffron and Don Malarkey.
These men had become famous. They had, to a large degree, become the face of Easy Company; ambassadors of the entire Greatest Generation.
They were active at events around the world. But they also shared another characteristic, the desire to share their stories with students.
It was a passion they all believed in; and they walked the walk Fame never precluded them from bending down to hug a child, or to speak in a classroom or even a full school auditorium.
In an effort to reach middle/high school students about our WWII heroes, Chris Langlois, a grandson of medic Eugene Roe, who served in Easy Company, collaborated with artist Anneke Helleman from The Netherlands to create a new book that retells the story of the men of Easy Company.
Anneke already had a passion for the men who liberated her country and she shares that passion by painting on leather jackets.
Her wonderfully received, colorful artwork supplements Chris’ text with the goal of beginning a journey for the young reader to learn more about these heroes.
However, the book is not just for students. The reviews have been 5-stars, from ages 8 to 80. It will immerse adults alike (even those who are already fans) in the stories of men who volunteered to join the Army, and then each one had to again volunteer to be a paratrooper.
They agreed to endure the toughest training the Army could offer and then agreed to be dropped into combat, with a guarantee to be surrounded by the enemy. They were a special and proud breed of soldier.
Chris secured the endorsement of several men who know a bit about Easy Company and WWII: Marcus Brotherton, a New York Times bestselling author; Tim Gray, founder of the WWII Foundation; Terry Poyser, author of the story of F Company/506th; Reg Jans, historian and battlefield guide in Bastogne and Shane Taylor, who portrayed “Doc Roe” in the Band of Brothers miniseries.
Chris will tell you, he didn’t have a single book about WWII until the miniseries aired; now, he easily has over 100 books. Maybe this book is the beginning for someone to start or expand their library on the heroics and sacrifices of our WWII veterans.
Maybe this will be a simple, easy-to-read reminder of what heroes look like. Maybe it’s the signed copy you hand down to your children or grandchildren so they too, learn about a “Company of Heroes.”
No matter the case, you’ll want this book in your collection. And then you’ll want to share with someone who isn’t a fan, yet!
The book can be found on Amazon.com and 70 other online book selling websites around the world. It has been delivered to over 20 countries outside the U.S. and has been translated into French and Dutch, with the German translation coming soon in 2020.